Why You Need to Eat Foods Rich In N Acetyl Cysteine or NAC

November 12, 2012

Why You Need to Eat Foods Rich In N Acetyl Cysteine or NAC

Medical researchers are finding new nutrients that help keep us healthy and ward off disease. One of these little known nutrients is n acetyl cysteine or NAC. Fortunately, NAC is available in many natural foods that also contain many other vitamins and nutrients that you need anyway. NAC is made from an amino acid called cysteine. Unfortunately, our bodies have great difficulty digesting cysteine but can easily digest n acetyl cysteine.

Just what is n acetyl cysteine? Scientists aren’t sure, but they do now how it helps the body. N acetyl cysteine helps the cells repair themselves. This helps to boost your body’s natural immune system. NAC may also help your body recycle antioxidants which can help it fight the free radicals which can cause cancer. Some scientists think that NAC should be classified as an antioxidant because of these properties.

Medical Uses of N Acetyl Cysteine

NAC can help people recover from some toxic chemicals. NAC is used to help detoxify people who have overdosed on carbon monoxide or the popular over the counter painkiller acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol.) Some people take NAC supplements to avoid liver damage from excessive drinking or to cure hangovers, but no clinical studies back up these claims.

NAC is also used in combination with other drugs to help the body not make so much mucus. Patients with cystic fibrosis, emphysema or chronic bronchitis may be prescribed NAC. People who have undergone a tracheotomy, where a small tube is inserted into the windpipe to aid breathing, are prone to having mucus clog up the crucial tube. NAC has been proven to help reduce the chances of this happening in tracheotomy patients.

NAC is given to some patients with ailments ranging from the flu to Lou Gehrig’s disease. Unfortunately, it is unknown whether NAC is an effective treatment for these ailments, although anecdotal evidence suggests that it can help some people.

Foods That Contain NAC

Your body needs at least 250 micrograms of NAC every day. Try not to go over more than 1500 micrograms per day or you risk kidney damage. Although NAC supplements are available, the best way to get NAC is from food. If you think you need NAC supplements, please talk to your doctor before taking them to avoid any side effects or bad drug interactions. NAC supplements should never be taken with activated charcoal. Most people can get all of the NAC you need from these foods:

  • Whole grains, including whole grain oats
  • Wheat germ
  • Legumes, including peanuts
  • Beans
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products (get the low-fat kind to avoid raising your cholesterol levels)
  • Whey protein
  • Poultry (preferably skinless white meat)
  • Lean pork
  • Seafood
  • Soybeans and tofu
  • Vegetables of the cabbage family, including kale, broccoli, Brussells sprouts and cauliflower
  • Foods in the onion family like garlic, scallions and onions

Foods with NAC also contain sulfur, such as the foods listed above. If you forget what foods they are and cannot remember how to spell n acetyl cysteine, do a computer search for sulfur-rich foods instead.

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