Posts tagged: immune system

Health Benefits Of N-Acetyl-Cysteine

Health Benefits Of N-Acetyl-Cysteine
Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com

Have you heard of N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC)? What about glutathione? It turns out that these little-known chemicals play a vital part in our overall health. The amazing benefits of N-acetyl-cysteine range from brain health, fertility, respiratory health, to improved immune function. Considering its wide-reaching medical applicability, NAC is worthy of consideration. So, what is N-acetyl-cysteine, and what are its research-backed health benefits?

NAC is an important precursor to the biosynthesis of glutathione (aka the “master antioxidant”). As a nutritional supplement, NAC eradicates free radicals and helps with oxidative stress mainly by boosting glutathione levels. The antioxidant also plays a vital role in the detoxification of harmful substances such as heavy metals. In particular, some of the amazing health benefits of NAC include:

1. Detoxification to Prevent Liver and Kidney Damage: Did you know that N-acetyl-cysteine has been administered by medical practitioners to reverse acetaminophen poisoning [1] and prevent liver/kidney damage for decades? Acetaminophen, which is found in some common painkillers, is one of the leading causes of liver damage. According to a study [2] in the Alternative medical Review, NAC significantly mitigates the side effects of environmental toxins and drugs due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.

2. Help with Psychiatric Disorders: Some studies [3] show that NAC has a wide array of mental health benefits, including regulating the levels on the most important neurotransmitter, glutamate. This role may help manage the symptoms of mental health conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder [4], schizophrenia [5], addictive behaviors [6], and bipolar disorder [3].

3. Improve Respiratory Health: NAC has been shown to relieve the symptoms of respiratory conditions such as bronchitis [7] and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. [8] Generally, the nutritional supplement improves respiratory health thanks to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and expectorant properties.

4. May Improve Reproductive Health: Nearly 2 in every 10 couples trying to conceive are plagued by infertility. Luckily, research shows that NAC may help by improving semen quality [9], augmenting the ovulation cycle in women with PCOS [10], and mitigating the effects of varicocele. [11]

5. Boost Immune Function: Adding to the already long list of potential health benefits, NAC and glutathione have been shown to improve immune function in subjects diagnosed with the flu [12] and cancer [13] – the supplement hinders the replication of the virus and cancer cells, respectively. However, the ability of NAC to boost glutathione levels and improve immune function has mostly been studied and documented in HIV patients. Preliminary results [14] show that these potent natural antioxidants reduce the lifespans and symptoms of HIV by hampering its ability to replicate and restoring the immune system.

It’s clear that N-acetyl-cysteine plays several beneficial roles in our health. Most of its benefits are associated with the supplement’s ability to replenish glutathione levels and regulate glutamate. Although NAC appears to have widespread medical applicability, it’s surprisingly unknown to most of the public. Inquire more about the benefits of NAC for your personalized needs.

References:

[1] Ershad, M., & Vearrier, D. (2019). N Acetylcysteine. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537183/

[2] Quig, D. (1998). Cysteine metabolism and metal toxicity. Alternative Medicine Review, 3, 262-270. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9727078/

[3] Dean, O., Giorlando, F., & Berk, M. (2011). N-acetylcysteine in psychiatry: current therapeutic evidence and potential mechanisms of action. Journal of psychiatry & neuroscience: JPN, 36(2), 78. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3044191/

[4] Fernandes, B. S., Dean, O. M., Dodd, S., Malhi, G. S., & Berk, M. (2016). N-Acetylcysteine in depressive symptoms and functionality: a systematic review and meta-analysis. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27137430/

[5] Pósfai, B., Cserép, C., Hegedüs, P., Szabadits, E., Otte, D. M., Zimmer, A., … & Nyiri, G. (2016). Synaptic and cellular changes induced by the schizophrenia susceptibility gene G72 are rescued by N-acetylcysteine treatment. Translational psychiatry, 6(5), e807. https://www.nature.com/articles/tp201674

[6] Grant, J. E., Odlaug, B. L., & Kim, S. W. (2009). N-acetylcysteine, a glutamate modulator, in the treatment of trichotillomania: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Archives of general psychiatry, 66(7), 756-763. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19581567/

[7] Grandjean, E. M., Berthet, P., Ruffmann, R., & Leuenberger, P. (2000). Efficacy of oral long-term N-acetylcysteine in chronic bronchopulmonary disease: a meta-analysis of published double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials. Clinical therapeutics, 22(2), 209-221. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10743980/

[8] Sanguinetti, C. M. (2015). N-acetylcysteine in COPD: why, how, and when?. Multidisciplinary respiratory medicine, 11(1), 8. https://mrmjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40248-016-0039-2

[9] Safarinejad, M. R., & Safarinejad, S. (2009). Efficacy of selenium and/or N-acetyl-cysteine for improving semen parameters in infertile men: a double-blind, placebo controlled, randomized study. The Journal of urology, 181(2), 741-751. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19091331/

[10] Badawy, A., State, O., & Abdelgawad, S. (2007). N-Acetyl cysteine and clomiphene citrate for induction of ovulation in polycystic ovary syndrome: a cross-over trial. Acta obstetricia et gynecologica Scandinavica, 86(2), 218-222. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17364286/

[11] Barekat, F., Tavalaee, M., Deemeh, M. R., Bahreinian, M., Azadi, L., Abbasi, H., … & Nasr-Esfahani, M. H. (2016). A preliminary study: N-acetyl-L-cysteine improves semen quality following varicocelectomy. International journal of fertility & sterility, 10(1), 120. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27123209/

