Sunday Supplement: NAC

To someone reading this for the first time: this new addition to my overall site started as I decided to take stock of whatever vitamins/supplements would be the most beneficial to help strengthen our immune systems, especially during Covid. I refer to them as Covid Combatants… although taking vitamins alone is not enough of a prevention for getting the virus, and it’s meant for generally healthy people to begin with. I also believe that during this time we may all benefit from boosting our intake of superfoods/vitamins/minerals that we otherwise might not have needed so much of in our pre-pandemic world.

As I’m no authority on the subject (although my brother *Brad King is a leading health expert, and my science writer boyfriend is a supplement enthusiast), I urge you to do your own research and/or check with your health practitioner before starting a new regimen. There can be upsides and downsides to taking too much or too little of anything.  So having said all that…here is a narrowed down version of a supplement I knew little about until recently. 

It’s called NAC (N-Acetyl-Cysteine) – and it helps support cardiovascular and respiratory health, as well as alleviate asthma-related symptoms.  Whenever I begin to get run down I develop a low-grade asthma and have to use an inhaler.  This usually happens once a year during cold/flu season.  Since taking my extra supplements for almost a year now, I have luckily (and thus far) not experienced any asthmatic symptoms.  

NAC is popular among athletes, and anyone who wants to improve their physical performance. It can help lengthen the time to fatigue, meaning that you don’t get tired as fast due to NAC’s ability to manage lactic-acid build-up. NAC seems to be most effective for medium-intensity exercises.

Protecting Our Cells – means protecting ourselves.

Because NAC has been used for decades as an aid to boost athletic performance, and to help improve lung health, it has become a popular supplement with an excellent safety record with a large body of research behind it. So, it’s easy to see why many better-informed health practitioners are recommending daily NAC supplementation to help safeguard folks from developing severe cases of Covid-19, which are known to cause serious respiratory distress issues. 

Your body uses NAC as a precursor in making Glutathione, one of the more potent antioxidant nutrients that help quench free radicals thereby preventing oxidative stress in cells.

Glutathione is also thought to have neuro-protective properties and operate like a neurotransmitter, thus potentially contributing to the promotion of mood and overall mental health.

While the components that give rise to L-Glutathione can be found in various foods, especially particular meat and dairy products, taking NAC will help your body produce it in larger amounts. NAC is especially recommended for anyone following a vegan or vegetarian diet.

NAC is known to help protect the liver from the effects of certain toxins. NAC is so effective in protecting the liver from damage that it is sometimes given to patients in acetaminophen (paracetamol) overdose cases. NAC may also be useful in preventing damage to the kidneys, and it’s often used in conjunction with medications that may harm the internal organs.

If you happen to be searching for NAC to help you improve immunity or respiratory health, remember it is a safe amino-acid that can be taken in combination with other nutraceuticals.** 

NAC is available on prescription for specific conditions, but you can also buy it over-the-counter as a food supplement.

*Brad King – is an award winning nutritional formulator and was honored with the Best in Canada Award for Health Motivator/Educator and Public Speaker in 2010, was inducted into the Canadian Sports Nutrition Hall of Fame in 2003 and sits on the board of Directors for CHI the premiere sports nutrition education center.

Brad is the author of 10 books including the international best seller, Fat Wars 45 Days to Transform Your Body and the award winning Beer Belly Blues: What Every Aging Man and the Women in His Life Need to Know .  He’s been interviewed on numerous TV shows some of which include “The Today Show”, “Canada AM” and “Balance TV” and featured in many magazines articles.

**Caveat: Some recent research has raised questions about NAC’s ultimate safety, so some cautions are warranted.  For more on these reservations, see: “N-Acetyl Cysteine: A Warning Shot”, Derek Lowe 4 October, 2019. Science Magazine

Source: 

How Long Does It Take for NAC Supplements to Work?

Life Extension is a preference of mine – available in the USA – can order online into Canada.  However there are many companies that provide NAC, e.g. AOR.

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