N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC) is an antioxidant and the precursor to Glutathione.
Glutathione is not an essential nutrient (meaning it does not have to be obtained via food), since it can be synthesized in the body from the amino acids L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid, and glycine. Cysteine is a factor in cellular glutathione synthesis, since this amino acid is relatively rare in foodstuffs.
Glutathione (GSH) is the major free radical scavenger in the brain.
Diminished Glutathione levels elevate cellular vulnerability towards Oxidative Stress; characterized by accumulating Reactive Oxygen Species. During times of environmental stress (UV or heat exposure), Reactive Oxygen Species levels can increase dramatically. This may result in significant damage to cell structures, known as Oxidative Stress. Oxidative Stress reflects an imbalance between the manifestation of Reactive Oxygen Species and the body’s ability to readily detoxify or repair the resulting damage. Use of N-acetylcysteine can help replenish Glutathione.
Oxidative stress is thought to be involved in the development of many diseases or may exacerbate their symptoms. Such as:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Bipolar Disorder
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
Accruing data suggest that Oxidative Stress may be a factor underlying Bipolar Disorder, Major Depressive disorder, and Schizophrenia.
The free-radical theory suggests that the use of compounds which inactivate ROS – Antioxidants – would lead to a reduction of Oxidative Stress and thereby produce an increase in lifespan.
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