What is NAC and what is Glutathione?
NAC stands for N-Acetylcysteine a synthetic antioxidant drug that is traditionally prescribed for paracetamol overdose. There has been much interest in NAC in recent years as some studies have demonstrated positive effects of using NAC in the management of respiratory infections like Covid19. In these cases NAC is acting as a precursor to cellular cysteine, which is itself converted into a powerful antioxidant molecule called glutathione (GSH). It is actually glutathione that we need to fight infections and improve recovery times not NAC.
There is now substantial research showing that glutathione levels in the body at the point of infection can be linked not only to the severity of the infection but also the expected recovery period and impact of the disease. Further to this glutathione has been shown to be integral to producing a healthy immune response and reducing the risk for severe disease and complications like long-covid. So to answer your question of do I need NAC, we say no you actually need glutathione. NAC is a synthetic drug, glutathione is our body’s natural defence.
So what is Glutathione?
Glutathione is a master antioxidant produced by your own body, designed to remove free radicals and combat oxidative stress caused by illness, stress, environmental toxins, and poor diet, to bring the body back to balance. Glutathione has the ability to recycle or work with 22 enzyme systems in the body. These systems are designed as part of our evolution to naturally protect us from inflammation, infection, and disease. Without glutathione our body may struggle to handle infections and leave us susceptible to post-viral fatigue.
How do we make glutathione?
It is made from a variety of key building blocks, of which one important is cysteine (that can be derived from NAC or other cysteine precursors). Others include glutamine, lipoic acid, Selenium, vitamin C, B12, riboflavin. See the complex map of how glutathione is made below:
So can I just take NAC to build glutathione?
The short answer is no, you may actually need a combination of supplements to really build glutathione to cover all these pathways. NAC is one way to build glutathione but not the best way as there are many pathways involved in making it. The biggest drawback to using only NAC is that it is limited as to how much full cysteine can actually make it into the cells. However, NAC has limited uptake of cysteine into the cells. NAC is also synthetic so the body sometimes struggles to process it into a bioavailable form that can be incorporated into glutathione.
What is the best way to build glutathione and protect from viral infections and post-viral fatigue?
We have created a 6 in 1 glutathione booster supplement called - GPx Immune Protect builds glutathione in 6 different ways. It has 4x higher cell uptake of cysteine vs NAC alone, whilst building levels of 22 other enzymes in the body that all work with and support glutathione. This all-in-one supplement provides up to 1000mg of cysteine daily, with extra herbs and nutrients for support. Using vitamin C, lipoic acid and glutamine allow us to build and recycle glutathione, increasing the overall production of glutathione and its activity in the body. It has added Milk thistle to detoxify and support liver function; optimally assisting the production of glutathione which occurs in the liver. Plus it also contains quercetin - a powerful antioxidant that supports immune function and increases zinc uptake in the cells. The best news is this product is sourced from organic, natural ingredients from the highest quality sources (outside of China – US and Europe only). Key ingredients are made from fermentation so no more synthetic NAC is needed. It is the only immune support your body will need.
GPx Immune Protect is an all-in-one immune support supplement, manufactured with the purpose to support you against viruses, pathogens, diseases, infection, stress, and chronic inflammation.
Why are more and more people glutathione deplete than ever before?
Stress - Prolonged and excessive stress will over time deplete all antioxidants in the body. If stress continues and the body is not fed the right components, then the oxidation will eventually take over and create illness (antioxidant depletion).
Selenium deficiency - Selenium is a necessary component of glutathione production. New Zealand has the largest soil deficiency of selenium in the world! This leaves us vulnerable to weakened immunity, thyroid issues, increased oxidative stress, and cancer risk.
Covid-19 Infection - Covid can cause a year’s worth of vascular damage & inflammation within 2 weeks of infection. Adequate levels of glutathione, the key antioxidant guardian in all tissues, could be critical in extinguishing the exacerbated inflammation triggered by Covid-19. Long-term and severe manifestations of Covid-19 infection in people with marked glutathione deficiency show that the degree of glutathione decrease correlates negatively with viral replication rate and increased viral load. This suggests that the virus cannot actively replicate at higher levels of cellular glutathione, and therefore, milder symptoms are observed.
Exercise - Glutathione can be depleted by over-exercising, (up to 80% in just half an hour of extreme exercise!). Men are especially vulnerable due to glutathione’s relationship with testosterone. So even young people, including the health-conscious gym junkies, may be at risk for glutathione deficiency!
Chronic disease - Those with chronic diseases such as chronic fatigue, autoimmunity, diabetes, insulin resistance, high cholesterol, hypertension, PCOS, obesity, and those who smoke, have an increased risk of glutathione deficiency. Chronic disease increases oxidative stress in the body and means there may not be enough enzymes to recycle antioxidants, increasing risks of endothelial damage & severe outcomes of viruses.