What is NAC and What’s the Hype About?

Dr. Tanya Hudson
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NAC (N-acetylcysteine) is a derivative of the amino acid cysteine, which are the building blocks of proteins. When proteins are broken down, amino acids are left.

NAC is known for its ability to support the health of the liver, lungs, circulation, immune system, and more. It acts as an antioxidant by providing cysteine for glutathione synthesis. Glutathione is often referred to as the “master antioxidant” as it helps prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals or waste substances. These waste substances are produced by cells during food processing and environmental reactions.

So, why is NAC crucial for optimizing cellular function and overall health?

Oral NAC gets broken down in the liver and kidneys, freeing up cysteine for the production of glutathione. This process is essential because low glutathione levels or glutathione deficiency are associated with various conditions, including smoking, alcoholism, asthma, cognitive-behavioral problems, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and neurodegenerative disorders.

NAC appears to support the synthesis of glutathione, especially under stressful conditions when glutathione is needed the most.

When to Consider NAC?

  1. Liver Health: NAC can be used to support everyday detoxification pathways and assist with toxic exposures, such as those from wildfire smoke.
  2. Immune Health: Studies have shown that NAC supports the production of natural killer cells, which play a significant role in our immune response. It has also been found to promote a healthy inflammatory response to seasonally acquired health issues.
  3. Respiratory Health: NAC can help thin mucus in the nose, throat, sinuses, and lungs.
  4. Circulatory Health: NAC has been shown to support healthy blood circulation.
  5. Neurological and Mental Health: Early studies suggest that NAC may contribute to healthy behavior and mood, likely due to reduced inflammation and its regulation of dopamine and glutamate production. These neurotransmitters play a key role in excitatory brain signaling.

In conclusion, NAC, or N-acetylcysteine, derived from the amino acid cysteine, offers numerous health benefits. Its ability to support the liver, lungs, circulation, immune system, and more make it a valuable compound for overall health optimization. Whether you’re seeking liver support, immune system enhancement, respiratory aid, improved circulation, or neurological and mental health benefits, NAC might be worth considering.

Interested in trying NAC?  If you are a current patient, please email me through the Charm portal or call my clinic at 503.547.7657 and I am happy to add NAC to your Fullscript account.  **If you are new to my clinic, I advise you to first set up an appointment so we can decide if NAC is right for you.