I was a late convert to the wonders of NAC (N-acetyl cysteine), a well-known nutrient. Somehow I overlooked it.
But now I’m a full believer and proselytizer. I got religion when I learned that NAC is perhaps the most effective way to boost your glutathione levels, one of the most important markers for how long you’re likely to live.
NAC pretty much benefits every part of your body, including your brain. Now it turns out it has specific power to help out with Parkinson’s disease and other brain pathologies. If you’re not taking NAC already, you’ll want to after you read this. . .
Your brain enters troubled waters when the neurons that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine start to die.
These neurons help you control your muscles. They keep you on the go because they’re part of the reward system in the brain. They offer up the satisfaction you feel when you work hard and obtain what you worked for. Or when you eat a delicious meal.
Besides that, you need those neurons to keep your memory working properly.
If you lose a good number of them – which happens in people with Parkinson’s disease – you suffer a long list of physical and mental issues. Simple movements become difficult or impossible. You start losing the ability to remember things.
So far, all the mainstream medical treatments for Parkinson’s aimed at keeping dopamine supplied to your brain are only temporary fixes. They produce only short-term improvements.
That’s what prompted researchers to look at a natural substance, NAC, to see if it might help. The results of their tests are promising, which is a great thing for people like us who are concerned with our brain health.
Conserve Your Antioxidants
NAC is an antioxidant. In fact, it’s one of the most powerful antioxidants known. It’s been used to treat certain types of drug poisoning.
The nutrient provides some of the raw material the body needs to make its own glutathione, which is manufactured in all cells. (The liver also makes extra amounts of glutathione that are distributed throughout the body.)
And as researchers have taken a deep dive into how NAC can be used to treat the brain disruption that takes place during Parkinson’s disease, their results are leading them to advocate making it a standard treatment for this disease.
One group of these researchers, working at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, analyzed what happens when people with Parkinson’s get extra amounts of NAC.
They found that damage to the dopamine-producing neurons in the brain seems to result from a steady build-up of oxidative stress caused by free radicals. The brain’s levels of glutathione tumble.
Considering that previous tests have shown supplementing with NAC can increase glutathione in the brain, the Thomas Jefferson scientists used both NAC supplements taken orally and NAC administered intravenously to track its effects.
For three months, along with conventional treatment, the Parkinson’s patients in the study were given intravenous infusions once a week and, on the days they didn’t get the intravenous infusions, they took 500 mg of NAC by mouth twice a day.
The study shows that compared to Parkinson’s patients who only received conventional care, their disabilities linked to Parkinson’s backed off by about 14 percent and their dopamine function improved by four to nine percent.1
“This is an exciting study that suggests a natural molecule such as NAC can help improve dopamine function and symptoms in Parkinson’s patients,” says Dr. Andrew Newberg, who directs research at the Department of Integrative Medicine and Nutritional Sciences at Jefferson.
NAC for the Whole Body
As I mentioned, NAC showers you with many benefits besides protection from Parkinson’s. Here are just a few more. . .
- Useful for treating concussions: A study at the University of Maryland shows that NAC can help keep the blood/brain barrier working better after a concussion. When this barrier is impaired, toxins from the bloodstream can enter the brain. (The same sort of blood/brain barrier malfunction can take place after military personnel are exposed to explosions.)2
- Produces benefits for skin problems: A review study at Loyola University explains that NAC can help clear up acne and protect the skin from sun damage. Although the researchers stress that NAC is not useful as a sunscreen, applying it to the skin increases the skin’s resistance to oxidative damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays.3
- Improves your heart health: Taking NAC has been shown to lower the level of homocysteine in the body (a risk factor for heart disease).4 In a study where it was taken with the amino acid l-arginine, it lowered blood pressure.5
You can see why I agree with experts who say everyone middle-aged and older should take NAC to support the level of glutathione in the body – which drops as the years go by. I suggest you check out Vital Force, the glutathione–boosting supplement from our sister company Green Valley Natural Solutions. It not only includes a clinical dose of NAC, but it contains other nutrients designed to raise your glutathione level.
You can buy NAC by itself from numerous vendors, but Vital Force also gives you proprietary ingredients that boost your glutathione even more. Plus the quality is guaranteed. The longer I’ve been involved with the supplement business, the more I’ve learned that quality is compromised all over the place and there’s also a great deal of outright sleaze.