N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is an immediate or proximate precursor molecule to the strong antioxidant glutathione. Cysteine, glutamate and glycine likewise lead to glutathione. Glutathione helps to control oxidative stress.
NAC provides extra protection to our brains and bodies by enhancing our natural antioxidant abilities, which is why Dr. Warner included 300mg of NAC in her Well Theory Nervous System Multi!
THE BENEFITS OF NAC SUPPLEMENTATION
NAC is used in clinical settings to protect against systemic damage from harsh dyes used in imaging studies. It also protects from some chemotherapy agents. Likewise, it is an antidote for overdose from tylenol.
NAC acts to detoxify our bodies and brains. Glutathione is depleted by toxins that enter the system. NAC provides for restoration of normal levels.
NAC supports our internal systems that protect us from stress, infections, inflammatory conditions and heavy oxidative stress; it does so through the antioxidant activities and by enhancing nitric oxide function.
Supplementing with NAC is known to increase levels of glutathione; this is body’s major naturally produced antioxidant. Because of its ability to enhance antioxidant production, NAC is highly protective of our cells and cellular function.
Glutathione is composed of three amino acids. These are glutamate, glycine and cysteine. Of the three, cysteine is usually the limiting factor; it has the lowest intracellular levels. During stress stimulation (oxidative stress), limited amounts of cysteine halt production of glutathione. This results in excessive free radical formation and thus significant mitochondrial and cellular damage. NAC provides augmented levels of cysteine, helping to balance this process.
NAC AND NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES
For neurodegenerative disorders in particular, aging is thought to be the biggest risk factor. For example, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) generally affects only those over 65. The risk of AD doubles every 5 years after the age of 65.
There are difficulties with memory, problem-solving, cognition and memory.
One theory is that whatever causes aging must also cause neurodegeneration.
Thus, there is blooming work in the field of anti-aging. Much of this research is centered on how antioxidants are linked to anti-aging benefits.
Genes and interventions that have been shown to enhance longevity in one species are conserved in all others. Also, lifespan-extending genes are protective of neurodegenerative disorders. Today, there is exciting work being done in the enhancement of molecular mechanisms of anti-aging.
THE FINDINGS OF ANTI-AGING RESEARCH
Multiple compounds are known to extend lifespan; these same compounds can reduce neurodegeneration. Five of these are metformin, rapamycin, resveratrol, N-Acetylcysteine, and curcumin. These and other molecules not only improve lifespan but also add to the ‘healthspan’ of organisms.
This fits into our goal of living better and more optimally. Vital aging is more important than simply extending life.
WHY YOU SHOULD TAKE AN NAC SUPPLEMENT
NAC does not require active transport and easily crosses cell membranes to be available for antioxidant production.
NAC reduces the activity of the NF-kB inflammation pathway. This hyperinflammatory pathway becomes especially active in times of stress and oxidative stress. NAC can suppress the damaging cytokine production that invariably results from the activation of the NF-kB path.
Many believe that neurodegenerative disorders are aging related proteinopathies. They are basically due to a build up of poorly folded proteins that are not repaired. These then lead to oxidative stress. This happens in a low GSH (glutathione) environment.
Many scientists believe that toxicity from bad protein in the brain could be cleaned up with the assistance of NAC, due to its abilities to stimulate production of glutathione.
Not only does NAC act as a free radical scavenger, but it is known to act as a life extender in mammal and invertebrate studies and for breast epithelial stem cells; clinical human findings of longevity have not been completed. NAC also activates telomerase and is an inhibitor of apoptosis.
HOW TO TAKE NAC
Most oral NAC doses are at a 200-400mg range. Doses of 1200mg are discussed in some studies as well. Many advocate taking 600mg capsules up to three times a day.
All antioxidants have the potential to become pro-oxidant at certain doses, so finding supplements that contain appropriate levels of antioxidants is essential. However, in the setting of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, this is less relevant. Doses of 1.2g daily would be entering the range of concern.
When Dr. Meredith Warner designed her new Nervous System Multi, she took great care to appropriately measure the doses of its antioxidant ingredients. This multivitamin is one of the only targeted, natural multivitamins for nerve pain and nerve health that exists on the market.
And because it was developed by a surgeon who understands the root cause of neuropathic pain, you can rest assured you’re only getting the appropriate dose of NAC.