At the end of the day, dealing with a hangover and protecting the liver from the ravages of alcohol comes down to chemical actions and reactions in the body; a molecular game played by the rules of biology.
One of the pieces in the game is N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), a more easily absorbed metabolite of the amino acid cysteine. It is indispensable in the liver’s ability to break down the toxin acetaldehyde, a byproduct of alcohol metabolism.
NAC occurs naturally in the body and is also consumed in the diet, although food is not a primary source and there are no particular foods that contain a great deal of it. Your body cranks it out readily enough, but if it doesn’t you can find it in supplements.
NAC is only one daisy in the chain, so to speak. With regard hangovers, NAC is especially useful in that it metabolizes into glutathione, a very powerful antioxidant used by the liver to detoxify alcohol. This antioxidant is depleted quickly when alcohol is introduced into the system and needs to be replenished.
Knowing this ahead of time can help you avoid a hangover and give your liver some added protection. Evidence suggests that NAC, especially when combined with thiamine, can neutralize alcohol-derived oxidants and avoid the negative effects of glutathione deficiency caused by alcohol consumption.
We’re a bit biased and would recommend our products; however, if you’re looking for NAC locally, you can likely find it at your local supplement store.
Of course, I should remind everyone that our blog entries are for your information only and are not intended as medical advice. Because everyone is different, you should work with your medical professional to determine what’s best for you. If you’re going to drink, do it legally and responsibly; don’t be stupid =).