N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) is derived from an amino acid, cysteine. The body absorbs NAC from the digestive tract and sends it to the liver, where it gets converted into cysteine. The liver uses cysteine to make glutathione, later transported to the bloodstream.
NAC is beneficial for the human body for various reasons. If you want to know when to take NAC supplements and their benefits, here is the information.
What are the health benefits of NAC supplements?
1. Detoxification of the liver and kidneys
NAC plays an essential role in liver and kidney detoxification. In addition to preventing side effects from drugs that can affect these organs, it can also protect them from environmental factors, such as exposure to heavy metals. For instance, doctors often inject NAC intravenously to patients with acetaminophen overdose to reduce their kidneys and liver damage.
2. Produces antioxidants
Antioxidants are crucial for maintaining immune health and preventing cellular damage. Antioxidants have a beneficial effect on many other illnesses caused by oxidative stress, such as infertility, heart disease, and some mental illnesses. Being a powerful antioxidant, NAC promotes its production as well. It helps replenish glutathione, which neutralises free radicals in your body that can damage the cells and tissues.
3. Improves respiratory health
NAC supplements can improve symptoms and manage lung deterioration in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Furthermore, the supplement can reduce bronchitis symptoms, such as wheezing and coughing.
4. Improves brain health
The body’s glutathione levels can be replenished with NAC. It also helps regulate glutamate levels. People with conditions like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s may benefit from this supplement to improve their brain health.
The NAC may be helpful for psychiatric disorders. Research indicates that it can help patients with bipolar disorder and depression. It can also reduce withdrawal and relapse symptoms in people recovering from substance addictions.
What is the dosage of NAC?
Over-the-counter (OTC) supplements of NAC are available in several formulations, such as capsules, tablets, and powders. Most are sold in dosages of 600 milligrams (mg), but some are as high as 1,200 mg. To achieve a total daily dose between 500 mg and 3,000 mg, 1 to 4 doses per day are suggested.
If you wonder when to take NAC supplements, it is best to consume them in the morning on an empty stomach, at least half an hour before breakfast, for better absorption. However, before taking any supplement, talk to your healthcare provider to ensure that the dosage and supplement are appropriate for your needs.
While there are no reports of toxicity caused by an overdose of oral NAC supplements, you should consume them according to the recommended dosage.
Immune health remains at the forefront of everyone’s mind, and supplementing your diet with NAC can increase your overall health and boost your immune system. It is imperative to prioritise food as a source of nutrients for healthy living. Cysteine levels are elevated by eating high protein foods, such as turkey, yogurt, cheese, chicken, and eggs. However, sometimes supplements are necessary because not all people can consume these foods due to dietary restrictions or food preferences. You need to ensure that the NAC supplements are from a trusted and reliable source to avoid any complications in the future.