NAC: The Fertility Game Changer
Have you ever started taking a supplement knowing that it is beneficial but once you dig a little more you wonder why on earth everyone doesn't take it?
Everyone doesn't need to take every amazing supplement on the market.
As with any supplement they can be very useful but don't need to be taken indefinitely.
NAC: N-Acetylcystine is an antioxidant and a precoursor to L-Cysteine which will trigger an increase in glutathione in the body when stores are adequate. Glutathione is the master antioxidant in the body that helps prevent oxidative stress from nasty free radicals. Free radicals come in many forms from transfats, emotional stress, exposure to pollution, chemicals in the environment, as well as excessive fat carried in the body.
Needless to say we need our antioxidant system working, it is how we fight of infections, and decrease inflammation in the body. Inflammation can be a contributing factor in many ailments from fertility to seasonal allergies.
NAC is something I have used for the last decade in my career as an RN. We give it when someone overdoses on tylenol, or is having severe lung impairment from COPD, an obstructive lung disease.
As a mom I have used it for myself and my kids when our allergies flare up. My 5 year old has some major allergy issues and we often give her pretty high doses to get her snot under control. It works like a dream.
So, what's the big deal? Why all the excitement?
To be honest I did some research due to a convo I had with a new physician who asked me what NAC was and why we use it and much to my excitement I learned something!
Not only is NAC a wonder supplement for the entire respiratory system it is also an amazing supplement to add when wanting to support fertility. Whether your doing fertility treatments or if your already pregnant and your immune system is under attack from a cold, or the flu it is safe to use and can help prevent
Here is how it can be a game changer for fertility:
In a women with PCOS the first line of treatment is often to use a medication called Clomid to increase chance of pregnancy. Here is the tricky thing about Clomid up to 40% of the women who use it can be resistant to the medication, it can also create a hostile cervical mucous environment. Wait, what?! Isn't that exactly the opposite of what we want when we are trying to create when we want to get pregnant. Here is how NAC can help increase chances of pregnancy in women, it has a two fold effect. In the case of PCOS many of these patients are also insulin resistant and NAC has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and decrease insulin levels in the body. It has also been shown to remove the negative affects that clomid has on cervical mucous improving the environment to promote conception.
This is just one piece of the infertility puzzle but in the case of women with PCOS it could be a game changer. Also NAC is fairly cheap and easy to come by. Sadly it is not readily available in foods, that being said there are some Cysteine rich foods, and here is a list of them to get you started in boosting your free radical fighting system.
Cysteine Rich Foods:
Animal based: Eggs, Meat, and Dairy. Focus on pasture raised, grass fed and organic options.
Plant based: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, sprouted lentils, oats, granola, onions, garlic and Sunflower seeds.
(1) Mokhtari, V., Afsharian, P., Shahhoseini, M., Kalantar, S. M., & Moini, A. (2017). A Review on Various Uses of N-Acetyl Cysteine . Cell Journal (Yakhteh), 19(1), 11–17.