N-acetyl cysteine is the acetylated form (meaning it is bound by an acetyl group – CH3CO) of the amino acid cysteine. A pool of NAC is maintained in the blood to supply cysteine which is an important substrate in the synthesis of another amino acid tripeptide glutathione. The three amino acids that comprise the tripeptide are cysteine, glycine, and glycine, with cysteine being the rate limiting amino acid (rate limiting refers to the substrate in weakest concentration that affects the synthesis of the whole). Glutathione is a powerful, ubiquitious low molecular weight antioxidant and fights free radicals to protect cellular structure from free radical damage.
NAC, when taken as a supplement, bolsters the cysteine levels available for the synthesis of glutathione, and thus enhances the production of glutathione and boosts the antioxidant system of the body. It can also prevent side effects caused by adverse reactions to toxic compounds.
Glutathione is one of the most important and potent antioxidants found in large amounts within cells in the human body. It plays an important role in detoxification of foreign chemicals and antioxidant defense. Apart from these roles, it has also been found to play a role in diverse processes like regulation of cell growth and regulation of the immune system, among others. Levels of reduced glutathione (the active form of glutathione) are reduced when the body is in a state of oxidative stress. This is when production of damaging free radicals is far greater than what the body’s antioxidant system can neutralize. NAC supplementation can help increase the production glutathione and decrease oxidative stress, thereby protecting the body from a number of health problems. Oxidative stress due to excess alcohol consumption and accumulation of toxic compounds can harm the liver cells. Glutathione, if present in adequate amounts, can protect liver cells from damage. NAC is also a potent chelator of heavy metals, if living in an environment where pollution and toxic heavy metals can penetrate into the body and brain.
Researchers at Stanford University found that NAC replenishes levels of glutathione in the body which are decreased in certain pathological conditions. They also noted that NAC has been successfully used in treating glutathione deficiency in many infections, genetic defects and also in COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder) and HIV infection. In the majority of controlled trials, NAC supplementation improved quality of life and wellbeing of patients. View research
NAC is a well-known antidote for acetaminophen (paracetamol)-induced liver damage, also known as acetaminophen poisoining. In this research, scientists tried to find if NAC played any role in non-acetaminophen-induced acute liver failure (NAI-ALF). In this study with 80 participants, half were given NAC supplementation while the other half received placebo. The mortality in the NAC treatment group was nearly half that of the placebo group (28% as compared to 53%). Furthermore, the use of NAC necessitated a shorter stay in hospital and the survival of patients was also improved. This led the researchers to conclude that NAC supplementation can be safely used to improve survivability in patients with NAI-ALF. View research
The rising popularity of non-caloric sweeteners is on the rise. These sweeteners are primarily targeted at susceptible groups like diabetic, obese and health-conscious individuals. However, these artificial sweeteners do more harm than good in the long run. One such popular sweetener, aspartame, was studied for its role in liver damage. It was found that chronic aspartame consumption led to liver damage in mice. This was caused due to lowered glutathione levels as well as increased levels of the biomarker for liver damage, the enzyme ALT. High aspartame also decreased mRNA and protein levels of important enzymes. However, in mice that were given NAC supplementation, normal levels of glutathione were observed. NAC also protected mice against liver damage by reducing injury and regulating enzymes like ALT and protein levels. View research
N-acetylcysteine is made my microbiological fermentation and produced to the exacting stadards of EU/JP/USP Pharmacopeias
Liver Lift contains NAC, along with potent liver protectants like alpha lipoic acid and silymarin.