Ever feel like you're doomed to a life of taking the equivalent of your bodyweight in supplements everyday? Ever wish there was one supplement you could take that could do everything you want a supplement to do just so you didn't have to spend five minutes everyday downing capsules and measuring teaspoons and leveling powders? Well, there's not.
But there is one supplement that comes close. How close?
Close enough for us to write this passionate but not prejudice article on its benefits. We're talking about NAC, folks: a seldom praised, but always amazing supplement that can help improve mental and physical health in a myriad of astonishing ways. And we're not just saying this either: NAC is a supplement that has been well-researched, and the perks are proven.
Let's talk more about those perks. But first, let's get a better feel of what NAC is, exactly.
NAC stands for N-Acetyl-Cysteine and is a form of the essential amino acid cysteine. Your body uses cysteine to produce an insanely important antioxidant called glutathione -- also known as GSH. It's NAC's ability to bolster your body's production of GSH that's the source of this supplement's real superpowers. NAC has been shown to increase blood levels of GSH, and therefore, bolsters all the benefits that come with its antioxidant prowess.
Inflammation, friends. Inflammation. NAC regulates gene expression that affects the process of inflammation. Specifically, it stops the expression of cytokines, which cause inflammation, while also hindering NF-kappa B, and controls COX-2 -- another pro-inflammation chemical. By regulating and even suppressing inflammation in your body, NAC can help assuage many diseases and conditions that have inflammation at their root. And that's a lot. Like, hundreds. But we'll stick to discussing the big ones.
NAC Helps Detoxification
NAC can protect your body from toxins. It has a favorable content of sulfhydryl groups, which bind to toxins like mercury, lead, cadmium, herbicides, environmental pollutants, as well as microbes such as carbon tetrachloride, aflatoxin and E.coli. What's more, it can even bind to acetaminophen to aid in preventing liver damage due to acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose or poisoning. In fact, in general it's been shown to be a major boon to liver health, not only protecting liver cells, but healing damaged cells.
Want other quick and easy detox ideas? Check out our nutrition guides for recipes with oodles of clean eating, body beautifying ideas.
NAC Supports Weight Loss
By improving insulin resistance, NAC supports metabolic health, which can result in weight loss, while also improving conditions like hypoglycemia and diabetes.
NAC Increases Athletic Performance
Through reducing inflammation caused by training, studies have shown that NAC can help people bounce back faster after workouts, and perform better during their workouts.
NAC Supports Heart Health
NAC can stop bad cholesterol (i.e. LDL-cholesterol) from oxidizing and causing inflamed blood vessels. It's also been shown to lower homocysteine levels, which ultimately prevents plaque build-up in arteries.
NAC Helps Mental Health
GSH has been shown to help treat various psychological and mental conditions, including autism and Alzheimer's disease, as well as anxiety disorders like obsessive compulsive disorder. Supplementing can be used as an effective strategy to help people with these conditions better cope.
Studies also suggest that NAC can be particularly effective when it comes to treating addiction to drugs including cocaine, nicotine and alcohol, and could be successfully used in addition to a detox program.
NAC Supports Gut Health
Because NAC has been shown to be able to deactivating H.Pylori -- a bacteria that can cause ulcers, reflux disorders, gastritis and even some types of gastrointestinal cancers, many healthcare professionals have recommended adding NAC to treating H.Pylori infections that are resistant to antibiotics.
What's more, NAC can help reduce inflammation in the kidney due to kidney disease, and therefore help alleviate conditions.
NAC definitely pulls its weight in the world of supplements and ranks as one of our top must-haves. Just be warned: don’t swap GSH for NAC. Using a GSH supplement won’t give you the same positive effects, since oral GSH is rendered useless thanks to stomach acid, whereas, NAC, on the other hand, is not.
How much NAC should you take?
NAC has an incredibly safe track-record, but before you start taking any supplement, first talk to your health care professional. If you’re given the green light and are not given an exact dosage by your doctor or other professional, it’s good to start at 600 mg, and work your up to as much as 3000 mg daily. Take with vitamin C for optimal absorption.
Do you use NAC? Let us know in the comments.