N-acetylcysteine, simply known as NAC, is a powerful antioxidant that can offer help to women who have PCOS or insulin resistance. N-acetyl cysteine comes from the amino acid L-cysteine.
It is also needed for the production of glutathione, one of the body’s most potent antioxidants. Women with PCOS have a much higher rate of oxidative stress and the glutathione may well help to combat this
For the approximately 70%of women with PCOS who experience fertility issues. A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology looked at the benefits of NAC involving 910 women with PCOS. The review showed that NAC provided significant improvements for improving ovulation, pregnancy and live birth rates as compared to a placebo alone.
Improves Insulin Resistance
NAC is emerging as a promising option for women with PCOS to improve their insulin levels. An important action of NAC is to protect insulin receptors and influence insulin receptor activity secretion from the pancreas cells. As a result, NAC can improve insulin resistance.
Restores Hormone Balance
A surprising benefit of NAC is that it has the potential to lower androgen levels and regulate menstrual cycles. In their study, Oner and colleagues randomized women with PCOS to take metformin or NAC for 24 weeks. Both treatments resulted in significant decreases in hirsutism score, free testosterone, and menstrual irregularity.
Women with PCOS have been shown to have higher levels of oxidative stress than women without PCOS. High levels of oxidative stress can damage cells and promote inflammation which in turn worsens the metabolic aspects of PCOS. As a powerful antioxidant, NAC works to fight oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.