What is N Acetyl L Cysteine Powder?
N Acetyl L Cysteine, also known as N Acetyl Cysteine or NAC, is an acetylated form of L Cysteine. NAC is one of few natural mucolytic agents. Mucolytic agents help thin out mucus which makes it easier to cough up mucus. NAC is also used to enhance the production of glutathione when it is normally depleted. Glutathione benefits are plentiful and thus, supplementing with NAC can provide many of the glutathione benefits we would see with glutathione supplementation.
N Acetyl Cysteine Benefits and Uses
- May help support respiratory health
- May help promote skin health
- May help support organ health
- May help promote vitality
What is N Acetyl L Cysteine Good For?
Studies observing glutathione levels after taking a NAC supplement found that NAC elevated glutathione levels. This is significant because the supplementation of glutathione on its own did not significantly increase glutathione levels. Since NAC is able to increase glutathione, NAC benefits have been linked to skin health, organ health, and promoting vitality. Additionally, taking a NAC supplement is believed to have some detoxification effects since it allows more glutathione to be produced.
In addition, NAC benefits include organ protective properties when exposed to alcohol. A study on rats found that a NAC supplement taken 30 min before alcohol exposure seemed to produce a protective effect while administration 4 hrs after alcohol exposure elevated organ tissue damage. Additionally, these protective behaviors increased when alcohol consumption was stopped. Additional trials confirmed that the protective properties NAC has against alcohol only work when taken prior to alcohol consumption. Again, it is important to note that NAC should only be taken prior to consumption of moderate quantities of alcoholic drinks. NAC should never be taken after the consumption of alcoholic drinks as it may have an opposite and detrimental effect on the liver. This is important to note as many hangover supplements, intended to be taken after the consumption of alcoholic drinks, contain N Acetyl L Cysteine.
The cystine-glutamate antiporter on astrocytes is known to regulate synaptic levels of glutamate by taking up cystine, the oxidized dimer form of Cysteine, in exchange for glutamate release. It is believed that additional Cysteine through N Acetyl L Cysteine supplementation may provide more substrate to further reduce glutaminergic stimulation. This is important, as glutamate can over-excite neurons, which can cause neuronal damage. This is part of the reason why some people avoid the consumption of monosodium glutamate, which is more commonly known as MSG. It is falsely believed that the consumption of MSG will result in too much glutamate in the brain, which could then cause neurotoxic effects. The claims that MSG has negative effects in the brain have long been disproven, however, glutamate levels may increase independently from MSG consumption. It is believed that higher Cysteine levels in the brain may lower glutaminergic transmission by lowering the amount of glutamate release. It has been found that glutamate levels can be reduced within 1 hour of orally administering a NAC supplement, making NAC a great neuroprotective agent.
Other N Acetyl L Cysteine uses were studied after the relationship between glutathione and NAC supplementation were established. Researchers were interested in NAC for its vitality enhancing effects. Studies on sprint performance found vitality enhancing effect when subjects used a NAC supplement but only a slight increase in vitality from baseline was achieved with a large dose.
N Acetyl Cysteine Food Sources
The body converts N Acetyl L Cysteine which converts into Cysteine which is then converted to glutathione. Cysteine is an amino acid produced by the body but it requires methionine to do so. Cysteine is primarily found in animal proteins such as chicken, pork, sausage, turkey, fish and duck. Dairy sources of cysteine include yogurt, ricotta cheese, eggs, and cottage cheese. Cysteine is also found in some plant sources for vegetarians and vegans. Foods such as broccoli, red pepper, onion, granola and oat flakes are all good sources of Cysteine. Other sources include garlic, bananas, linseed, soy beans, and wheat germ. Low levels of Cysteine can delay growth in children and lower immunity. Weakness and muscle loss may also occur as a result of a low Cysteine diet.
N-Acetyl L-Cysteine Dosage
As a dietary supplement, take one 500mg of N-Acetyl L-Cysteine once daily.