NAC Supplements for AnxiousnessAug 18, 2020
by Henry Emmons, MD
[adapted from The Chemistry of Calm]
p.s., You've read Part 1 of this series and the introductory article about balancing GABA and glutamate, right? If not, head to those articles first.
NAC Benefits | NAC and Anxiety
NAC is short for n-acetylcysteine. You may have never heard of it before, but it has been used for years in emergency rooms for patients who are at risk for liver damage from something they have ingested (e.g., too much acetominophen). It protects the liver for the same reason it protects the brain: it works as a powerful antioxidant, boosting levels of the body’s own primary antioxidant—glutathione.
As researchers have realized the connection between glutamate/GABA balance and anxiety conditions, they have begun experimenting with NAC. Recently it has been used with one of the most complex anxiety illnesses—the spectrum of compulsive disorders (including OCD). Remarkably, researchers found that this simple and inexpensive nutritional supplement works for such hard-to-treat problems as pathological gambling13 and compulsive hair-pulling (trichotillomania).14
NAC Dosage & Use*
NAC typically comes in a dose of 600 mg, and may be taken once or twice daily.
NAC Side Effects*
Some of my patients have had mild headaches or stomach upset, but it is generally well tolerated, especially when taken with food.
- NAC from Xymogen contains 600 mg per capsule. Note that this is a professional formula, so you'll need to use the code "nmhclub" to purchase the product.
*Note: Some of the supplements discussed in this series can cause side effects, but many people tolerate them much better than prescription medications. They are generally considered safe, however, they should not be started without your doctor’s knowledge and supervision. If you are taking medication already, be sure to talk with your doctor before adding any of these items. If you are considering going off medication, remember never to stop your medication suddenly—always consult with your doctor about how to safely taper off any psychiatric medication.
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Rhodiola for Joy and Calm
Rhodiola is one of a class of herbs known as “adaptogens”. These are tonic herbs that aren’t considered to be medicinal—that is they aren’t used to relieve a specific symptom. Adaptogens can have a broader positive impact on health, supporting one or more of the body’s important systems like the immune system or metabolism. In the case of rhodiola, it is primarily supporting the stress system—i.e., the adrenals and the autonomic nervous system. Read more.
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