NAC, or N-Acetyl Cysteine, is a form of the amino acid l-cysteine.
However, as we have seen throughout our 3 year journey here exploring supplements, things are hardly so mundane!
I’ve included NAC in my list of The Best Liver Health Supplements.
NAC is both a potent liver support substance as well as a fantastic mood booster (researched for use against bipolar disorder). It helps your body support its own antioxidant production. This post will touch upon how it works for liver support, mood boosting and where to get it.
N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) as Liver Supporter / Hangover Prevention
One of the first things I learned about N-Acetyl Cysteine is its application in “hangover prevention drinks.” Personally, it only takes a couple drinks to feel like I drank the next morning. That is, a mild hangover.
When I began taking NAC every day, that nasty hangover feeling went away!
How effective is it? On the bottle of Jarrow Formulas NAC that I own, the label actually warns not to take it before having any liver-related tests done. Why?
Because the favorable test results from taking the supplement could hide an underlying chronic condition, which is important for your doctors to detect should you happen to have one.
This doesn’t mean that it’s bad for you, there is no indication it harms the liver! If anything, it’s great for the liver.
NAC actually originated as a medical treatment for acetaminophen (a.k.a. paracetamol in some locales, or brand name Tylenol) overdose, which can cause liver failure. 1 So from that I’d say it’s quite effective at what it does.
Now, with all the above said, NAC is not magically going to metabolize alcohol or anything else you put into your body. Don’t do anything stupid just because it’s awesome and you’re taking this supplement. It’s helpful but it will not give you Superman’s super liver.
N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) as Mood Enhancer
Interestingly enough, NAC has been researched for its application in bipolar disorder.
Based on one double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled study 2 , the results are favorable!
Mike Cernovich over at Danger and Play has written about how NAC helped him with anxiety and depression which run in his family. 3
I’m already in high spirits from being on kratom, taking fish oil and vitamin D among other supplements daily (see my last regimen log). I couldn’t honestly tell you if in my personal experience if NAC made my mood better than it already was.
The research is there though! 4 NAC is the real deal.
How N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) Works
NAC prevents glutathione depletion (you’ll see why this is important soon). It is broken down by the body into L-cysteine, which is crucial to the manufacture of glutathione. Glutathione is an antioxidant produced naturally in plants and animals and even by your own body, especially by your liver.
When your body is overloaded with oxidizing substances and anything that taxes your liver, it uses up that precious glutathione. Then your liver is on its own to fend for itself.
So in general, the more you can load up on glutathione, the better! N-Acetyl Cysteine happens to be a great way to get that glutathione. This is why it was used as a treatment for acetaminophen overdose in the first place: it can help protect the liver.
Where to get N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
So, you want to enhance your mood and protect your body from free radicals at a low price?
- Powder City sells capsules and bulk powder of N-Acetyl Cysteine at very competitive prices.
- iHerb also sells capsules. I use the Jarrow Formulas brand.
- Mike C. over at Danger & Play recommends the sustained release form.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Acetylcysteine — Wikipedia|
|2.||↑||N-acetyl cysteine for depressive symptoms in bipolar disorder–a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. — PubMed|
|3.||↑||How N-Acetylcysteine (N-A-C) Cured My Depression and Anxiety — Danger & Play|
|4.||↑||N-Acetylcysteine — Examine.com|