YES! NAC can support lowering your blood sugar. But how can NAC help in boosting your health and preventing several chronic ailments? What is the best source of NAC in our daily diet?
- NAC: N-acetylcysteine or N-acetyl Cysteine or N-acetyl-L-cysteine.
- Diabetes – Understanding High and lower blood sugar
- Health benefits of NAC – beyond insulation regulation
- NAC dosage – how much is right for you?
- Sources of NAC – Natural (Plant and Animal-based)
- Side effects of NAC – check before you start
To understand the advantages of NAC that can manage your diabetes, you must first know about NAC – its composition, utility, dosages and side effects. Let’s explore it in detail.
NAC: N-acetylcysteine or N-acetyl Cysteine or N-acetyl-L-cysteine.
NAC in simple terms is the supplement form of amino acids that build blocks of protein in your body. These are immunity builders, aids detoxification and help in eliminating symptomatic conditions of the organs.
NAC is a precursor of an essential amino acid Cysteine. Cysteineis a precursor of the primary antioxidant Glutathione. Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals and all the nutrients that support the overall protection of the cells. The best source of NAC helps in producing Glutathione in the body. However, NAC is not a natural element but a chemical compound that is available in dietary supplements.
You can avail of NAC either as a prescription medication or as a health supplement. The supplements are available in tablet and capsule form. You can ask for 500-mg, 600-mg, 750-mg and 1000-mg of anything – tablet or capsule.
Now that you know about NAC, it is necessary to take a glance at the types of blood sugar fluctuation. There are two types of blood sugar condition in the body that causes chronic illness – Hyperglycaemia and Hypoglycaemia.
Diabetes – Understanding High and lower blood sugar
A slight and sporadic fluctuation in glucose (blood sugar) level in your body is completely normal as it is in response to the food intake. However, constant rise and drop in sugar levels in the blood or urine reflect a condition that seeks medical care.
Diabetes is the medical term for any fluctuation of sugar/glucose levels in the body. High blood sugar or Hyperglycaemia is a condition when your glucose levels are much higher than normal.
Sadly, you will not have any symptoms unless the glucose level rises significantly as the condition develops slowly over weeks and months. The longer it is undiagnosed the more damage will happen.
Lower blood sugar or Hypoglycaemia is a condition when the glucose level of the body drops lower than the standard level. It requires proper medical care and comes under diabetic treatment.
Here is the normal range and diabetic range of blood sugar level:
- Hyperglycaemia – 140 mg/dL or 7.8 mmol/l
- Hypoglycaemia – 60 mg/dL or 3.3 mmol/l
- Normal range – 60 to 140 mg/dL or 3.3 to 7.8 mmol/l
It is imperative to treat both conditions as if left untreated – you can suffer from chronic ailments like cardiac (heart) problems, kidney damage, nerve disorder and even vision problems.
Health benefits of NAC – beyond insulation regulation
The right dosage of NAC can act as a protective layer for many cardiovascular, pulmonary and endocrinological systems. It is gaining global acceptance in the pharmaceutical industry and medical world. Europe is one of the top consumers of NAC supplements and one of the renowned American journals has listed the incredible benefits of NAC. The pros of NAC includes – treating cardiac, respiratory, fertility, brain and nervous illnesses and kidney damage.
Scientific research and medical studies have proven that constant high blood sugar generates AGEs (Advanced Glycation End-products) that impair the insulin level in your body. These can lead to several degenerative ailments like Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and atherosclerosis.
· Pumps the production of Glutathione: The primary advantage of NAC is the production of antioxidants. It helps as a replenisher of Glutathione, the ‘master antioxidant,’ for your body. These compounds support neutralizing the free radicals that cause cell and tissue damage. Further research proves that it contributes to better immunity and increase longevity.
· Aids detoxification: NAC plays a vital role in your detoxification process and repairs the system from environmental damage. Chemical reactions that occur from consumption of alcohol, tobacco intake and smoking require continuous detoxification which is possible through NAC. It has properties to act as an anti-inflammatory to combat liver diseases, respiratory problems and assists in reducing metal poisoning.
