Effect of NAC on mania and depression

A preliminary investigation on the efficacy of N-acetyl cysteine for mania or hypomania.

Objective:Oxidative imbalance has emerged as a treatment target in bipolar disorder. As very limited data are available on the clinical use of antioxidants for mania, we report here results from a post hoc and exploratory subgroup analysis of a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC).Methods:This was a placebo-controlled, randomized, clinical trial assessing the effect of NAC over 24 weeks in mania or hypomania. Symptomatic and functional outcomes were collected over the study period.Results:Fifteen participants were available for this report; two participants in each group failed to complete all assessments. Within-group analyses pointed to an improvement in the NAC group on manic symptoms and worsening in the placebo group on depressive symptoms at endpoint.Conclusions:Although the sample size was small, these results indicated within-group efficacy for this glutathione precursor as compared to placebo. Future trials specifically designed to demonstrate the efficacy of NAC in mania are needed.

May I remind the audience that n-actetylcysteine is cheap, and available OTC. Also, it isn’t really an antioxidant, as this report states, but a glutathione precursor. NAC just gives the cells an extra dose of what an amino acid, cysteine, that is the rate-limiting ingredient in glutathione production.

Also: N-acetyl cysteine for depressive symptoms in bipolar disorder–a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial.

CONCLUSIONS:
NAC appears a safe and effective augmentation strategy for depressive symptoms in bipolar disorder.

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2 comments
Wolf says March 19, 2013

Yet more incentives to supplement with whey I suppose.

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G.H. says March 19, 2013

I first started taking NAC a couple of years ago after reading some of your posts about its potential as an anti-aging agent. My dose (600 mg q.d.) was not large, but I experienced significant improvements in mood and mental stability. This development occurred so gradually that, until I traveled for over a week without the stuff, I hadn’t connected it to the supplement.

Another thing I’ve been taking lately is a low, twice-monthly dose of C60 in olive oil, whose effects remind me of NAC. Among other proposed MOA, posters on the C60 subforum at Longecity have speculated that it works by localizing to the mitochondria, where with its long half-life it has much potential as a mimetic of endogenous antioxidants.

Perhaps you heard about C60oo last year after the news of Baati et. al.’s long-lived rats. It was a small item, but given your interest in substances like acetylcysteine, rapamycin, etc., I think you will find much of interest among the discussions it’s inspired so far, including on the aforementioned forum.

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