Whether you’re struggling with acne, bloating, PMS, or even PCOS or trying to conceive, hormonal imbalances can create all sorts of complications and painful symptoms. The good news is that identifying and supporting the root causes of hormone-related conditions may not be as mysterious an endeavor as you’d think.
One of our favorite supplements for empowering women against their struggles with issues like heavy bleeding, fertility struggles, and other hormone-related conditions, is N-acetyl cysteine (NAC).
NAC is the supplement form of an amino acid called cysteine which has been used for decades to support functions that are linked to hormonal health. It is also the precursor to glutathione, and glutathione is essential for boosting liver detox. This is critical to helping us to break down estrogen which, when in excess, is often a root cause of many hormonal symptoms.
NAC benefits your hormonal health by supporting:
- Ovulation and fertility
- Liver and kidney detoxification
- Healthy hormone balance
- Insulin resistance
Intrigued? Let’s learn more about how NAC can support your journey.
NAC for fertility
Making a baby is hard work … yeah, we said it! It may start off fun and flirty, but as you continue on your fertility journey you might learn that there’s more to it than you thought. And that’s not just a “you problem.” In fact, approximately 12% of US women between the ages of 15 and 44 have reported using infertility services, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Incorporating NAC into your wellness practice can be a really useful way to help calibrate your fertile factors. NAC has been shown to support the growth of healthy eggs and promote ovulation. It’s also been linked to increased ovarian function.
A recent analysis of 15 randomized controlled trials found that NAC can be an effective adjuvant in unexplained female infertility (so, a therapy that follows the primary treatment), especially for women with high BMI, insulin resistance, and oxidative stress. (However, the authors did note that they’d like to see additional research.)
NAC for PCOS
If Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is behind your fertility struggles, know that you’re not alone—PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility in the US.
In addition to causing irregular periods, weight gain, and acne, PCOS can lead to serious health complications, ranging from type 2 diabetes to hypertension to stroke. In short, it can feel like a crushing diagnosis if you’re struggling to get pregnant or regulate your hormones.
But that’s where NAC comes in.
Clomiphene citrate is a commonly prescribed medication for PCOS-related infertility, but alone, it doesn’t address the root hormonal imbalances that give rise to PCOS. A recent randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study of women with PCOS found that a combination of NAC and clomiphene citrate significantly increased ovulation and pregnancy rates among women with medication-resistant PCOS.
Another small study suggested that NAC’s antioxidant properties contributed to improving the level of circulating insulin and insulin sensitivity in women with PCOS and hyperinsulinemia (high levels of insulin in blood).
And that’s not all you need to know if you’re living with PCOS. A prospective trial following 100 women with PCOS who received NAC or metformin for 24 weeks found that NAC produced a significant decrease in BMI, excess facial hair, and menstrual irregularity, as well as a drop in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels.
NAC for heavy bleeding & fibroids
Another common hormonal woe is heavy menstrual bleeding, or menorrhagia.
During the first half of your cycle, estrogen rises and reaches its peak level when you ovulate. Your liver is responsible for breaking down estrogen, but things don’t always go as planned when you’re micronutrient deficient. Without proper nutrients—such as enough NAC or cysteine—your liver might struggle with detoxification, which causes the excess estrogen to circulate in your system.
Again, this is where NAC is a valuable supplement in your wellness kit. NAC has been shown to support the liver’s detoxification process. This is essential because when the liver is overburdened, it can have trouble sweeping out excess estrogen from your system.
This surplus of estrogen leads to two problems: a chance of the lining of the endometrium to grow back too thick, and the growth of fibroid tumors. NAC has been shown to help reduce the size of fibroids—common benign tumors that are found in the uterus and affect 70–80% of women by the end of their reproductive years.
Ready to try it?
Buying supplements can be tricky, which is why we’ve created three new supplement kits—all of which include NAC—designed specifically to support women like us.
Our high-quality supplements (in addition to nutritious food, moving your body, and rest) can help speed up your healing process and provide support as you bring your body back into balance.
You can learn more here about all of our supplement kits here.