[12] Geiler, J., Michaelis, M., Naczk, P., Leutz, A., Langer, K., Doerr, H. W., & Cinatl Jr, J. (2010). N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) inhibits virus replication and expression of pro-inflammatory molecules in A549 cells infected with highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza A virus. Biochemical pharmacology, 79(3), 413-420. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19732754/

[13] Guan, D., Xu, Y., Yang, M., Wang, H., Wang, X., & Shen, Z. (2010). N‐acetyl cysteine and penicillamine induce apoptosis via the ER stress response‐signaling pathway. Molecular Carcinogenesis: Published in cooperation with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 49(1), 68-74. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19722195/

[14] Monroy, N., Herrero, L., Carrasco, L., & González, M. E. (2016). Influence of glutathione availability on cell damage induced by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 viral protein R. Virus research, 213, 116-123. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26597719/

Study Finds That Fasting For 72 Hours Can Regenerate The Entire Immune System

Study Finds That Fasting For 72 Hours Can Regenerate The Entire Immune System
Image © shutterstock.com (under license)

Most people talk about lifespan as the term of your natural life, however an interesting new term has begun to come to prominence: Healthsoan. Healthspan refers to the healthy portion of your life and many are seeking not just to prolong their life but their healthy life. Strategies adopted include living a naturally-healthy and holistic lifestyle designed to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. According to recent findings [1] by researchers led by Professor Valter Longo from USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, fasting for 72 hours could help regenerate the immune system.

Fasting is currently a hot topic in wellness circles due to its wide range of health, wellness, and therapeutic benefits. However, there are a wide variety of fasting methods such as water fasting, intermittent fasting, and the trending “fast mimicking.” The fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) was developed by Longo and his colleagues, driven by the challenges faced by people following ‘normal’ fasting methods.

FMD is based on years of research and clinical trials and unlike traditional fasting techniques, the 5-day diet plan typically involves eating some foods – notably whole-food derived meals that are high in healthy fats and low in carbs. The low-calorie content of the meals depletes glycogen stores and forces your body to undergo gluconeogenesis by generating energy from noncarbohydrate sources. The calorie restriction due to FMD causes your body to mimic key physiological responses to conventional fasting – such as fat loss, decreased inflammation and cell regeneration.

In their study [2], the researchers asked a group of participants to fast regularly for 48-96 hours over a period of 6 months. Based on the remarks of Prof Valter Longo [3], the researchers were actually surprised by the effectiveness of FMD and prolonged fasting. They did not know before the study that extended periods of intermittent fasting would promote such stem cell-based regenerative effects.

References:

[1] Wei, M., Brandhorst, S., Shelehchi, M., Mirzaei, H., Cheng, C. W., Budniak, J., … & Cohen, P. (2017). Fasting-mimicking diet and markers/risk factors for aging, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Science translational medicine, 9(377), eaai8700. (full text: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6816332/ )

[2] Fasting triggers stem cell regeneration of damaged, old immune system. (2019). Retrieved 25 October 2019, from https://news.usc.edu/63669/fasting-triggers-stem-cell-regeneration-of-damaged-old-immune-system/

[3] Why Valter Longo is One of the 50 Most Influential People in Health Care. (2019). Retrieved 25 October 2019, from http://time.com/collection/health-care-50/5425015/valter-longo/

80% Of Your Immune System Is Located In Your Digestive Tract

80% Of Your Immune System Is Located In Your Digestive Tract
Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com

The immune system houses two interconnected systems that work together to provide you with a complete shield from foreign pathogens. [1]

These two systems are:

• The innate (non-specific) immunity
• The acquired (specific) immunity

Interestingly, the vast majority of immune cells and antibodies are located in your gut, as they need to ensure the balance of your gut microbiome.

How nutrition can help your immune system: Researchers repeatedly identified the crucial role of nutrition and gut microbiome in sharpening the efficiency of your immune system. For instance, one study conducted by Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine identified several foods with immune-modulating properties, including broccoli, garlic, and ginger. [2][3][4] It has been concluded that eating the right food can significantly improve the function of your immune system, which reduces the risk of infections and serious diseases.

Another large study published by Cambridge University analyzed the effects of several vitamins on the immune system to see their possible impact on cellular and humoral responses. [5] One of the studied molecules was vitamin D. They found that vitamin D maintains the signaling pathways between regulatory and effector immune cells – giving a possible mechanism for vitamin D’s role in immune support.

These studies only emphasize the role of nutrition on your immune system and how you can use nutrition to your favor.

LEARN MORE – How Modern Life Is Destroying Your Gut Microbes – And 10 Things You Can Do About It: https://herbshealthhappiness.com/how-modern-life-is-destroying-your-gut-microbes-and-10-things-you-can-do-about-it/

References:

[1] Chaplin, D. D. (2010). Overview of the immune response. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 125(2), S3-S23. https://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(09)02837-1/fulltext

[2] Kaminogawa, S., & Nanno, M. (2004). Modulation of immune functions by foods. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. https://europepmc.org/article/MED/15841257

[3] Garlic. NCCIH. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/garlic

[4] Al-Noory, A. S., Amreen, A. N., & Hymoor, S. (2013). Antihyperlipidemic effects of ginger extracts in alloxan-induced diabetes and propylthiouracil-induced hypothyroidism in (rats). Pharmacognosy research, 5(3), 157. https://www.phcogres.com/article.asp?issn=0974-8490;year=2013;volume=5;issue=3;spage=157;epage=161;aulast=Al-Noory

[5] https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/selected-vitamins…/