Should I take NAC or Glutathione?

Should I take NAC or Glutathione?

When you think of antioxidants, you may think of Vitamin C or polyphenols from coffee, tea or blueberries. Antioxidants are critical in human biology, helping offset the damaging effects of free radicals, which, in excess, can cause damage to our cellular health.
 
When looking into antioxidants, you'll likely find a lot of discussion about NAC (N-acetylcysteine), and Glutathione. Both of these substances are powerful antioxidants that fight oxidative stress.
 
But what exactly is the difference between NAC and Glutathione? Some people use the them almost interchangeably, but they are not the same substance.

What is NAC?

NAC is derived from a sulfur-containing amino acid, L-cysteine, which is a critical building block of the endogenous glutathione made within your body. Glutathione is made up of three amino acids: cysteine, glycine, and glutamic acid.
 
Because NAC contains sulfur, it is the rarest of these three amino acids in your body. Simply put, if you want to increase your natural glutathione production, increase cysteine. Hence, people take NAC to increase their glutathione levels.

How does Glutathione work?

Glutathione is one of the most critical substances in our bodies. It's present in almost every cell, and has a very important function: to clean house! Glutathione works as a sponge to aggressively attract free radicals that would otherwise harm your cells and potentially cause negative reactions.
 
Glutathione is naturally made in your liver, if the requisite amino acids are present. However, it can be quickly depleted due to toxin exposure from food, alcohol, or environmental toxins that are absorbed through your skin.
 
Many things can affect your liver's glutathione production. By age 40, your body makes 30% less glutathione, and at age 60, it's about 50% less. Plus, these reductions are found in healthy people! Conditions like nonalcoholic fatty liver disease can reduce your liver's ability to make glutathione, even when the requisite amino acids are present.

Should I take NAC or Glutathione?

The short answer is: probably both! If your liver is producing glutathione at a healthy rate, then NAC is a great option for increasing your endogenous glutathione production.
 
However, if you need an extra boost due to toxin exposure, or have a compromised ability to make your own Glutathione, taking an exogenous (external) supplement like Liposomal Glutathione can be a game changer.
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