Today we will talk about NAC or N-acetyl cysteine.
CAUTION: Medical Disclaimer
Due to the amount of supplements I was using back in 2005 I was a bit worried about my liver. One of my coaches at the time suggested that I supplement with this antioxidant for optimal liver health, better focus and protection from the radical damage of my workouts.
Table of Contents
My experience with NAC
After a couple of weeks, I did have a better sense of well-being. I could handle stress better plus my usual sniffles were gone which also hinted at immune system support. In fact, I was even able to survive through an entire flu season without a sneeze while I was on N.A.C.
So when it comes to immune support, better focus and liver health, NAC is one of my top recommendations.
What is N.A.C?
N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) comes from the amino acid L-cysteine. It is has a very powerful antioxidant effect as it can remove poisons and free radicals from your system, protect your liver and also help the body build protein.
NAC benefits include:
- Strong antioxidant properties. It can protect inner organs (such as the liver and the stomach) by removing toxins and poisons. It can also remove free radicals thus protecting from oxidative damage caused by intense exercise and stress.
- Strong anti-inflammatory properties which can support physical performance in people who work out while still minimizing the impact of free radicals associated with exercise.
- It has many uses in medicine as it can reduce mucus and inflammation. This in turn means better breathing in both healthy and people with lung diseases such as bronchitis or fibrosing alveolitis.
- Removes poisons such as carbon dioxide, acetaminophen (aka Tylenol) and heavy metals (such like cadmium, mercury or lead) from the body.
- Can prevent kidney problems (when dyes are used in x-ray exams), reduce high homocysteine levels (which are linked to heart disease) and even reduce symptoms of the flu.
- Because of its effects on patients with psychiatric conditions, it can help with angina (chest pain), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, depression, epilepsy and even addictive behaviors. (such as nail-biting, smoking, cocaine etc.)
- Its cancer-protective properties seem promising as it can cause cell death in cancer cells (apoptosis) and even prevent them from multiplying.
When and how to take it
NAC is available in capsules at supplement stores. It is also used intravenously in hospitals or in an inhaler to send the medication directly to patients with lung conditions but in this article we are only covering NAC, the supplement..
As I mentioned at the start of this article one of the reasons I started taking NAC was to protect my body from free radicals. However, according to one study free radicals might be among the causes that contribute to muscle growth (via IGF-1 hypertrophy of myotubes). This means that removing all free radicals associated with strenuous exercise may hinder your muscle progress in the same way that NSAIDS do.
For this reason I would recommend to avoid taking NAC immediately before and after your workouts. A better idea is to take it 3-4 hours before and after your workouts. Other great times to take it include:
- early in the morning (not for those who work out in the morning),
- somewhere mid-day
- before bed.
Safety and side effects
While NAC is likely considered safe, reported side effects include:
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, fever, headache, drowsiness, low blood pressure, liver problems, and in some cases, rashes.
- When breathed in or inhaled, it can sometimes cause swelling in the mouth, runny nose, drowsiness and chest tightness.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Since no studies can indicate the full safety of this supplement during pregnancy and breastfeeding, it is best indicated to avoid use if you belong in this category and should be only be used as a last resort (such as in cases of acetaminophen toxicity after consultation with a doctor).
Contraindications or interactions with other medication/substances:
- Do not use N-acetyl cysteine if you are allergic to acetyl cysteine.
- Do not use N-acetyl cysteine if you have asthma as it can cause bronchospasm.
- Do not combine with Nitroglycerin as it increases the effects of nitroglycerin and can cause headache, dizziness, and light-headedness.
- Do not combine with activated charcoal as it can bind up these medications in the stomach and prevent them from being absorbed by the body. Taking N-acetyl cysteine will reduce activated charcoal’s effects on removing poisons from your system.
Consult with your doctor before using this supplement and if you have any of the above conditions or take any of the medication/substances above.
Do I need to cycle off?
While cycling is not required, I always using for 3-6 months of use followed by 1 month off.
Over the past 20 years I have experimented with literally hundreds of herbs, supplements (and other natural products) and was finally able to discover the right doses for amazing results.
If you wish to learn more about the dosages that I use with my clients for different purposes (better health, hormonal balance, stress management, testosterone boost and more) or how I combine this herb/supp with others, leave a comment below or reach out to me for a consultation through the “Hire me” link.
NAC is one of the strongest antioxidants out there. If you are serious about your health and especially about supporting your liver health, this supplement should be part of your daily stack. Just make sure you do not take around your workouts to ensure maximum hypertrophy.
Have you ever tried NAC? If yes, what was your experience with it? Let me know in the comments below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Don’t forget to click on the Share button below and show your support to this blog. Until next time live your life: strong, healthy and free!
by Nick Sigma SHF
C.W.C, E.H, E-YRT200
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