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Can NAC (N-Acetylcysteine) help treat leaky gut?

Updated: Jan 3

Your overall gut health and its optimal function come down to one thing – intact gut walls. The epithelial cells of our gut wall are adhered together by tight junctions, forming a strong barrier between the contents in the intestinal lumen and structures outside the gut. The intestinal barrier regulates the absorption of nutrients and prevents harmful substances and pathogens from entering the blood. Inflammation and oxidative stress cause the gut walls to become leaky, hence, allowing toxins and pathogens to invade the general circulation.

Natural, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substances are important for maintaining intestinal health. Antioxidants play a huge role in neutralizing the free radicals and protecting the intestinal cells from oxidative injury. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is widely used anti-oxidant for treating intestinal dysfunction.

NAC replenishes the stores of glutathione, which is also a powerful antioxidant in our body. The small intestine metabolizes NAC to produce glutathione, which reacts with the free radicals and reactive oxygen species, and prevents these substances from damaging the intestinal barrier cells.

NAC also interferes with various signaling pathways to minimize oxidative injury of the cells.

Natural food sources containing cysteine and NAC are essential for strengthening our intestinal barrier. NAC is found mainly in protein rich foods, including salmon, chicken, nuts, eggs, and dairy products. However, high consumption of meat protein is not always suitable for everyone, that's why I recommend taking it as a food supplement.

NAC supplement suppress the activity of enzymes that produce free radicals and reactive oxygen species. It also reduces the concentration of inflammatory mediators, and may help to inhibit inflammatory processes in the gut.

NAC can help treat leaky gut.  In adequate dosage of NAC supplementation maintains the integrity of the intestinal barrier by replenishing glutathione stores and protecting the barrier from oxidative injury.

These are two of my favorite NAC supplements from IHERB:

NAC and leaky gut






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