N-acetylcysteine and Glutathione Benefits

N-acetylcysteine or NAC is a precursor of the amino acid L-cysteine used by our body to make glutathione. Glutathione or GSH, is the most powerful antioxidant in the body to fight free radical damage, the cause of oxidative stress and so of inflammation, diseases, and aging.

Our body’s ability to produce glutathione declines with age and this is why it is more important to supply either with NAC than with GSH as we get older, or with foods containing sulfuric compounds as cruciferous vegetables like: broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, garlic, onions and so on.

The most important thing they both do is to detoxify the liver which is
one of the primary organs implied with the detoxification pathway and of vital importance for removing environmental toxins.

We are exposed to low levels of toxins every day through the air we breathe the water we drink, the food contaminated, the chemical in the variety of products we use, and to all the other compounds we come in contact during the day.

Also well know now is the fact that NAC is administered intravenously to treat acetaminophen overdose and to protect liver from toxins.

Other significant role of glutathione and so of N-acetylcysteine is to support the immune system function through the detoxification process.

Variety of studies demonstrate that reduced GSH levels are linked to immune system disorders.

Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant produced in the cells of the body; it is the most abundant antioxidant in the body and is composed primarily of glutamine, glycine, and cysteine. It is essential for optimal cellular function and protects the cells from oxidative damage, helping to slow down the aging process and monitoring diseases. It is fundamental for many aspects of health like cardiovascular, immune, brain, skin, eyes, detoxification and liver health and energy production.

Glutathione exists in two different forms, reduced, and oxidized. The reduced is the active form that provides the antioxidant benefits, the oxidized is inactive and needs to be converted into the reduced.

Both, NAC AND GSH, play different important roles in human health, and both seem to be of an indispensable support for the flu or influenza and COVID-19 infection so as for  other diseases, lessening the severity of the attacks and the duration.

NAC supports the health of the lungs and is normally present in high amounts in lung tissues, it has been used in patients to maintain healthy lung function and as mucolytic to thin and reduce the amount of mucus produced during inflammatory respiratory episodes as with COVID-19 where they both, NAC and GSH are needed for immune and lung support, and for decrease the inflammation in general thanks to the antioxidant properties to reduce the damage caused from the free radicals produced by the viral infection.

NAC so as GSH support eye function thanks to the antioxidant properties, especially in regard of cataract and macular degeneration which are both linked to oxidative damage, same as for cancer, they both protect from oxidative damage and so from cancer development and from all neurodegenerative diseases due to oxidative damage as Alzheimer, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson, and others.

NAC has also the ability to support heart health through the body’s response to oxidative stress and the production of nitric oxide, essential for a healthy blood flow, and by reducing the levels of homocysteine (HCY), dangerous metabolite and cardiovascular marker, and by preventing oxidation and building up of LDL cholesterol.

One more important function of NAC is with mental health in helping to regulate glutamate levels in the brain; glutamate is the most important neurotransmitter in brain, its levels are important to support a positive mood and healthy mental state; in addition, glutamate engages in learning, behavior, and memory function.

Excess of glutamate and depletion of glutathione can cause brain damage contributing to mental health conditions as bipolar disorders, schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorders or OCD.

NAC may help decrease symptoms of bipolar disorder and depression, minimizing the effects of social withdraw, apathy and reduced attention span; it can also help decreasing withdrawn symptoms and preventing relapses in people with drugs additions, nicotine addiction and cravings.

Thanks For Reading

Mariarosaria M.


Seeking Health.com


Picture by Science ABC

If you would like to become a Functional Medicine Coach these are the links that will lead you to the Institute of Functional Medicine



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