N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) provides antioxidant support and precursor for the master antioxidant glutathione (1).
- May reduce oxidative stress (ref)*
- May reduce muscle fatigue during exercise (ref)*
- Supports electrolyte function during exercise (ref)*
- Provides support in breaking behavioral habits (ref)*
- Maintains cellular health*
N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine Mode of Action
The master antioxidant Glutathione consists of three amino acids: glutamate, glycine, and cysteine (1). Glutathione scavenges oxygen and nitrogen radicals but is degraded quickly and requires more L-cysteine to resynthesize. N-acetylcysteine is an acetylated form of L-Cysteine, and by supplementing with NAC, there is more L-cysteine available to replenish Glutathione (2).
When NAC is available to a cell, it is hydrolyzed to release the cysteine amino acid and then synthesized into GSH via enzymatic reactions with c-glutamylcysteine synthetase and GSH synthetase. Glutathione synthesis is limited by the number of substrates that are available for it. Glutathione's primary function is to provide antioxidant defense, modulate oxidation-reduction reaction signal transduction, detoxify electrophilic xenobiotics, store and transport cysteine, regulate cell proliferation and synthesis of deoxyribonucleotide synthesis, regulate leukotriene and prostaglandin metabolism, and regulate immune system responses (3).
NAC increases intracellular Glutathione and may decrease inflammation and promote blood vessel health by acting as a vasodilator by facilitating nitric oxide (3). NAC also reduces the release of glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter which is neurotoxic in large amounts (2).
NAC provides a direct antioxidant effect by providing protection against ROS (reactive oxygen species) (4). ROS is the production of reactive oxygen species in response to any situation resulting in chronic or sudden overconsumption of oxygen, and can occur inside mitochondrial, in the capillary system, or by inflammatory cells, but is mostly produced by mitochondria as a byproduct of cell conversion of molecular oxygen to water. ROS can damage or modify DNA, lipids, or proteins in the cells by oxidation and peroxidation. Oxidative stress is a result of an imbalance between antioxidants and oxidants (3).
NAC has also been used to for acetaminophen toxicity (5).
Pure Nootropics’ NAC provides 500 mg per 1 capsule. Suggested use for adults is 1 capsule by mouth daily, or as directed by your healthcare practitioner.
N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine Side Effects and Toxicity
NAC is generally well tolerated. Side effects may include gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea (3)(5).
Most side effects occur at doses of 9 grams or higher used in a single administration, or at greater than 30 grams daily (5).
The lethal dose for NAC was greater than 1000 mg/kg in dogs, between 2500-6000 mg/kg in rats, and 3575 mg/kg in mice (5).
If you are taking any medications, please consult your healthcare practitioner before beginning supplementation with NAC to learn of any potential pharmaceutical medication interactions which may occur.
For further information, please see our References Tab above.
The references below are not meant to imply that any of our products treat, cure, or diagnose any disease or human condition. References to clinical studies and pre-clinical studies may use varying dosages and may not represent the dosages or subsequent results of products we sell; however, the references provided are pertinent to the subject supplement itself. References provided are intended for research and informational purposes only and do not represent the entire body of knowledge available on the subject(s) referenced; nor do they represent all possible outcomes associated with the subject(s) referenced including, but not limited to, adverse effects, precautions, or chemical interactions within the human body. The Content provided on this website is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical advice, treatment or diagnosis. Never ignore the advice of a medical professional or delay in attaining professional advice because of information or impressions you gather on this website. Choosing to rely on any information provided by the Content of this website is solely at your own risk. We encourage our audience to do their own research beyond the resources we have provided so your decision is as educated as possible.
• May reduce oxidative stress*
Santus, Pierachille et al. “Oxidative stress and respiratory system: pharmacological and clinical reappraisal of N-acetylcysteine.” COPD vol. 11,6 (2014): 705-17. doi:10.3109/15412555.2014.898040.
• May reduce muscle fatigue during exercise*
Kelly, MK, et al. “Effects of N-Acetylcysteine on Respiratory Muscle Fatigue during Heavy Exercise.” Respir Physiol Neurobiol, vol. 165, no. 1, 1 Jan. 2009, pp. 67–72., doi:10.1016/j.resp.2008.10.008.
• Supports electrolyte function during exercise*
McKenna, Michael J et al. “N-acetylcysteine attenuates the decline in muscle Na+,K+-pump activity and delays fatigue during prolonged exercise in humans.” The Journal of physiology vol. 576,Pt 1 (2006): 279-88. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2006.115352.
• Provides support in breaking behavioral habits*
Ghanizadeh, A, et al. “N-Acetylcysteine versus Placebo for Treating Nail Biting, a Double Blind Randomized Placebo Controlled Clinical Trial.” Antiinflamm Antiallergy Agents Med Chem, vol. 12, no. 3, 2013, pp. 223–8., www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23651231.
1. Millea, Paul J. “N-Acetylcysteine: Multiple Clinical Applications.” Am Fam Physician, vol. 80, no. 3, 1 Aug. 2009, pp. 265–269., www.aafp.org/afp/2009/0801/p265.html.
2. “N-Acetylcysteine”. Examine.com, published Sep 11, 2013. Last updated Jun 14, 2018. https://examine.com/supplements/n-acetylcysteine/.
3. Bavarsad Shahripour, Reza et al. “N-acetylcysteine (NAC) in neurological disorders: mechanisms of action and therapeutic opportunities.” Brain and behavior vol. 4,2 (2014): 108-22. doi:10.1002/brb3.208.
4. Santus, Pierachille et al. “Oxidative stress and respiratory system: pharmacological and clinical reappraisal of N-acetylcysteine.” COPD vol. 11,6 (2014): 705-17. doi:10.3109/15412555.2014.898040.
5. “N-Acetyl Cysteine”. Food, Herbs & Supplements, Professional. Natural Medicines, Therapeutic Research, https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=1018#adverseEvents.