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What is NAC

N-Acetyl-l-cysteine or NAC as it is more commonly referred to has received an overwhelming amount of attention since it was proposed to be a viable therapeutic option for the easing of the experienced symptoms of COVID-19. The claims also sit on a solid foundation of a decade of prior research which looked to utilize NAC in the treatment of other respiratory illnesses most noticeably COPD. 

mind map showing the benefits of taking NAC
benefits of taking NAC

NAC in its most basic form is an Amino Acid that has the capability to also act as a very powerful antioxidant as well as an expectorant which research has shown to loosen mucus within the respiratory tract. Most of NAC’s benefits are due to the body’s ability to upregulate NAC and convert it into glutathione which is one of the most powerful antioxidants the body has at its disposal to fight against free radicals and any oxidative stress.

This is where people often jump to the question, well why not just take glutathione? and on the surface, it’s a plausible line of questioning but dig a little deeper into the research and you will find several benefits over NAC supplementation. Firstly, this is due to the standard glutathione supplementation doesn’t result much absorption as a large percentage of the antioxidant is lost within the stomach due to the acidity and therefore never making it into the small intestines to be absorbed and utilized. This problem however is the case for many supplements we take and is what led to the scientific breakthrough of the Liposomal version of supplements which takes molecules like glutathione, Vitamin, C, etc and wraps them into a fatty acid (liposomal) which act as a protective mechanism when ingested and preserves much of the essential supplement so that a much higher percentage is absorbed and utilized by the body. However, as with all great breakthroughs they do come at a considerable cost compared to the standard versions of supplements hence our first reason and benefitting with NAC instead of simply choosing to make glutathione. Another considerable benefit however is NAC itself has a host of positive pathways it can trigger and provide benefit to health, and your body also then has to option to upregulate and convert NAC into glutathione whenever it feels necessary to replenish the levels of glutathione.

NAC is commonly used by doctors to treat patients who have attempted to take an overdose due to its powerful detoxification potential and thus has also been shown effective in many treatments which aim to prevent reducing liver and kidney damage.

In Summary

Nac is a very powerful amino acid that has the ability to trigger several advantageous pathways within the body all of which research has shown to have a significant amount of benefit to a person’s health. With a higher uptake in absorption than glutathione and having the ability to be converted by the body into an extremely potent antioxidant, it is also one the best ways to ensure your body levels of glutathione are constantly replenished so that it is able to protect against oxidative stress within the body. Despite being categorized as a “medicine” and often prescribed or administered by doctors for a host of different conditions in the UK it is also classed as a supplement and is available to purchase from most local health stores!

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