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September 18, 2023 6 min read

Most of us want to live long lives–if we can stay healthy and maintain our independence, that is. But it’s no secret that aging comes with a gradual decline in physical and cognitive performance. That’s a reality many people want to avoid. 

From  collagen to  CoQ10, longevity is a billion-dollar industry; In fact, an estimated  71 billion dollars will be spent globally on the anti-aging market in 2023. One dietary supplement that’s shown promise in recent years is GlyNac.

GlyNac packs a powerful antioxidant punch, and that’s not all – research suggests it has a wide range of other health benefits. Here are four health benefits of GlyNac, according to science.

GlyNac Benefits: Everything You Need To Know

What is GlyNac?

GlyNac is an over-the-counter dietary supplement that combines glycine and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC); hence the name, GlyNac.

Glycine, an amino acid (protein molecule), is used by the body for growth, metabolism, immune system support, and other  important functions. According to research, glycine has many health-supporting properties, such as improved sleep quality and brain health. 

NAC is a form of cysteine, an amino acid known for its powerful health-supportive properties. It plays an essential role in the  production of glutathione, an antioxidant that protects against cellular damage from oxidative stress and free radicals.

These two nutrients are the building blocks that the body needs to create glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant.  Research indicates that glutathione helps to support tissue repair, forms chemicals and proteins needed in the body, and supports the immune system.

4 Health Benefits of GlyNac:

Research suggests several benefits from GlyNac supplementation. For example, it may:

  • Supports healthy aging 
  • Support brain health
  • Support muscle strength and body composition
  • Support healthy blood sugar levels

1. Supports Healthy Aging

One of the primary causes of aging is thought to be oxidative stress.  Oxidative stress occurs when too many free radicals accumulate in the body’s cells, leading to tissue and organ damage. Antioxidants are compounds that help neutralize free radicals.

Since GlyNac converts into glutathione, the master antioxidant in the body, it’s thought that glutathione may help to neutralize free radicals and support health aging.

A 2023 pilot study published in The Journal of Gerontology found that older adults who supplemented with GlyNac for 16 weeks experienced an improvement in markers of aging, such as oxidative stress and mitochondrial function, supporting its role in promoting healthy aging and longevity. 

By neutralizing free radicals, supporting mitochondrial function, and detoxifying the body on a cellular level, GlyNac is an exciting development for promoting healthy aging.

2. Supports Brain Health

Problems with memory are one of the most common complaints related to brain function in older adults. It’s normal for  cognitive function to decline as we age–as early as age 30. Some cognitive abilities, such as vocabulary, seem unaffected by aging. But others slowly decline, including memory, processing speed, problem-solving and conceptual reasoning. 

According to a 2021 pilot study published in the journal of Clinical and Translational Medicine, age-associated cognitive decline is linked with oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and glutathione deficiency. Eight older adults supplemented with GlyNac for 24 weeks, followed by a 12-week break, to examine its effects on these markers.

While taking GlyNac, oxidative stress decreased and glutathione and mitochondrial deficiency improved. This effect was not sustained when supplementation ended.

To further examine the role of GlyNac supplementation, researchers studied three groups of mice–a set of young mice and two sets of old mice–one of which received GlyNac. Before supplementation, the old mice had cognitive performance significantly lower than the young mice–completing a maze took them 100% longer, and they made 50% more errors. But, after eight weeks of GlyNac supplementation, the old mice improved their time by 42% with 33% fewer errors, while no improvement was seen in the control group.

This evidence points to GlyNac as a potentially valuable tool for brain health.

3. Improves Muscle Strength and Body Composition

Our muscle mass, strength, power, and physical performance gradually  decline as we age. Older people also have up to  30% more fat than young adults, particularly around the midsection. The good news? GlyNac may help to support natural weight management. 

Because GlyNac restores healthy levels of glutathione, which plays a role in the growth and repair of muscle mass, it may be an effective way to preserve muscle function in aging adults.

A pilot study investigating GlyNac’s role in healthy aging also examined the supplement’s impact on muscle strength, function, and body fat. Older adults who were given GlyNac for 24 weeks experienced gains in strength, walking speed, and exercise capacity. What’s more, they saw a significant decrease in body fat and waist circumference.

If you’re looking for an edge to support muscle strength and keep body fat levels down, GlyNac may be a good option.

4. Blood Sugar Support

A byproduct of our food is glucose (sugar), which sent to the blood. As a result of increased blood sugar, insulin is released by the pancreas to help muscle, fat, and liver cells  convert blood sugar into energy.

