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N-acetylcysteine (NAC) - a bioactive and safe n-acetyl derivative of cysteine. It increases the natural level of glutathione, neutralises harmful metabolites of drugs (mainly paracetamol), reduces the risk of nephropathy (disease of kidneys) as well as shows effectiveness in treating AIDS through inhibiting the activation of the protein NG-kB, which results in that HIV genes are not transcribed. It shows anti-inflammatory and antioxidant features, thanks to which it neutralises free radicals in inflamed or anoxic cells.
Cysteine - why is it important and what are its functions?
Cysteine is a proteinogenic, sulfur-contatining amino acid which is a component necessary for normal functioning of the organism. It contains the thiol group (-SH), thanks to which it is capable of creating disulfide bridges and thus, influencing many protein structures. It is created in the organism as a result of the reaction between methionine and serine.
Through oxydation it is transformed into cystine, and through decarboxylation - to cysteamine. It is a taurine precursor and the most important component of glutathione (apart from glycine and glutamic acid), as its thiol group (-SH) is an active group in redox reactions (oxidation and reduction) where glutathione performs its main functions.
As cysteamine, it is one of the procursors (apart from ATP and pantothenic acid) of coenzyme A (CoA), and its thiol group (-SH) is the active group of that coenzyme and it enables the binding of the acyl group, through which the acetyl-CoA is created. Coenzym A takes part, among other processes, in the biosynthesis of cholesterol and, in turn, steroid hormones, acetylcholine synthesis, catabolic reactions which lead to energy release (Krebs cycle) and in the process of neutralisation an removal of sulfonamide.
Glutathione - the guardian of human health
Glutathione is the most important antioxidant and detoxicant present in every body cell. It is called the guardian of human health. It is a tripeptide which builds living cells, made of the amino acid residues of glutamic acid, ceysteine and glycine, and the most widespread intracellular thiol, that is the compound containing sulphur. It removes heavy metals, protects the liver, fights free radicals and supports the immune system, and its low level means that there is a medical condition in the organism.
Glutathione detoxicates the organism
Glutathione is the strongest detoxicant in the organism. It detoxicates through removing harmful toxins, heavy metals and pesticides. For a better picture, its beneficial effect and characteristics in that part of homeostasis can be presented in an enumerative list:
- it removes nitrogen compounds and chlorinated toxins
- it cleanses the liver, protecting it from damage and necrosis
- it neutralises toxic metabolites of some medications
- it fights free radicals and eliminates harmful pesticides
- it recreates the bioactive (reduced) forms of vitamins C and E
- it takes part in the transformation of hydrogen peroxide into water
NAC neutralises the toxical characteristics of paracetamol and protects the liver
Paracetamol is a popular and widely used painkiller and anti-inflammatory agent. However, not many people realise how toxic it is. Used too often or in large doses, is leads to the gathering of its toxic metabolite - N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine (NAPQI) in the organism.
The metabolite is commonly neutralised by glutathione but when the amount of it is too big, the natural reserves of glutathione are not enough to manage it. In that situation, there is a reaction between toxic metabolites and the crucial liver enzymes, which leads to damaging liver cells and, in turn, to acute liver failure.
Administering NAC prevents that situation, and that is why preparations containing acetylcysteine are registered as medication used in paracetamol overdose treatment. It immediately restores the normal level of glutathione, which neutralises harmful metabolites.
The above-described situation may also occur with toxic metabolites of different drugs, as well as different toxins, which makes NAC a perfect preparation protecting liver from many orally administered medications.
NAC cures mental disorders
Research has shown a beneficial effect of NAC on treating many psychiatric disorders: autism, Alzheimer's disease, bipolar affective disorder, depressive moods, obsesive-compulsive disorders, schizophrenia, particular forms of drug addiction, including cocaine and marijuana, as well as some forms of epilepsy. Moreover, it has been proven that people with autism have a reduced level of glutathione and cysteine.
NAC probably shows its characteristics through a beneficial effect on the neurotrasmission of glutamate and dopamine, as well as through its potential to suppress oxidative stress and neutralise harmful toxins.
NAC works neuroprotectively
One of academic studies has confirmed that NAC reduces the consequences of brain and nervous system damage in soldiers with traumatic experiences. In another study, NAC reached a high effectivity in traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, as well as in injuries caused by brain hypoxia and ischemia.
NAC reduces the loss of nerve cells and protects them from damage. It also prevents cognitive and neurological disorders connected with a traumatic event.
Other characteristics and functions of NAC
- treating the polycystic ovary syndrom (PCOS)
- suppressing acne changes
- fighting bacteria and viruses (including virus type A)
- preventing nephropathy caused by costrast media
- psychoactive, neuromodulatory and neuroprotective influence on the nervous system
- strengthens hair, skin and nail structures
- takes part in cyanide detoxication
- increases resistence (VO2max) in sportspeople
- it facilitates expectoration and reduces the amount of accumulated mucus
To sum up, Now Foods NAC is a dietary supplement mainly for those whose liver is exposed to damage through pharmacological medications which affect its functioning negatively. Thanks to its anti-virus and anti-bacterial characteristics, it is a very good supplement for people with weak immune system.
1 tablet 1-3 times a day.
Now Foods is a company with years of experience in the industry that offers a wide range of nutrients and dietary supplements. Brand is known for its high-quality products designed for hair and nails and supplements supporting the immune system. The offer includes the antioxidant supplements, antibacterial supplements, reducing appetite supplements, products supporting the reduction of body fat and improving digestion. All products are made from natural ingredients.
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