The amino acid N-acetyl cysteine NAC is emerging as one of the best supplements to reduce hangover symptoms and help protect your body from alcohol’s negative effects.
What is NAC?
N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is an amino acid that increases the production of glutathione, one of the most important antioxidants in the human body. This means that NAC has the potential to be very useful for liver protection and support, making NAC ideal for combatting hangovers.
In addition to promoting healthy immune function, it helps protect the body from toxin buildup and oxidative stress. We will explain more about “oxidative stress” and what it means later.
For these reasons, a lot of attention has been given to this powerful amino acid due to scientific research that has uncovered its benefits. Along with Dihydromyricetin (DHM), NAC is emerging as one of the best supplements to reduce hangover symptoms and help protect your body from alcohol’s negative effects.
Benefits of NAC:
- Supports liver and kidney detox
- Protects the liver from alcohol’s negative effects
- Potent Antioxidant
- Promotes immune function
What is a Hangover?
Hangovers are one of the “great equalizers” that create big problems and negative outcomes for anybody that enjoys alcoholic beverages. It doesn't matter who you are - if you drink, you’ve most likely experienced the pain of a hangover.
Hangovers have a widespread effect and can create serious problems in our daily lives. They cause workplace underperformance in both academic and professional environments.
Alcohol and its toxic by-products are the reasons for these negative side effects in our bodies which cause many well-known and dreadful hangover symptoms (you know what I’m talking about).
Alcohol’s “toxic by-products” refer to substances created by alcohol in the human body. The most dangerous one is called “acetaldehyde”. Acetaldehyde can be very destructive to the human body and is the main culprit behind hangover pain. More on this later.
Individuals who regularly enjoy having a good night out often suffer the consequences the next day. These include: anxiety, nausea, headache, fatigue, apathy, vomiting, weakness, thirstiness, weakened immune system and muscle pain.
Understanding why and how hangovers happen, the symptoms they cause and learning how to prevent them can help you party smart and protect your body over the long term.
The paragraphs below are going to delve deep into the science of a hangover. We don’t want to overwhelm you, but feel it is important to lay out the science and biological processes. We will provide “translations” when the medical language gets too wonky.
Mechanism of a Hangover
In order to understand the negative effects of alcohol and the mechanisms of a hangover, one must first understand the process of how alcohol is processed by your metabolism at the cellular level.
Translation: You need to understand how alcohol affects your body before it is eventually removed via urine, bile and/or sweat. It’s not the prettiest mental image, but it’s important to know so that you can prevent hangover symptoms.
Alcohol creates toxins in the body
As alcohol is processed in the liver, enzymes such as alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) break down ethanol into the acetaldehyde we mentioned earlier using a coenzyme called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+).
Translation: Alcohol creates a harmful toxin called Acetaldehyde as it gets processed in your body.
Acetaldehyde causes a process called “oxidation” in cell membranes. Oxidation creates harmful “free radicals”, which can damage molecules like DNA and proteins. These molecules control a number of important processes that allow your body to function correctly. If too many molecules are damaged, the cells will die.
Translation: Acetaldehyde is like a bull in the china shop of human cells. It causes lots of damage at the cellular level, which can result in your body feeling terrible in a variety of different ways.
In order to detox and remove this toxic substance from your system, a second enzyme called aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) oxidizes acetaldehyde to acetate. Acetate is water soluble and can easily be disposed of through our urine.
Translation: Dangerous acetaldehyde needs to be transformed by your liver into harmless acetate so that you can pee it out.
The main problem with this process is that it takes quite a while for our liver to finish breaking down the acetaldehyde to acetate, especially when you consume large amounts of alcohol.
Since our liver cannot process all the toxic acetaldehyde at once, it accumulates in our blood causing those dreadful side effects that we very well know. This starts to create havoc inside our cells by causing a reaction known as “oxidative stress”.
Translation: Your liver gets overworked and underpaid when you drink alcohol, and sometimes it just can’t keep up. This causes more toxic build up and worse hangover symptoms.
Mo’ toxins mo’ problems in the cells
“Oxidative stress” is when an imbalance occurs in your cells between antioxidants and free radicals. Too many free radicals can cause damage and can eventually destroy cells. Over time, too much oxidative stress can lead to serious diseases like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Hopefully, you have not become too depressed after reading all of this scary information about the effect of alcohol on the human body. The good news is, as long as your alcohol consumption is kept in moderation, there are ways to counteract its effects and provide your body with effective tools to protect itself from the worst effects. This will in turn also reduce the severity and occurence of hangovers.
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione is a magical substance made from three amino acids: cysteine, glutamate, and glycine. It is one of the most important antioxidants in your body, and plays a very important role in various chemical reactions in the human body.
Glutathione helps detoxify chemicals, including some that your body creates naturally, as well as environmental pollutants, alcohol and drugs. It also helps combat free radicals (molecules that can damage your body's cells.)
Translation: Glutathione is like a superhero in your body, working to help you remove toxic substances that make you feel terrible. You need healthy supplies of Glutathione to remove the toxins created by alcohol.
