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8 Best NAC Supplements (2022) Reviewed and Compared

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N-acetyl cysteine, known as NAC, is, simply, one of the most underrated supplements out there. Today we are covering everything you need to know about N-acetyl cysteine and the best NAC supplements on the market.

What is NAC (N-acetyl cysteine)?

Before we get into what N-acetyl cysteine is, let’s talk about cysteine.

Cysteine is a non-essential amino acid that serves an important role in protein production. It’s found in foods with high protein contents, and it can be produced by the body from other amino acids.

NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) is the supplement form of cysteine.

N-acetyl cysteine helps the body develop antioxidants and provides a wide variety of other health benefits, even ranging into psychiatric and mental health benefits.

Okay, but what do antioxidants do?

It’s a fairly complex mechanism, but a process called oxidation damages cells, and antioxidants, as the term implies, help stop oxidation. This means it improves the health of all of our cells, and explains why antioxidants have such wide-ranging health benefits.

Why Should You Take an NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) Supplement?

NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) is mostly known for its production of glutathione, an essential antioxidant that reduces free radicals, which causes oxidative stress. You could also supplement with glutathione directly, and you can check out our guide on the best glutathione supplements for that.

Improved Immune, Lung, and Heart Health

Glutathione works wonders for your immune health, which is why taking a NAC supplement can help fight against a variety of illnesses affecting the lungs, liver, heart, and brain.

For example, one study showed that taking NAC can help treat liver disorders because of its antioxidant-boosting qualities. Another study on NAC also showed that it alleviated symptoms of chronic lung disorders like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or bronchitis by clearing mucus from the passageways.

In addition, taking N-acetyl cysteine can fight against heart disease because its glutathione-boosting qualities help decrease oxidative damage (an imbalance of free radicals that can lead to heart disorders).

May Improve Memory

Its ability to encourage glutathione production also makes NAC good for memory retention. In fact, research shows that taking N-acetyl cysteine can potentially slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Reduces Symptoms of Mental Health Disorders

Lastly, NAC has been linked to improving fertility and reducing symptoms of mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and substance abuse. It’s becoming increasingly popular in psychiatric contexts, and since it’s a safe, over-the-counter supplement, those with mental health disorders can see improvements without much downside.

So, yeah. This supplement truly can treat it all. There’s even research with NAC on specific disorders like trichotillomania, or obsessive hair pulling.

However, you don’t need to have a health disorder to benefit from taking a NAC supplement. In fact, its wide-ranging effects speak to its breadth of benefits for so many people.

The bottom line is it prevents cell damage and boosts immune health, and in that process can improve almost everything about our overall health.

The Best 8 NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) Supplements

Now let’s get into the best NAC supplements on the market.

1) Double Woods N-Acetyl Cysteine

double wood best nac supplement

Buy Double Wood N-Acetyl Cysteine

Price: $29.95

Double Wood’s NAC supplement provides both quality and quantity. Each of their products is tested for purity and manufactured in the USA. And if it ends up not being for you, Double Wood offers a money-back guarantee, which shows they’re confident in their product.

If you are new to taking NAC supplements, this is a good product to start with. Each bottle contains over 100 servings if you take the recommended two 500 mg capsules per day.

For the combination of quality and price, it’s our top choice on the market.

 

2) NOW Foods NAC

NOW NAC

Buy Now Foods NAC

Price: $20.60

NOW Foods NAC supplement contains selenium and molybdenum, which are minerals that protect against cell damage and help the body process protein, respectively. Combined with 600 mg of N-acetyl cysteine, these ingredients make for a powerful supplement at an affordable cost. Plus, the capsule is vegetarian-friendly.

Each bottle contains a fifty-day supply if you take the recommended amount of two capsules per day.

3) Thorne Research NAC

Thorne NAC

Buy Thorne NAC

Price: $25.00

Thorne’s NAC supplement is a good gluten-free option. Each bottle includes ninety capsules containing 500 mg each, and the recommended amount varies from one to two capsules a day. This variation allows you to try out different doses and see what works best for you.

4) Life Extension N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine

life extension NAC

Buy Life Extension NAC

Price: $11.25

With sixty capsules containing 600 mg each, Life Extension’s NAC supplement is the most affordable and reliable product on the market. It is another gluten-free option, and the capsules’ ingredients are easy to absorb. Plus, it has over 4,000 positive reviews, which doesn’t hurt its cause.

5) Natural Factors NAC

natural factors n acetyl l cysteine

Buy Natural Factors NAC

Price: $13.97

If you want a supplement brand that provides options, Natural Factors is for you. Their NAC supplement comes in both 500 mg and 600 mg bottles. The recommended amount ranges from one to three capsules a day, so you can safely test out what dose works best for you.

It also lives up to its “natural” brand name. It is vegetarian-friendly and contains no artificial colors, preservatives, sweeteners, soy, or dairy.

6) Dr. Mercola NAC with Milk Thistle

Dr. Mercola NAC with Milk Thistle

Buy Dr. Mercola NAC

Price: $21.49

Dr. Mercola’s NAC supplement contains 300 mg of milk thistle in each capsule, which is a plant derivative that improves liver functioning. This combined with 500 mg of N-acetyl cysteine makes Dr. Mercola’s the best NAC supplement on the market for specifically targeting the liver.

7) Mason Natural NAC

Mason Natural NAC

Buy Mason Natural NAC

Price: $9.09

If you are looking for the most affordable cost, Mason Natural’s NAC supplement is for you. It is free of peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, egg, starch, sugar, fragrances, and preservatives. In other words, it has the N-acetyl cysteine you’re looking for (500 mg of it) and nothing else.

8) Lake Avenue Nutrition NAC

lake avenue nutrition NAC

Buy Lake Avenue Nutrition NAC

Price: $15.00

There aren’t many bulk options for N-acetyl cysteine supplements on the market. Lake Avenue Nutrition’s NAC supplement, however, is a great substitute. It contains 120 capsules with 600 mg each to provide a four-month supply. It also contains selenium and molybdenum, which enhances the supplement’s strength.

FAQ

Are there any drawbacks?

N-acetyl cysteine is considered to be a safe supplement. However, the supplement could interact with certain blood thinners and blood medications, so you should consult a doctor before taking NAC.

N-acetyl cysteine can cause side effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, and tiredness if taken in large doses. It has also been reported to have an unpleasant odor.

Experiences vary from person to person. If you want a supplement that encourages whole body health, a NAC supplement is definitely worth a try.

Is it Better to Supplement With Glutathione or NAC?

Obviously, the answer to this is it depends. However, to make your decision it can help to understand the mechanisms at play. While complex, this jist is that NAC helps accelerate taking the broken down components of glutathione, and turning them back into glutathione. In theory, this increases glutathione in the blood. This is good news, and based on the research, NAC definitely increases glutathione production overall.

But why not just increase glutathione directly? Well, many glutathione supplements get broken down in the digestion process before they make it to the blood, so if you choose glutathione, you’ll want to choose a product that focuses on bioavailability. 

We cover which products we think are the best in our article on the top glutathione supplements

*Note: We do have affiliate links throughout this article, which means we receive a commission if you purchase from any of our links. This supports our mission to bring complicated health and fitness info in an entertaining package. And it keeps us from putting up annoying things like banner ads. Those suck.

About the Author

David is a writer and strength coach and co-owner of Roman Fitness Systems. In addition to helping run RFS, he's also the head editor for prohockeystrength.com., the official website of the Strength and Conditioning Association of Professional Hockey. You can also check out his Instagram, he's pretty easy on the eyes.

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