Supplement of the Month: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) 

In the next instalment of our ‘Supplement of the Month’ series we discuss N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC). To catch up on the series, please click here.

Please note: this is obviously not individual prescription, but rather general information to get you considering what else may improve your current situation. The fact is that if you’re buying supplements, we’d much rather you make an informed decision than spend your money unnecessarily, or make an incorrect choice simply because certain companies spend millions of dollars on their campaigns, to convince you that your favourite athlete or celebrity actually uses their product.

N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)

NAC comes from the amino acid L-cysteine and is a powerful antioxidant. It is a precursor of glutathione, one of the most important antioxidant enzymes in the body. NAC is thought to be superior to glutathione supplements as it is in a more bioavailable form and does not break down during digestion.

Traditionally used to treat paracetamol overdoses, research now suggests that NAC has a direct effect to chelate heavy metals and has been shown to independently scavenge oxidative free radicals. Its’ anti-inflammatory properties and protective effect on neurons means that it can be an effective treatment with regards to the management of stress, detoxification and mental health.

Research is demonstrating that NAC targets biological pathways that are common across many mental disorders. It does this in a number of ways:

  • by assisting your body to soak up excess glutamate, a neurotransmitter that is prone to over stimulation and linked to mental health issues.
  • targets both oxidative stress and mitochondrial function.
  • reduces inflammation which is proven to be a cause for many disorders experienced today from autoimmune to mental health.

Sources of NAC:

NAC cannot be found in food sources and is available through supplements only.

TNN recommends Metagenics. In an ideal world you would work with your practitioner and develop your protocol around specific requirements. When you become a client of TNN you will have access to this.


Dosage can vary and range from 500mg – 1000mg of NAC taken twice daily. Please speak to your health professional about your individual needs.


NAC should be used with caution in those with existing gastrointestinal issues.

More information:

Please listen to Episode 110 of The Real Food Reel: Techniques to change your brain, improve peak performance and move from mental illness to mental wellness with Jad Patrick here.


Metagenics Technical Information – Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia & Pain Syndromes: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) p. 148-158.

National Centre for Biotechnology Information:

Image credit here.


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