Hi, it’s Dr. Lantelme writing to you today.
One of the topics of conversation that is broached quite often, both in my office as well as in society at large, is the idea that pharmaceutical companies are “holding out on us”. The idea is that pharmaceutical companies know of the relative worth of natural remedies and are trying to keep them out of our hands.
To a large degree, this is true.
Pharmaceutical companies are designed as much for profit as they are for the design of medicine to help people.
There’s a bit of give-and-take at play in the world of pharmaceuticals, and if they can’t take X and make money off of it, well they’re not going to give it to you. Even if it’s a natural remedy.
One of the leading examples of how this works is in the distribution of N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC).
This compound has a long list of authoritative benefits, and yet, pharmaceutical companies have done what they can to include it in their medications for profit.
Let me tell you about NAC and why I believe it should be a part of just about everyone’s supplemental regimen.
Understanding NAC in 60 Seconds
NAC is a very simple compound.
It is the modified version of cysteine, a sulfur-containing amino acid that is found abundantly in your body.
One of the amazing things about NAC is it has the ability to help restore glutathione, which is considered to be the body’s “master antioxidant”. For various reasons, many people’s bodies begin to produce less glutathione as they age, and NAC does a wonderful job of helping to restore levels of glutathione.
This is highly beneficial, as glutathione plays significant roles in helping you detox, deal with stress, prevents memory loss, etc.
NAC started seeing therapeutic use about 30 years ago when it was incorporated into treatment protocols for people who had excessive mucous in their airways.
It’s a mucolytic, meaning it thins mucous and has been used to help treat people with Cystic Fibrosis.
It’s also been used for the treatment of individuals who have overdosed on acetaminophen. These include pain relieving drugs like Tylenol, Vicodin etc. The unique properties associated with NAC in this regard is how NAC works to protect the liver after someone has ingested an unhealthy amount of acetaminophen.
Acetaminophen will adversely affect glutathione levels, causing them to plummet. Once this happens the liver will sustain liver damage. NAC, as you just learned, will help to restore glutathione levels which means it can help avert liver damage.
So far, those are the tested and approved uses of NAC.
The problem here is pharmaceutical companies know this and have taken the liberty of including NAC in many of their proprietary products. All while remaining silent on the workhorse constituent of their drugs.
This, in turn, poses a problem for the general public because they are left ignorant to this powerful compound and what it can do for their health.
The Numerous Benefits of NAC
Life Extension noted a wide-range of powerful and notable benefits associated with NAC.
Some of these will be redundant, but it’s important you see just how powerful NAC really is:
- Long relegated to infrequent use in unusual circumstances, the amino acid-derived compound N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) has drawn increased scientific attention.
- NAC replenishes levels of the intracellular antioxidant glutathione (GSH), which is often deficient with advancing age and in chronic illness.
- NAC also regulates expression of scores of genes in the pathways that link oxidative stress to inflammation.
- These dual effects give NAC a unique role in the prevention and treatment of many common diseases, both acute and chronic.
- NAC can protect against avian influenza and more common seasonal flu symptoms.
- NAC reduces the frequency and duration of attacks of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and may slow the clinical course of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
- NAC protects tissues from the effects of exercise-induced oxidative stress, adding value and safety to your workout.
- NAC improves insulin sensitivity in people with some of the most difficult-to-treat metabolic disorders.
- NAC blocks cancer development at virtually every step in the process, and through multiple mechanisms, making it an important cancer chemopreventive agent.
- NAC fights the stomach infection Helicobacter pylori on two fronts, inhibiting the organism’s growth while reducing production of inflammatory cytokines that can lead to gastritis and cancer.
- Though most individuals gain benefits from 600-1,800 mg/day, clinical studies have found that doses of up to 2,000 mg/day are safe and effective. A recent study demonstrated the safety of 2,800 mg/day for 3 months in patients with COPD.
It’s staggering to see.
And yet, NAC is not more well known.
Perhaps what might be one of the most exciting benefits of NAC, as well as its least publicized, is what it can do to help fight cancer.
Will NAC Emerge to Be Cancer’s Great Enemy?
One of the more certain conclusions we can make about cancer is it is caused through oxidative stress and subsequent inflammation in the body.
We also know one of the best ways for our bodies to fight oxidative stress and inflammation is through therapeutic use of antioxidants, of which Glutathione is one of the most important.
Since NAC can help to improve Glutathione levels, scientists are beginning to conclude it might be one of the best answers we have at stopping cancer cell growth.
:: What we do know about NAC is it induces apoptosis, or programmed cell death, for cancer cells. As cancer cells are the kind that refuse to die, anything we can do to trigger their early death is a step forward in eliminating the risk of potential metastasis. (1)
:: Another study was able to show that (2) not only was NAC helpful at stopping cell growth, it was even able to help halt DNA synthesis altogether. This is remarkable because this doesn’t just kill cancer cells, it disrupts their biological programming altogether.
:: Furthermore, NAC is even able to slow, or even stop, tumor growth as it works to both inactivate and even completely destroy c-Src, which is a “chemical control molecule that is overproduced in many human cancers.” (3)
:: And one more remarkable characteristic about NAC is its ability to help shield non-cancer cells from radiation during radiation treatment. NAC has been shown to help protect non-cancer cells from breaking apart at the nucleic levels as it it works to protect the DNA of non-cancer cells while still allowing the cancer-cells to be eliminated via radiation.
This has many promising results for the the enhanced use of radiation therapy.
NAC protects DNA from breakage induced by ionizing radiation but does not prevent cell destruction by radiation. (4) That’s a vital finding because it means that NAC might allow radiation therapy to effectively kill cancer cells while minimizing the risk of so-called secondary cancers that could otherwise arise as side effects of the radiation.
And, then there are additional studies to show how effective NAC is against various other forms of cancer.
A quick summary shows NAC can:
- Help reduce the chance of forming lung cancer (even after smoking).
- Can keep the liver from developing cancer.
- Works to reduce the number of pre-cancerous cells in the mouths of smokers.
- Has the ability to reduce the occurrence of cancerous polyps in the colon by as much as 40%.
And for all its promise, pharmaceutical companies keep going after new, and more “innovative” cures, even though they’re well aware of how powerful NAC is.
I’m certainly not accusing them of trying to co-opt NAC for themselves, but I do believe the benefits of NAC should be more widely known, especially inside of the offices of most practitioners.
Bottom Line on NAC
My recommendation is to supplement with anywhere from 600mg- 1,800 mg of NAC.
Anything you can do to help boost glutathione is going to be a great benefit to you.
There’s so much more to be said about NAC and its ability that I think it should be in every single person’s supplement line up.
It can help to regulate blood glucose levels which ultimately could help prevent the formation of many other chronic, degenerative diseases I see in my office.
And, with it being one of the more affordable supplements out there, I highly recommend taking it now, instead of later.