What is NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine)
NAC is a natural antioxidant produced by the body. It is used to synthesize Glutathione (the most potent antioxidant in the body) within the blood. NAC is the precursor for Glutathione. This means that NAC can convert to Glutathione easily and quickly when needed. Residing in the liver.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684116/ NAC is so powerful, it is used in the ER for those suffering from an Acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose. And, in recent years, NAC has been studied for its vital role in lung health. This stems from a mucous and inflammation-reducing effect.
In other words, NAC seems to be effective in reducing the collection of mucus in the lungs. Recent animal studies suggest that NAC may play an important role in protecting the lungs from damaging viral loads. The viral loads related to inflammation that are so common with these sorts of infections.
Some of these best-known effects of NAC may serve to help in this seasonal time of need. We tend to think of antioxidants as immune system superchargers. But, they can oftentimes be potent anti-inflammatories. Such is the case with NAC.
What’s the Cause of Lung Inflammation?
Histamine or inflammatory responses are triggered when something attacks our systems. In my case, it’s pollen causing an allergic reaction, histamine response and inflammation. In other cases, it is a virus or bacteria causing an inflammation-inducing immune response. The inflammation is our bodies going to work against invaders.
Our “little protectors” called white blood cells are our first line of defense. They cause the swelling, the coughing, the sneezing, the itching, etc. When it comes to the lungs, the main drivers are cytokines. They can be activated by our white blood cells.
Cytokines have been in recent news related to worsening symptoms in COVID-19. Scientists think our immune system goes into overdrive causing a cytokine storm. That means our bodies start attacking both healthy and unhealthy cells. But, most of the time, cytokines attack only unhealthy cells. NAC may determine whether they fight for us or against us.
How NAC Can Help
So, what happens if our body needs a helping hand in lung health? Call for backup! Though our bodies make NAC, we often find ourselves coming up short in times of crisis. (That’s one reason we want to maintain optimal liver health.) It is in these times that we must send in reinforcements to help stop any drastic situations that may arise. In the case of lungs, we must make sure that those helpful inflammatory markers (cytokines) don’t collect too much friendly fire. And, research has shown that NAC may help do just that!
When our immune system starts to overreact, NAC supplementation may help lessen those effects without reducing the effectiveness of the immune system’s fighting capabilities.
Think of it like two armies fighting with the same color uniforms. If this happened, things might get confusing, right? Well, in times of crisis, our immune system sometimes gets set to “shoot on sight”. So, without the proper guiding hands, things can get messy. In times like these, NAC will jump into the battle as that guiding hand to allow for proper targeting. They help to gain results without going overboard.
Who Can Benefit
NAC will make a great addition to any supplement regimen. The only warning is that it is a by-product of sulfur. So, it is not the best option for those who can’t tolerate sulfur or raw cruciferous vegetables, or for those who are receiving chemotherapy.
Other benefits of NAC include:
– Improved muscle performance
– Protection against Alzheimer’s and Asthma, and lessen influenza
– Decreased symptoms of chronic bronchitis
– Reduced risk of leaky gut
– Improved fertility
– Assistance in H-pylori infection
– And, improved sleep and reduced snoring!