N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) might be the super power that you need in your life. It is a semi-essential amino acid that plays a role in many of your important bodily functions. But if it’s only semi-essential - why take it?
Don't be fooled - your body definitely needs N-Acetyl Cysteine! It is responsible for many vital functions, most of all a healthy immune system. The term semi-essential just means that your body doesn’t make it itself - it doesn’t mean that you don’t need it! Your body can however make N-Acetyl Cysteine out of other amino acids. Our bodies are pretty amazing! Now, we have cleared that up get ready to learn all about NAC.
What is NAC?
As we said before, N-Acetyl Cysteine is a semi-essential amino acid, meaning that your body can’t produce it by itself. Its natural form Cysteine can be found in dietary sources such as meat, fish and eggs. N-Acetyl Cysteine is just the supplement form. NAC bonds with glutamine and in your body to form a powerful antioxidant- glutathione. Glutathione is responsible for helping maintain your immune system. That’s why we are so excited by NAC as a supplement - its immune boosting properties.
What does NAC do for the body?
So now we know the sciencey stuff about NAC, let’s talk about what it does for your body. One of its most important jobs is to replenish your glutathione stores and help your immune system function - but that’s not all. Below are just some of the beneficial effects of NAC:
NAC plays a crucial role in detoxifying your liver. In this way it can help prevent side effects of certain drugs, such as incidences of paracetamol poisoning.
NAC can relieve symptoms of respiratory conditions by acting as an antioxidant and loosening mucus in your air passageways.People with chronic lung conditions often experience an improvement in their symptoms when taking NAC
NAC has a unique role in the brain by boosting glutamate levels. Glutamate is involved in a broad range of learning, memory and behaviour actions. Research has also indicated that NAC can slow the loss of cognitive function in people with Alzheimer’s.
May improve fertility
NAC has been shown to improve fertility in both men and women by reducing oxidative stress that damages or kills reproductive cells. Improved liver function can be also beneficial for your fertility, as your liver helps with hormone regulation.
The glutathione that NAC provides your body with provides powerful protection for your cells and amongst other things can provide protection against the signs of premature aging. Why not just take Glutathione though? It isn’t well absorbed by the body. So taking NAC is your best bet in getting high amounts of Glutathione in your system.
NAC can be a powerful tool in restoring hormone balance. It has been shown to lower androgen levels and regulate the menstrual cycle. It can also help alleviate symptoms of PCOS and estrogen dominance.
How to take NAC
NAC comes in a powder form that is virtually tasteless and colourless, so the best way to take it is to add it to your morning drink. It is best to take NAC in the morning on an empty stomach to maximise absorption. Some foods can interfere with the absorption of NAC, so taking it on an empty stomach is the best way to get the most out of your supplement.
What is NAC made from?
NAC is found in many food sources, from chicken and fish to broccoli, however the form that you are most likely to encounter at your local supplement store is synthesised in a lab. It can also be found in poultry feathers and human hair! Although we don’t suggest eating your featherdown doona just yet - NAC powder is much more convenient!
What is NAC used for?
NAC has many applications from improving immunity and chronic lung conditions to aiding fertility. Its most common use in medicine is as an antidote to paracetamol poisoning. It works by increasing the body's levels of Glutathione. This works to remove the excess paracetamol from the body safely.
How does NAC work?
NAC works in by binding with other molecules to form glutamate and glutathione. These antioxidants work to strengthen your immune system and fighting free radicals. Free radicals are one of the major causes of illness and ageing. Fighting these free radicals is what gives NAC it’s antiaging and immune boosting power.
Dietary sources of NAC
As NAC is not made in the body it is important to get adequate amounts via your diet or through supplementation. The best dietary sources of NAC are
- Lean pork chops
- Skirt steak beef
- Lean chicken breast
- Sunflower seeds
- Swiss cheese
These foods contain the raw form of N-Acetyl Cysteine, which is simply called Cysteine. Most meats and animal products have a good hit of cysteine, but you can also find it in plant sources like garlic, lentils beans and pulses and cereals.
Is NAC an amino acid?
Yes, N-Acetyl Cysteine is an amino acid that plays a crucial role in many bodily functions, including the formation of Glutamate and Gluthatione. NAC is used in the body to make antioxidants, so you may be wondering- is NAC is an antioxidant? Not as such. It may help to form powerful antioxidants, but NAC itself is an amino acid, not an antioxidant.
Is NAC safe?
Yes, NAC is completely safe to take as a supplement. Unlike vitamins, there is no daily recommended allowance. Dosages of up to 1200mg per day have been used safely in adults, although we recommend sticking to the recommended dosage listed on the product label.
Is NAC good for you?
NAC is one of the most powerful natural supplements on the market. Its ability to boost the immune system and assist in detoxification is medically proven. In fact, it is one of the few supplements that is approved and recommended in medicinal applications.
When to take NAC
The best time to take NAC is in the morning on an empty stomach. This is because amino acids are more readily absorbed when there is nothing else in your stomach. Particular foods can actually interfere with the uptake of NAC, so the best bet is to add it to your morning juice or smoothie.
NAC and paracetamol overdose
Few supplements are so powerful that they are used in medicinal applications. But due to its ability to boost the body’s levels of antioxidants and bind to harmful toxins, N-Acteyl Cysteine is the recommended treatment for paracetamol (panadol) overdose. It allows the body to excrete excess paracetamol safely and therefore avoid liver damage.
Does NAC have any side effects?
If taken at the recommended dosage, NAC is very safe and is not associated with any negative side effects. However at high does NAC has been reported to cause the following symptoms in some people:
- Abdominal discomfort
Luckily though these symptoms only appear when NAC is taken in high doses and are generally mild. If you stick to the recommended dose you won’t need to worry!
Where to buy NAC
Elite Supplements stock NAC in both powder and capsule form. Powder is perfect for those who don’t like to swallow capsules or tablets and can easily be mixed into your morning drink. Try Emrald Labs NAC. It can also be combined with NMD to maximise its anti aging effects. If you prefer the convenience of a capsule form - give NAC+ by Transcend Supplements a go.