N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC)

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What is N-Acetyl L-Cysteine?

N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC) is an acetylated form of cysteine, an amino acid. NAC converts into cysteine which helps synthesize glutathione in the body. Both cysteine and glutathione have been explored as stand-alone supplements. However, both supplements are broken down too fast to be of much use hence the preference of NAC. [1] Glutathione is a potent cellular healthy supplement, capable of fighting free radicals.* [2] Free radicals damage cells and can contribute to cognitive decline.* [3]

N-Acetyl L-Cysteine Benefits

NAC has a number of benefits, including supplementing cellular, cognitive and cardiovascular health. Secondary to its cellular health properties, N-Acetyl L-Cysteine may be contributing to alleviating the damage caused by free radicals.* [4] NAC has also been shown to promote healthy mood. [7]

Cellular Health

As mentioned above, NAC converts into L-cysteine within the body which supplements the amount of glutathione your body makes.* This is significant because glutathione is able to scavenge free radicals and limit their deleterious effects. [4] Even so, glutathione degrades over time. It is limited by the amount of L-cysteine present.

Since direct supplementation with L-cysteine is ineffective, N-Acetyl L-Cysteine supplements are the preferred alternative. NAC converts into usable L-cysteine, which then promotes the glutathione resynthesis process.* [5] NAC is effective at scavenging hydroxyl radicals and hypochlorous acid. [6] Once converted into glutathione, it can help detoxify reactive oxygen species at the cellular level. [4]

N-Acetyl Cysteine Dosage

The recommended NAC dosage is 500mg per day.


    1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1362956
    2. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/cysteine
    3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12486446
    4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12751781
    5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21815068
    6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2546864
    7. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1018-n-acetyl%20cysteine.aspx?activeingredientid=1018&activeingredientname=n-acetyl%20cysteine

Additional Resources

N-Acetylcysteine on Examine.com
Acetylcysteine Wikipedia Entry

Review guidelines


*Statements found within have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Consult with your physician before taking if you are pregnant, nursing, have any cardiovascular or other medical issues, or anticipate surgery. Keep out of the reach of children.

Scientific studies cited are not conclusive and have limitations, due to of their closed environment nature. Referenced studies will not necessarily determine your experience with a supplement or nootropic, since there are many unaccounted variables, which fall outside the scope of the studies.

The reviews contained within are the opinions of contributors and are not necessarily the views or opinions of Powder City. These reviews should not be taken as fact or recommendation, and are only opinions of products that the contributors may have or may have not used. Powder City makes no warranty, implied or expressed, to the accuracy of information provided by these reviews.

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