Healing Series: NAC To Lower Central Sensitivity Syndrome?

Brain iconDo you remember my massive post about CSS, Central Sensitivity Syndrome? The basic premise was that some people’s hyper-sensitivity may be related to an amplification of certain neurotransmitter pathways which then cause reactivity, pain and mood changes. I detailed what kind of pathways go wrong and the mainstream meds currently being used to dampen them.

One of the neurotransmitter pathways involves glutamate, an excitatory substance which raises sensitivity, be that to life, pain, foods, chemicals etc… So, I was interested to see this article yesterday about NAC being used in trials to lower OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

N-Acetyl Cysteine in the Treatment of Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders: A Systematic Review

Now, I know we don’t suffer with OCD, but there are similarities in the hyper-vigilance issue – looking for threats that aren’t there, for example. Some of our foods are indeed physiological problems for us because of the gluten, histamines or whatever, but certainly in hyper-sensitivity cases like mine, there is something additional going on. Or, that’s how I see it currently anyway.

The researchers quite rightly say there need to be more trials but conclude:

Given what is known about NAC’s ability to modulate glutamate, it may be patients with glutamate abnormalities who are responsive to NAC. If so, the therapeutic efficacy for NAC in both of these disorders suggests that the parallels between OCD and OCRD clinical presentations may be, in some cases, the result of underlying glutamate dysregulation, as well as oxidative stress, the latter either as a causative factor or consequence of the disease process.

So, if we think we may have a CSS issue – of which OCD is just one example – and NAC in trials is showing it may be able to lower the glutamate-based heightened sensitivity, doesn’t that give us a possible mode of treatment? No idea, but I thought it was worth musing about in case.

I do know that some of you already take NAC to benefit glutathione levels and therefore lower oxidative stress and increase detoxification via the liver etc; I wonder if the dosages the researchers used (up to 3000mg per day although they reckon higher could be used for some) are much different and if the NAC could well be helping in a different way too then by lowering the glutamate and consequently dampening down the hyper-sensitivity pathways? An interesting thought.

For more on NAC and glutamate, I saw this useful article in Psychology Today:

Problems? I Have a NAC for That

And on NAC generally, see here. There are several NAC products in the TGF Master List for you. ARG do a 500mg, for example. Please use with advice from your health professional, as always. And let me know how it goes if you do. Meantime, I will keep my eyes peeled for more research on it.

6 Replies to “Healing Series: NAC To Lower Central Sensitivity Syndrome?”

  1. Very interesting. I myself tried taking small doses of it as thought it would be a useful supplement to boost glutathione etc… but each time I took it I felt less well. It seemed to cause me tight/heavy chest and ‘air hunger’ type symptoms. Symptoms I was getting at that time occasionally anyway but the NAC always seemed to bring them on even if I wasn’t experiencing them. Any ideas what this could mean?

  2. I don’t think you can trust a bulk powder from China not to be cross-contaminated or even to be the correct stuff maybe – I note some people in the reviews say it doesn’t seem like their normal NAC. Nuff said..! Be wary and stick to the ones in the TGF Master List to be safe wd be my advice.

    1. Thanks, good point. I never saw that review before! I just assumed that a powder form would be more pure as it wouldn’t have the fillers and would be easier to adjust the dose.
      But the times I’ve mistakenly eaten gluten I haven’t had any noticable reaction so I just can’t imagine that a tiny amount of cross contamination of gluten or similar in the bulk powders would have given me that reaction. Perhaps it was a dodgy NAC. I might try another brand but am scared to be honest.

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