N-acetyl-cysteine and Male Fertility
Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert.
The purpose of this article is to provide readers with an overview of what N-acetyl cysteine is, how it works, and why it is important for male fertility.
In this article we shall cover the following points:
- What is N-acetyl-cysteine?
- The benefits
- Does it reduce estrogen?
- Hormone balance
- Erectile dysfunction
- Male fertility
Introduction: What is N-acetyl-cysteine?
N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) is a type of amino acid that helps the body make glutathione. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from damage caused by free radicals.
NAC has been studied for its potential benefits in treating various health conditions including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and liver diseases.
This amino acid is produced by the body which has significant benefits, including protection from oxidative stress, improvement of liver detoxification, and reductions in inflammation.
NAC is a medication used to break the cycle of addiction by reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings for drugs and alcohol.
It is available as an over-the-counter dietary supplement in the United States. It has been used as a mucolytic agent to help patients with cystic fibrosis or chronic bronchitis.
What are the Benefits of Taking N-acetyl-cysteine?
N-acetyl-cysteine has been found to have numerous benefits. It can be used for the treatment of acetaminophen overdose, chronic bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
In addition to these benefits, it can also be taken as a supplement for male fertility.
Many people report feeling a sense of calmness, centeredness and higher levels of energy after taking N-acetyl-cysteine.
In a study conducted published in 2014, the findings indicated that the administration of N-acetyl-cysteine led to an increase in brain levels and improved blood flow.
Does N-acetyl-cysteine lower Estrogen in men?
N-Acetyl Cysteine is a form of cysteine that may be derived from two sources: human hair and duck feathers.
As a dietary supplement, it is typically taken orally. Some research suggests that oral NAC supplementation may help lower estrogenic levels
NAC may help protect against liver damage and detoxify the body by acting as a barrier to oxygen free radicals.
It also increases secretion of pancreatic enzymes and gastric mucus, which in turn increase fat digestion, absorption, and utilization.
NAC is thought to support liver health because it increases the production of glutathione.
Does N-acetyl-cysteine help balance Hormones?
N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is a form of l-cysteine that can help reduce the symptoms of menopause and hormonal imbalances.
Research shows that it can also be used to reduce blood pressure, improve blood circulation, and reduce inflammation. NAC has been shown to work as well as many prescribed medications.
A study of 50 infertile men showed improved fertility and hormonal (including a rise in testosterone) status after just 3 months of supplementation.
Does N-acetyl-cysteine help with Erectile Dysfunction?
N-acetyl cysteine is a form of L-cysteine, an amino acid that is used to make glutathione.
Glutathione is an antioxidant that helps regulate nitric oxide levels in the body. It also may have benefits for people with diabetes and those who are recovering from alcoholism.
Research published in 2021 suggests that NAC can improve the effects of erectile dysfunction and maintain the length of the penis whilst erect.
However, it must be noted that this study was conducted using rats (rats share many biological and physiological similarities to humans) and was conducted to understand how NAC may help patients who have had their prostate gland removed.
Further studies also point towards NAC being able to increase nitric oxide production.
The relevance of this is that nitric oxide allows the muscles in the penis to relax so the chambers can fill with blood and become erect.
N-acetyl-cysteine for Male Fertility
NAC is a form of cysteine that has been shown to improve male fertility. Numerous studies have demonstrated that male infertility patients who took NAC had a higher sperm count, semen quality and improved motility.
Research also shows that when combined with selenium the effects on sperm parameters are even greater.
A study involving 120 infertile males found that those who were provided with 600mg of NAC daily for 3 months saw an improvement of semen volume, motility and thickness compared to the placebo group.
Published research from 2021 involving a group of 431 infertile men also saw similar results with improvements in sperm concentrations, volume, sperm motility and morphology.
➡️READ: Natural treatments for male infertility
With COVID-19 still very much present and causing disruption around the world, it is interesting to note that the virus has had a negative impact on semen quality in a group of men who prior to being infected had showed normal sperm parameters.
However, after treatment with NAC significant improvements were seen amongst men the men.
Additional research also shows that NAC offers favorable results to enhance the quality of sperm prior to cryopreservation.
NAC Fertility Dose
N-acetyl-cysteine can be taken in two ways: orally and intravenously. Oral NAC is typically sold as 600mg capsules.
For oral ingestion, it is best to take three 600mg capsules per day for three months.
Intravenous NAC may be administered by a healthcare provider in the form of an injection or IV drip up to 12 hours before intercourse.
The recommended dosage for male infertility caused by oxidative stress is 600 mg per day for six months.
Conclusion: The Benefits of Taking N-acetyl-cysteine for Male Fertility
N-acetyl-cysteine can be a great way to improve male fertility.
It is an amino acid that is found in the body, and it has many benefits for men.
There are many studies that have shown that n-acetyl-cysteine can reduce sperm DNA damage, increase sperm motility, and increase sperm count in infertile men, thus overall optimizing sperm health.
Therefore, it is one of the natural treatments that can be safely tolerated by the body to improve fertility outcomes.