NAC is one of the less well-known supplements, but it has a variety of benefits, from improving immune function and brain health to lowering your heart attack risk…
Many of us take supplements to help give us all the vitamins and minerals we need to lead healthy, active lives and as part of the best pre-workouts. The likes of magnesium, zinc and iron, as well as vitamin D and vitamin B12, are all popular supplements and have a variety of benefits.
NAC, however, is not so well known. Yet it can guard against chronic respiratory conditions and promote fertility, immune function and brain health.
So, should you be taking NAC supplements?
Here’s the science… N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is the supplement form of cysteine, which is a conditional or semi-essential amino acid.
It bonds with glutamine and glycine to form the body’s most powerful antioxidant, glutathione. This antioxidant helps support antioxidant and anti-inflammatory pathways, so is crucial for overall health and wellbeing.
NAC reduces oxidative stress, thereby helping to lower your risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and infertility.
It also helps to boost the production of nitric oxide, a chemical compound that improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure – therefore reducing your risk of suffering a heart attack.
There’s even evidence to suggest that NAC may help to improve fertility in men. A study in The Journal Of Urology found that men supplementing with NAC experienced an increase in sperm quality.
How much NAC do you need?
Cysteine is considered semi-essential, because your body can produce it from the amino acids methionine and serine. It becomes essential only when dietary intake of these amino acids is low.
The advised dosage for me is around 1.4-1.8g per day, split into two or three servings across the day.
Cysteine is found in most high protein foods. These include lean meats such as chicken and turkey, dairy products, sunflower seeds and legumes. Taking NAC supplements will ensure you are getting enough cysteine to enjoy the health benefits of this important amino acid.