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Using NAC for Your Pre-Summer Detox: What You Need to Know

What Is N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)?

NAC stands for “N-acetyl cysteine” and is a form of the amino acid cysteine that some take in supplement form. As an amino acid (i.e., a building block of protein), cysteine is also commonly found naturally in most high-protein foods, including meat, nuts, dairy products, and beans.

The benefits of NAC supplements are typically related to the fact that NAC is an essential “ingredient” in the body’s production of the potent antioxidant glutathione, along with the amino acids glutamine and glycine. Antioxidants such as glutathione may counteract the effects of free radicals throughout the body, which then creates oxidative stress which is thought to lead to cell damage over time. Thus, it is no surprise that those with liver conditions such as non-alcoholic and alcoholic liver disease, cirrhosis, and hepatitis also have below-average levels of glutathione. 

Supplementing with NAC may increase overall glutathione levels by providing one of the key ingredients for glutathione synthesis. Glutathione’s positive effects include its antioxidant effect, support of the immune system, and protection of the liver and kidneys. 

Does NAC Remove Toxins from the Body?

Although technically, NAC does not remove toxins from the body, one of its key benefits is thought to be that it can support the body’s own detoxification processes to reduce damaging oxidative stress on the liver and kidneys. 

How Much NAC Should I Take to Support Detoxification?

When taken orally, the body needs to absorb the NAC better since NAC has relatively low bioavailability. Taking 600 to 1,800 mg of NAC per day can provide an adequate NAC dose that may help detoxification support.

How Long Does It Take to See Benefits from NAC?

Since everyone’s body is different, it’s impossible to predict exactly when to expect to see benefits from taking NAC supplements. However, one double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that participants had signs of lower oxidative stress (including reduced blood pressure and improved heart health) after four weeks of NAC supplementation. Therefore, an estimate of several weeks to begin noticing benefits from taking NAC seems reasonable. 

What To Expect When You Start Taking NAC

You may or may not notice immediate effects after beginning to take NAC. However, if your body’s glutathione levels are insufficient, you may see more energy, improved sleep, better focus, and other signs of improved detoxification and full-body health.

NAC for Pre-Summer Detoxes

Research-Based Benefits

Numerous studies have shown that NAC can support the body’s detoxification processes. NAC is used to chelate and reduce the side effects of exposure to heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and cadmium, and its efficacy has been demonstrated in both animal and human studies. 

Likewise, doctors may administer NAC intravenously in cases of acetaminophen overdose to minimize resulting kidney and liver damage. In those with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, glutathione (NAC is an essential precursor) may help reduce damage to liver cells. 

Further well-designed studies that include control groups of larger sizes will go a long way toward better understanding of the benefits of NAC for supporting detoxification.

NAC and Natural Detoxification Pathways

NAC may support detoxification by helping the body utilize its natural detoxification pathways more effectively. It is thought to do so by increasing glutathione levels, which are vital to the liver’s conjugation reactions when glutathione is bound to toxins to render them water-soluble and more accessible for the body to excrete.

Complementary Detox Practices to Pair With NAC

While engaging in a pre-summer detox, other practices may enhance the detoxifying effects of NAC when combined with NAC supplementation. 

Consuming a diet that’s high in antioxidants by emphasizing the intake of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish, legumes, olive oil, nuts, and seeds can usually make the antioxidant properties of NAC even more effective. By contrast, unhealthy diets such as the standard American diet may increase oxidative stress, potentially even counteracting the benefits of NAC supplementation. 

Avoiding consumption of and exposure to chemicals and toxins is thought to be yet another effective detox practice to pair with NAC supplementation. It is often recommended to refer to EWG’s Skin Deep database to find non-toxic cosmetic and personal care products and the EWG Verified guide to cleaning products for non-toxic household cleaners. In addition, plastic containers should commonly be avoided for food and drink, and instead, glass or stainless steel should be chosen to prevent plastic’s potential endocrine disruptors and carcinogens.

Reducing stress may be one of the best ways to support the body’s detoxification processes while improving general health and well-being. Chronic, unrelenting stress may increase inflammation and increase the risk of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysregulation. Regular physical activity may also reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, while practices such as meditation may help improve mental health and stress management.

NAC Side Effects

Potential side effects of NAC supplements, which are more likely to occur when taking high doses, can include nausea, transient skin rash, flushing, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, and heartburn. NAC may also lower blood pressure and slow blood clotting, which can be dangerous for certain people. 

NAC Supplementation

Numerous NAC supplements are on the market, so which is the best? 

The most effective NAC supplements contain complementary ingredients that enhance NAC’s benefits through their synergistic effect and compounds that increase NAC’s bioavailability and absorption. Body Kitchen’s Mega NAC + Quercetin checks all these boxes, making it a standout among NAC supplements.

What Sets Apart Body Kitchen’s Mega NAC + Quercetin?

Clinically Effective Doses of All Ingredients

Body Kitchen’s Mega NAC + Quercetin is thought of as the best NAC supplement since it is formulated with clinically effective doses of its key ingredients, including 600 mg of NAC per dose. This increases its capacity to support respiratory function and the natural cleansing processes of the liver and keeps the body’s inflammatory response within a healthy range. 

600 mg of Quercetin

In addition, Mega NAC also contains 600 mg of Quercetin, an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant plant pigment that’s often found in numerous fruits and vegetables. Supplementing with Quercetin may minimize the risk of developing chronic diseases by reducing damage to tissues by free radicals, thereby reducing oxidative stress. 

Because Quercetin is also an anti-inflammatory, it may also help to minimize the risk of experiencing an overactive inflammatory response, which can contribute to illnesses such as chronic autoimmune conditions. Quercetin has also been shown to support cardiovascular health improvements in clinical trials. 

10 mg of BioPerine® Black Pepper Extract

This supplement also contains 10 mg of BioPerine®, a patented black pepper extract containing 95 percent piperine. Studies show that taking BioPerine® with supplements may improve absorption of nutrients by more than 30 percent.

Speak to a Doctor Before Adding a New Supplement

Before you begin taking a supplement containing potent ingredients such as NAC, Quercetin, and BioPerine®, please consult a doctor to ensure that it is the right choice for your unique medical situation. Although the ingredients in Mega NAC + Quercetin are relatively low risk when taken at the correct doses, they do have the potential to interact with certain drugs. For instance, since NAC may slow blood clotting and lower blood pressure, those with low blood pressure, bleeding disorders, or blood thinning medications should most likely avoid taking NAC supplements.