NAC May Lower Homocysteine and Blood Pressure Levels
High levels of homocysteine are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. A recent study suggests that a daily supplement of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) may lower levels of the amino acid homocysteine and improve blood pressure levels.
For this study, researchers examined two trials: one that included 40 middle-aged men with elevated blood lipid levels and one that included 42 middle-aged men with normal blood lipid levels. There were smokers and non-smokers included in both studies.
After examining the data, the researchers found that a daily dose of 1.8 grams of NAC was associated with a significant decrease in homocysteine levels by an average of 11.7%. In comparison, the placebo groups had an average reduction of 4.1%. Cysteine levels in both supplement groups increased by an average 28.1%, whereas the placebo groups showed increases of only 4%. No significant differences were noted between the men with elevated blood lipid levels and those with normal blood lipid levels, nor were differences seen between smokers and nonsmokers.
Additionally, the researchers noted significantly decreased blood pressure in all of the men. However, only the men with elevated blood lipid levels had significant decreases in diastolic blood pressure.
Researchers from the University of Marburg in Germany conducted the study. It was published on October 7, 2015, in the American Society for Nutrition.
NAC is an altered form of the amino acid cysteine and like other sulfur-containing nutrients, NAC is a powerful antioxidant. The body converts NAC to cysteine. While NAC is not naturally found in foods, cysteine can be found in high protein foods such as a range of meats. It can also be found in dairy products. However, if you’re looking for a high dose of NAC, it’s recommended that you take a high quality supplement.