What are the Health Benefits of NAC?
Though research is relatively limited and from small data samples, many in the medical community believe in NAC’s positive benefits. Areas of study include:
- Improved mental health – studies have linked NAC to increased brain function. As we age, our glutathione levels tend to decline, opening the door for oxidative injury in our brains. NAC supplements help to keep our glutathione levels higher and protect against neurodegenerative problems like Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive impairment, depression, Parkinson’s disease, and schizophrenia. In addition to these benefits, NAC also supports other areas of mental health including mood disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and substance abuse issues.
- Treatment of viral infections – evidence points to NACs boosting the immune system, which reduces inflammation as well as guards against virus replication. One study showed that COVID-19 patients who received high doses of NAC incurred higher survival rates than the standard treatment by itself.
- Relief of respiratory condition symptoms – studies link NAC to effective treatment of symptoms from specific respiratory diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic bronchitis. NAC has been seen to reduce the excessive layers of mucus that create difficult breathing situations and inhibit lung function.
- Prescribed for acetaminophen poisoning – NAC has been shown to treat excessive doses of acetaminophen. By increasing glutathione levels, NAC counters the poisoning caused by acetaminophen’s toxic byproduct, N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine (NAPQI). The treatment must be prompt to be effective, generally taken within eight hours of the acetaminophen dose. However, NAC has no effect on liver damage that has already been done.
- Promote immune health – Because NAC helps to increase glutathione, as seen above, increased antioxidant properties work against oxidative decline and free radicals in the body. One small study linked NAC treatments for postmenopausal women to increased immune defense.
- Generate fertility support – research has shown that NAC has a positive effect on men’s and women’s fertility. Men who took oral NAC doses for three months showed higher sperm count and motility. Women in another study experienced lower testosterone levels as well as increased follicle-stimulating hormone levels, which indicate a stronger functioning reproductive system.
Does NAC Produce any Side Effects?
NAC is most commonly taken orally or through inhalation. Both methods are generally well tolerated and safe for most adults. However, there are occasional side effects to consider, including:
- Anaphylactic reactions (chest tightness, rash, swelling, etc.)
- Gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort (diarrhea, nausea, vomiting)
- Low blood pressure
These side effects are rare and mild. However because they can complicate other medical factors, care should be taken before initiating NAC supplements. We encourage you to seek the advice of a healthcare professional to ensure safety and proper dosing.
Is NAC the Right Supplement for Me?
With more knowledge about NAC, you may be wondering if supplements can help you. In the right circumstances, NAC may very well help you in your condition. However, we advise you to seek a professional for an in-depth analysis of your overall health to determine whether NAC is appropriate at this time.
At Bridgepoint Clinic, we have extensive experience helping patients understand the true root causes of any symptoms they may encounter. We don’t just seek to mask symptoms but to alleviate the actual cause of the symptoms. We know the best way to determine the cause is to understand your overall health. Contact us today to initiate relief by meeting with one of our trusted clinicians.
We look forward to understanding your concerns and developing a blueprint for stronger health, no matter what you are facing. From dietary concerns to physical limitations to mental health considerations, we are ready and prepared to set you on a course toward restoration and healing.
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