n-acetyl cysteine

Mother Nature’s Allergy Relief!

People sometimes seem surprised to learn that botanical and nutritional products can be very effective for allergy relief, when in truth many compounds (one source claims fully one half!) used in the pharmaceutical industry are based off the activity of naturally occurring molecules. The structures of compounds found in nature are altered so that they are easily and consistently produced in a lab, and are patentable. In regards to allergy conditions, we use medications which inhibit histamine, either by opposing it’s activity (e.g. Benadryl), or keeping mast cells from releasing it (e.g. Nasalcrom). Several natural compounds found in plants are known to do these very same things – quercetin, hesperidin, and rutin are all bioflavonoids known to stabilize mast cells and keep them from releasing inflammatory compounds (the ones responsible for the symptoms of an allergy). Natural ingredients used for allergies don’t block receptors like the classic anti-histamine medications, as that action creates side effects such as drowsiness and dry mouth. Instead, other ingredients work by normalizing our immune response in nasal passages and in the blood stream through actions such as enhancing T-cell and B-cell function, breaking down the histamine and other compounds more efficiently so they are less problematic, making mucus less viscous, and strengthening the lining of nasal passages.

We have two products which have both garnered terrific feedback in their ability to stop allergy symptoms.  Both are taken somewhat intensely (three times daily) for the first few days, but then are tapered down, often to only one capsule daily for maintenance during the inflammatory season.  Please feel free to stop by for more information or a sample to help make your spring more comfortable!

Winter Wellness – NAC

NAC is a supplement you may not hear about all too often but it has potent activity, as shown by many studies which demonstrate its protective effect. NAC is an acronym for N-acetylcysteine – a form of one of our amino acids (which are the building blocks of proteins). Linked together with two other amino acids, glutamine and glycine, it forms something called glutathione. It is actually the glutathione which is thought to be responsible for improving several different parameters of immune function.

Although it is the glutathione which does the work, supplementing with glutathione directly is not as beneficial since it is not absorbed very well from the intestinal tract. Since glutamine and glycine are usually plentiful in the diet, boosting cysteine levels with NAC will increase glutathione and create the beneficial effects. Supplementing with a dosage of 600 mg once daily can be a safe and effective addition to efforts to optimize immune system strength.

NAC also has mucolytic activity and thins mucus by breaking bonds. It has been used in conditions such as emphysema, bronchitis, tuberculosis, and COPD.

As an antioxidant, NAC, helps to support respiratory and detoxification systems to help us fight off infections. This becomes a harder job for our bodies in the winter, as we are more impacted by exposure to inside pollutants during the winter months, when many of us don’t have as much access to fresh air throughout the day.

References
Respiration. 2000;67(5):552-8. Inhibitory effect of N-acetylcysteine on adherence of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae to human oropharyngeal epithelial cells in vitro. Riise GC, Qvarfordt I, Larsson S, Eliasson V, Andersson BA.

Free Radic Biol Med. 2008 Nov 1;45(9):1252-62. Epub 2008 Jul 27. The glutathione precursor N-acetylcysteine improves immune function in postmenopausal women. Arranz L, Fernández C, Rodríguez A, Ribera JM, De la Fuente M.