In a 2022 pilot study published in the journal Antioxidants, individuals who supplemented with GlyNac for two weeks found that it helped to support healthy blood sugar levels.

While longer-term research is needed to determine GlyNac’s impact on blood sugar, these findings are exciting, as supplementing with GlyNac may help to support healthy blood sugar levels.

Side Effects & Safety:

GlyNac is likely safe for most people, but should be avoided in pregnant and breastfeeding individuals.

Possible side effects include dry mouth, nausea/vomiting, and diarrhea. 

Caution should be taken in those with asthma and bleeding disorders, and GlyNac should be avoided at least two weeks prior to surgery. 

GlyNac should not be taken with nitroglycerin. 

Before beginning supplementation with GlyNac, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider. 

_________________________________________________________
 Heidi Borst, B.A. 
Heidi Borst is a freelance journalist and experienced healthcare writer
with a Journalism Degree from Rutgers University. She writes for Forbes and various other trusted sources. Based in Wilmington, North Carolina, Heidi Borst is a general fitness enthusiast with a passion for health and wellness.
__________________________________________________________

References:

Donner Y, Fortney K, et al.Great Desire for Extended Life and Health amongst the American Public. Front Genet. 2016 Jan 20;6:353.

Promoting Health for Older Adults. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 8/25/2023.

Size of the anti-aging market worldwide from 2021 to 2027. Statista. Accessed 8/25/2023.

Amino acids. National Library of Medicine. Accessed 8/25/2023.

Razak MA, Begum PS, et al.Multifarious Beneficial Effect of Nonessential Amino Acid, Glycine: A Review.Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:1716701. 

N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC). National Library of Medicine. Accessed 8/25/2023.

Ershad M, Naji A, Vearrier D.N-Acetylcysteine. [Updated 2023 Feb 19].Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-.

Liguori I, Russo G, et al. Oxidative stress, aging, and diseases.Clin Interv Aging. 2018 Apr 26;13:757-772.

Cui H, Kong Y, Zhang H.Oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and aging.J Signal Transduct. 2012;2012:646354.

Reuter S, Gupta SC, et al.Oxidative stress, inflammation, and cancer: how are they linked? Free Radic Biol Med. 2010 Dec 1;49(11):1603-16.

Mitochondrial Diseases. National Library of Medicine. Accessed 8/25/2023.

Harada CN, Natelson Love MC, Triebel KL.Normal cognitive aging.Clin Geriatr Med. 2013 Nov;29(4):737-52. 

Trombetti A, Reid KF, et al.Age-associated declines in muscle mass, strength, power, and physical performance: impact on fear of falling and quality of life. Osteoporos Int. 2016 Feb;27(2):463-71.

Aging changes in body shape. National Library of Medicine. Accessed 8/25/2023.

Insulin Resistance. Cleveland Clinic. Accessed 8/25/2023.

Footnotes:

Premranjan K, et al.Supplementing Glycine and N-Acetylcysteine (GlyNAC) in Older Adults Improves Glutathione Deficiency, Oxidative Stress, Mitochondrial Dysfunction, Inflammation, Physical Function, and Aging Hallmarks: A Randomized Clinical Trial.The Journals of Gerontology: Series A. 2023 Jan;78:1(75-89)

Kumar P, Liu C, Hsu JW, et al.Glycine and N-acetylcysteine (GlyNAC) supplementation in older adults improves glutathione deficiency, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, inflammation, insulin resistance, endothelial dysfunction, genotoxicity, muscle strength, and cognition: Results of a pilot clinical trial. Clin Transl Med. 2021 Mar;11(3):e372.

Kumar P, Osahon OW, Sekhar RV.GlyNAC (Glycine and N-Acetylcysteine) Supplementation in Old Mice Improves Brain Glutathione Deficiency, Oxidative Stress, Glucose Uptake, Mitochondrial Dysfunction, Genomic Damage, Inflammation and Neurotrophic Factors to Reverse Age-Associated Cognitive Decline: Implications for Improving Brain Health in Aging. Antioxidants (Basel). 2023 May 4;12(5):1042.

Parcha V, Heindl BF, et al.Abstract 12976: Insulin Resistance and Cardiometabolic Risk Profile Among Non-Diabetic American Young Adults: Insights From NHANES.Circulation. 2021 Nov;144:A12976.

Sekhar RV.GlyNAC (Glycine and N-Acetylcysteine) Supplementation Improves Impaired Mitochondrial Fuel Oxidation and Lowers Insulin Resistance in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: Results of a Pilot Study. Antioxidants (Basel). 2022 Jan 13;11(1):154.

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