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N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is the supplement form of the amino acid cysteine. Cysteine is found in high-protein foods like chicken, yogurt, spinach and sunflower seeds and can be created by our bodies using other amino acids. While there is no daily recommended dosage, adding NAC to your diet can be very advantageous due to the many health benefits associated with higher doses of this semi-essential amino acid.   

Benefits of NAC

Aids with Respiratory Issues – In addition to being a supplement, NAC can also be prescribed to help reduce mucus and inflammation and is often used to treat respiratory issues like colds, bronchitis or even chronic lung disease.   

Possess Antioxidants – Cysteine or NAC is needed to produce glutathione, one of the most important antioxidants that the body needs to fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. As such, NAC is sometimes recommended to help treat and prevent various disorders like Alzheimer’s or cancer. 

Can Help Improve Fertility – NAC has been known to help with fertility in both men and women. In addition to possessing antioxidants which help reduce oxidative stress that damages reproductive cells, it’s also known to help improve the pregnancy rate of women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), especially when taken in combination with certain vitamins and essential fatty acids.   

Mood Enhancer – Studies show that mood swings are often associated with an imbalance of the neurotransmitter glutamate. NAC has shown positive effects on helping increase glutamate levels which is why it’s often used to help treat various mental health conditions like depression or anxiety. 

Supports Metabolic Disorders – NAC can help people who are at risk for developing metabolic disorders since it improves insulin sensitivity. 

Helps Protect the Liver and Kidneys – NAC helps protect the liver and kidneys from overdoses by controlling the harmful side effects associated with certain drugs like acetaminophen


NAC can be found in pill form at your local health food store or it can also be prescribed as an injection. Potential side effects can include an upset stomach, diarrhea, sweating, fatigue or a skin rash but for the most part the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to this awesome supplement. Unfortunately NAC may not interact well with all medications and since there is no official recommended dose, like with any supplement it’s imperative to talk to your health care practitioner to ensure NAC is the right choice for you. 


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