Commonly known as NAC, N-acetyl cysteine is an amino acid that is made in the body from cysteine. Cysteine is found in most meats and in some plant sources including broccoli, red pepper and onion. Bananas, garlic, soy beans, linseed and wheat germ also contain cysteine. NAC can be used to treat, and even help prevent common diseases and ailments. It has been shown to help protect against seasonal flu symptoms, and in 2010, was shown to protect against bird flu. Additionally, NAC has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, block cancer through various methods and reduce the frequency and duration of attacks in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). NAC also offers protection against exercise-induced oxidative stress in tissue, which probably explains why NAC is often found in nutritional and body building supplements. Another potential benefit of NAC includes replenishment of glutathione, an intracellular antioxidant that has been known to decrease with age and chronic illness. Whether you increase foods high in cysteine or you take NAC as a supplement, it is important that you first consult Dr. Bossio.
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