Supplement Sunday: NAC
This is the first week of my SUPPLEMENT SUNDAY'S and I am excited to start it off with NAC!
This powerful supplement has been used in:
blood sugar regulation
brain health and cognition
NAC stands for N-acetyl cysteine.
NAC is the precursor for our queen antioxidant: Glutathione
Why is glutathione the queen? Because our cells REQUIRE it for many of their functions.
low glutathione has been associated with cardiovascular, immune, metabolic, inflammatory and neurologic diseases as well as cancer
Many of NAC's effects are due to it's powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Let's take a closer look:
when our body is put under stress we produce things called free radicals. These free radicals produce OXIDATION. Which is where the term anti-OXIDANT comes from… finally make sense? These free radicals need to be dealt with or “neutralized” in order to protect our body. NAC is able to do so both directly, and indirectly by increasing glutathione levels
the liver is one of our main detoxifying organs. It constantly gets damaged by things such as: alcohol, pesticides, drugs including Tylenol, infections, and much more. NAC has been shown to increase liver detox and protect it from such damage
remember the Dirty Dozen? Well studies have looked at NAC's ability to protect us from the damage these pesticides cause in our body and specifically our liver
NAC and glutathione are crucial in our body’s defence mechanism
NAC can be considered an "immunomodulator" for it's ability to modulate our immune system. It has the ability to balance our immune cell response: including stimulating certain immune cells when needed
it is also anti-viral: it inhibits the replication of various viruses in our body
Supplemental NAC reduced the frequently of influenza like episodes in multiple studies
Blood Sugar Regulation:
insulin sensitivity is a term we talk about often. It describes our body’s ability to:
eat sugar --> recognize the spike of glucose in our body --> release insulin from the pancreas --> our cells responding to insulin --> our cells taking in glucose and storing it (in our liver, muscle, fat and other areas) as a future energy source
insulin sensitivity describes how well the cells will respond to insulin and remove glucose from the blood to store for future energy use
without this insulin sensitivity, our body doesn’t take up or store insulin and instead it stays in our bloodstream = high blood sugar
NAC has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and therefore decrease blood sugar levels
there are many lung conditions that have shown benefit from the use of NAC including bronchitis, COPD and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
this is due to not only the antioxidant properties but also the mucolytic properties: it’s ability to break down mucous in the respiratory tract. Oh and remember it is also anti-viral? NAC supports our lungs in many more ways than one..
for those that don’t have lung conditions but do tend to test their lung capacity with exercise: NAC has been shown to decrease the fatigue our lungs experience during heavy exercise
fertility can be affected by many factors. One of the most common female reproductive disorders is PCOS. NAC has been shown to improve lipid profiles as well as blood sugar regulation which commonly affects women with PCOS
it can also improve ovulation rates leading to improved fertility
it has more recently been studied in conjunction with other pharmaceuticals used in fertility treatments and has shown promising effects!
Brain health and cognition
just like our liver, our brain needs protection from inflammation and free radical damage. Without it, our brain may be at risk for many neurological conditions as well as cognitive decline. NAC has been shown to decrease inflammation as well as increase glutathione levels in our brain
this is why it is being studied extensively in traumatic brain injuries (otherwise known as concussions) to reduce the effects of inflammation and oxidation on markers such as cognition: attention, recognition, understanding, perceiving, memory and more
and there you have it.. the many abilities of NAC
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