Unfortunately, supplies of glutathione decrease as we get older, possibly because our bodies can't synthesize as much. Lower glutathione levels appear to result in poorer health. This could be the reason why we get worse hangovers as we age.
Alcohol specifically causes our body’s glutathione levels to diminish. The liver has to create additional glutathione in order to eliminate the remaining acetaldehyde, a process that can take 16 to 24 hours.
NAC to the rescue
This is where our friend N-acetylcysteine (NAC) comes into action. NAC is a precursor to L-glutathione, and has the potential to reduce oxidative stress on the liver during alcohol degradation.
Translation: NAC is like a bodyguard to liver cells. It protects your cells so that your liver can produce more glutathione. This in turn, can help reduce damage and oxidative stress to your cells.
The mechanism of NAC in assisting with the elimination of toxic metabolites has been seen in numerous research studies, including as an antidote for tylenol overdose.
A study found that rats pretreated with NAC prior to alcohol ingestion had less oxidative stress on their livers, and provided a hepatic protective effect.
Translation: Rats given NAC had less liver damage after consuming alcohol.
NAC at low doses (600–1800 mg) has a relatively safe side effect profile. Once we ingest NAC, it reaches peak levels in approximately 45–60 min. Considering that NAC has a low risk of side effects, it has the ability to do more benefit than harm in an individual suffering from a hangover.
A recent study found that L-cysteine reduces the dreadful symptoms of a hangover which includes headache, nausea and anxiety. This study concluded that the effects of L-cysteine on hangover symptoms are very particular and seem to serve as a preventing or alleviating supplement for hangovers.
The good news about hangover prevention
IVITA Active hangover support provides a healthy dose of NAC to help reduce serious hangover symptoms.
IVITA Active is a science backed supplement that has been formulated with the high performing, all-natural ingredients. A powerful combination of NAC, Dihydromyricetin (DHM), Milk Thistle, Prickly Pear Fruit, Ginger, multivitamins and antioxidants, makes this supplement a powerhouse to prevent and treat hangover symptoms at the cellular level.
A deeper dive into IVITA Active hangover support
IVITA Active is not your typical hangover supplement.
It is a combination of vitamins and antioxidants that are specifically chosen for their effectiveness in assisting your body in combating hangover symptoms before you suffer from them.
IVITA Active is one of the few hangover supplements to contain both NAC and DHM. Many hangover supplements do not include these nutrients, and those that do often add them in a “proprietary formula”.
“Proprietary” means that the company does not disclose the amount of a specific supplement in their product, which allows them to use small dosages and not reveal the true amount.
IVITA products are 100% transparent with a non-proprietary formula.
Hangover Supplement Ingredients
Anyone who has had a few drinks knows the multiple trips to the bathroom that eventually commence are due to alcohol being a diuretic. This constant need to urinate causes you to lose vitamins and nutrients that are necessary for preventing a hangover. Although IVITA Active won’t eliminate your many restroom visits while drinking, its combination of the essential vitamins B1, B6, B12, C and E will help ensure you aren’t feeling terrible the next morning.
Dihydromyricetin and N-acetylcysteine
When it comes to reducing the adverse effects of alcohol on the liver, dihydromyricetin and N-acetylcysteine provide a one-two punch. While dihydromyricetin increases the metabolism of alcohol’s byproducts, N-acetylcysteine replenishes glutathione, which is a naturally-occurring antioxidant in your body. These are key components of IVITA’s mission to help with your hangover. Joined together with vitamins and additional herbal and antioxidant extracts, these substances prove effective in eliminating the headaches and lethargy caused by the effects alcohol has on the liver.
While the main ingredients in IVITA Active are superior to tackling a hangover, there are a few additional elements that complete the perfect mix. Rounding off the list are herbal and antioxidant extracts, which are well-known for their healing properties. Used for thousands of years, the combination of milk thistle seed, prickly pear fruit, ginger root, dandelion, and artichoke provide your system with the anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory compounds necessary to combat a hangover.
The ability of a hangover pill to support the liver from excessive drinking is a must when seeking out a hangover treatment. However, there are several miracle pills out there that hurt your body more rather than supporting it. Avoid supplements that contain caffeine or ones that have aspirin combined with a few herbs, as they will not eliminate a hangover. These ingredients will only temporarily mask any signs or symptoms you may be experiencing, only to leave you suffering again after the supplements wear off.
Take the recommended dose of 3 capsules before your first drink and 3 after your last drink of the night to help you wake up feeling energized and devoid of the nasty effects of drinking too much.
The Future of Hangover Recovery is Now
Thanks to science, it’s now possible to help ease hangover symptoms without requiring high financial costs or a visit to the medical clinic. The effect of this powerful supplement could have profound significance leading to improved quality of life for individuals who enjoy a couple of good night outs as well as improvement in work related productivity and performance.
Hangover pills and detox pills are definitely the future of drinking. We now have the tools to have fun and optimize our health at the same time. So next time you plan your next night out, don’t forget to supply your body with the proper nutrients to ease those dreaded hangover symptoms and protect your liver cells from alcohol’s toxic by-products.
Drink in a healthier way… Cheers!