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Frequently Asked Questions N Acetylcysteine and Depression

Frequently Asked Questions N Acetylcysteine and Depression

This ingredient is contained in CysNAC, TheaNAQ, Daxitrol, and Balance D. 

N-acetylcysteine is currently viewed as a potential new tool for the treatment of bipolar depression. A well designed placebo-controlled trial has been conducted to test the efficacy of NAC.


What is N-Acetylcysteine?

N-acetylcysteine is the metabolite of the amino acid cysteine, which is a sulfur-containing amino acid. Though cysteine is commonly found in foods rich in protein, N-acetylcysteine is not. It is actually produced in the body. Recent researches have shown that N-acetylcysteine is an effective and easy way to deliver cysteine to the brain cells.


Who can benefit?

The study suggests that NAC can be used to treat bipolar depression, trichotillomania (compulsive pulling of hair), cocaine craving and cigarette smoking.  

 Preliminary evidences also show that NAC can help treat compulsive nail biting and reversing the brain changes induced by cocaine. However, clinical studies against placebo or in humans have not yet been done.

 Other beneficial health claims also include lowering the rates of viral infection, lowers the risk of having heart problems by decreasing the amount of homocysteine in the body, treat fluid in the ear, improve insulin sensitivity, prevent formation of kidney stones and decrease infections in lung diseases.

How is NAC used to treat bipolar depression?

The Australian research team who study bipolar depression used 1g of N-acetycysteine twice daily. This is as an additional medication to whatever drug the patients were taking. It is therefore and “add-on” study and not a test to N-acetylcysteine itself.  

How safe it is to use NAC?

According to the review                of safety issues that were published on 2009, oral acetylcysteine seems pretty safe when used in the doses recommended for treating compulsive and mood behaviors.

 However, nothing is 100% safe. There have been reports of rare allergic reactions with the oral acetylcysteine, but no deaths. Also, NAC may affect the coagulation of blood. It is therefore critical that before taking the said drug, one should consult with the health experts. 

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