Thursday, April 12, 2012

What's That Pill? - N-Acetyl Cysteine

Name
N-acetyl cysteine, NAC

Typical Dosage
250mg - 1800mg

Usage
NAC is a form of the amino acid l-cysteine. Homo-cysteine is an amino acid in the blood. An elevated level means that your metabolic processes are not working properly. Elevated homo-cysteine is associated with coronary artery disease, heart attack, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, cognitive impairment, and cervical cancer. Metformin has been shown to increase homo-cysteine levels, and, in general, women with PCOS have higher homo-cysteine levels. A medical study showed that people taking NAC for two months had a significant decrease in homocysteine levels. (Ovarian-cysts-pcos.com)
A study in Turkey comparing the usage of 1500mg of metformin daily to 1600 mg of NAC daily showed significant results - both treatments show decrease in BMI, fasting insulin, free testosterone and menstrual irregularity, and hirsutism, as well as lower cholesterol levels. (Published study by G. Oner) The beauty of NAC is the lack of side effects as compared to Metformin. However, if you are also taking clomid to achieve pregnancy, another study completed in Egypt compared Metformin and clomid against NAC and clomid. The Metformin/clomid combination saw a higher success rate of pregnancy. (Published study by H. Abu Hashim)
It's also been studied in Australia as a way to treat depressive symptoms in bipolar disorder. There are some links between PCOS and bipolar disorder, so this could be useful to you as well! (Published study by M. Berk) For more discussion about it's use with bipolar disorder, visit here
***NOTE - I do keep seeing this mentioned in my research - "It is recommended that persons taking the amino acid cysteine take at least three times as much vitamin C as cysteine to prevent the possibility of oxidized cysteine forming kidney stones. N-Acetyl-Cysteine is much more stable and resistant to being oxidized to an insoluble form. Nevertheless, it is wise to take at least as much vitamin C as N-Acetyl-Cysteine." (FutureScience.com) I have not found any studies to back that up, but Vit C is good for you anyway and who wants to risk kidney stones?

My experience
I've been on NAC for a couple of months now. I've had regular cycles every month while on it. My facial hair seems to be growing slower, and although I haven't been losing much weight, I'm not gaining any. I believe if I was eating a little better and exercising, I'd see more results from it, but so far I am very happy! I'm not taking the full dosage as recommended in the study, and still seeing results. I currently take Swanson's brand NAC, 600mg a day.

Other's experiences
Do you want to share your NAC story, good or bad? Please email me! courtneylwallace(at)gmail(dot)com with the subject 'NAC Experience'

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