· Improves Insulin resistance:NACacts as an insulin regulator to protect you from the complications of type-2 diabetes. Research has proven boost of Glutathione helps in regulating the blood sugar levels in your body. Cysteine works on the nerve and vascular inflammation by reducing the symptoms of hyperglycaemia.
· Reduces inflammation of cells: Diabetes and a high level of glucose result in weight gains and obesity. Your abdominal weight gain will lead to many other health ailments like high blood pressure, joint pain, respiratory issues and even heart problems. However, taking NAC tablets regularly can help you lose extra body fat and maintain healthy body weight by increasing metabolism and decreasing inflammation.
· Improves Fertility: NAC capsules boosts fertility in both male and female. If you have irregular periods, hirsutism (facial hair), hormonal disbalance and poor egg quality then you can start NAC with Metformin to improve the symptomatic problems of PCOS. It also helps in balancing testosterone, increase the quality of sperms by acting as the protective film to the cells from oxidative damage.
· Reduces Risk of Cancer: Several scientific studies highlight that NAC helps in decreasing cancer cells. Notch3 is one of the mutant cells that are common in many types of cancer and cysteine prevents the multiplication of these cells in your body. The supplement assists in treating certain types of tumours and gastric cancer too.
NAC dosage – how much is right for you?
Although, there is no set recommendation of NAC dosage and therefore, it depends on your requirement and health condition. Some packs recommend 600mg tablets taken 1-3 times a day but, some recommend 1000mg capsules only once a day. It is especially important to read the pack before intake and have a discussion with the pharmacists.
If you are in dilemma on what time of the day you should take the supplement then, the answer is before meals. The supplement absorbs and acts better on the empty stomach so, it’s always advisable to take at least one hour before eating.
NAC capsules and tablets are very pungent to smell which may put you off. You can combine NAC supplements with Vitamin C (as the combination is advisable) or can opt for pure NAC. Check with the healthcare provider before trying out the combinations and quantity.
Always ensure that you do not buy NAC with fillers. Look for the number of capsules for every intake. Be careful in ordering and checking for the right amount of active NAC in each tablet/capsule.
Sources of NAC – Natural (Plant and Animal-based)
NAC supplement does not have any natural food source; however, you can take cysteine sources to compensate for the same requirement. Cysteine is present in many animal and plant sources for easier consumption.
Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian or meat-lover; you have a huge option to choose from and introduce a source of NAC in your daily diet.
- Animal sources of cysteine – Chicken, eggs, pork, turkey, duck and meat. Cheese and yoghurt are also part of this list.
- Plant-based sources of cysteine – Soybean, nuts, sunflower seeds, legumes and whole grains.
Side effects of NAC – check before you start
Any medication or drug has both positive and negative effects on your body. It is important to check with your local pharmacist or physician before taking any health supplements. The same rule applies for NAC – always check with your physician before taking the Cysteine supplement and its interactions.
NAC is generally a safe drug; however, prolonged usage may cause some side effects. Here are some of the side effects of NAC supplement:
- Rash and itchiness on body
- IBS and Nausea
Inhaling of NAC may cause swelling of the mouth, runny nose, dizziness and chest congestion. Speak to the doctor if you have any other underlying health conditions before taking NAC tablets/capsules.
Let’s take a quick review of the NAC health benefits in several ways –
- NAC eliminates free radicals.
- NAC boosts liver and kidney healthy.
- NAC supplements act as insulin regulators.
- NAC intake decreases psychiatric problems.
Can you take NAC with blood pressure medication?
No. NAC causes blood thinning and it is advisable to discuss with your physician before taking it with blood pressure medication.
Can you take NAC before a planned surgery?
No. Surgeons advise stopping the NAC supplement two weeks before any planned operations and invasive procedures.
Can you take NAC with Metformin?
Yes! You can take NAC with Metformin together to treat fertility issues like PCOS, irregular menstrual cycles, facial hair and support weight loss management.
Are there any side effects of NAC?
Yes! There are certain mild to moderate side effects of NAC but, it is only for 1-10,000 people. Always check with your physician before starting any medication or supplement.
How long does NAC take to show results?
You can get results in about one week to ten days. You can notice a significant health improvement only after three months of continuous usage.