Respiratory and immune health go hand in hand. Some research indicates that N-acetylcysteine (NAC) taken as a supplement may help improve symptoms of a number of medical conditions.
NAC can help combat cell damage throughout the body.
Doctors believe that NAC may stimulate the synthesis of glutathione — a compound that helps fight free radicals, unstable atoms that can cause inflammation and damage throughout your body. NAC and glutathione also boost immune health.
Your ability to produce glutathione naturally declines with age, but it can also be compromised at any age by poor nutrition, stress, and any underlying health conditions. Glutathione is one of the body’s most important antioxidants; Along with two other amino acids — glutamine and glycine — NAC is needed to make and replenish glutathione.
The Respiratory-Immune Connection
NAC has a high affinity for lung tissue and can relieve symptoms of respiratory conditions by acting as an antioxidant and expectorant, loosening mucus in your air passageways. As an antioxidant, NAC helps replenish glutathione levels in your lungs and reduces inflammation in your bronchial tubes and lung tissue.
People with COPD and chronic bronchitis have seen benefits from NAC supplements. In a one-year study, 600 mg of NAC twice a day significantly improved lung function and symptoms in those with stable COPD. By thinning mucus in your bronchial tubes and boosting glutathione levels, NAC may help decrease the severity and frequency of wheezing, coughing and respiratory attacks.
The more pollutants that make it into your lungs, the harder your immune system has to work to remove them, which can compromise your overall immune health. NAC can help protect your lung health from environmental pollutants that make it harder to filter the air you breathe.
Should I Supplement?
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Amino acids like cysteine are essential to body function and help with regulating immune function. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a dietary supplement derived from the amino acid L-cysteine.
For your body to make the amino acid cysteine, you need adequate amounts of folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. These nutrients can be found in beans, lentils, spinach, bananas, salmon and tuna.
While most protein-rich foods, such as chicken, turkey, yogurt, cheese, eggs, sunflower seeds and legumes, contain cysteine, some people choose to supplement with NAC to increase their cysteine intake. And, don’t forget that NAC is a vital precursor for boosting glutathione.
Dr. Dave Scheiderer, MD, MBA, DFAPA believes strongly in helping yourself out by taking high grade nutratceuticals and supplements. He has formulated several of Health Remedies’ supplements and ensures the products we carry are based on science, experience, as well as have the best efficacy rates and highest ingredient quality available. In addition to his IP Brand NAC supplement, the IP formulated FolaNAC combines three critical compounds — L-methylfolate, methylcobalamine (Vitamin B-12), and NAC — into one capsule.
If you have questions about how NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) might benefit you or a loved one, or which NAC supplement to choose: Call Integrative Psychiatry at 800-385-7863.