by Matt Weik
Not being able to breathe easily can be quite a scary situation. The shallow breaths and wheezing when you’re feeling under the weather can shake people to their core. And while this article is not meant to treat or diagnose any disease, there are a few things you can do to help open up your airways and breathe better when the only thing you want to do is lay in bed and beat whatever ailment you’re fighting.
First and foremost, why may you have some respiratory issues that are causing you discomfort and breathing difficulties? Let’s jump into some of the common respiratory issues that many Americans face daily, especially when the colder months arrive.
Common Respiratory Issues You May Encounter
There are many reasons why you may find yourself having some respiratory issues. Your doctor may have diagnosed you with asthma, allergies, or even an illness such as a cold, flu, or other viruses that can affect your breathing and respiration. Any of these conditions can lead to shallow breathing, an inability to take deep breaths, severe coughing, and wheezing.
Some issues you may be faced with can be acute and only last a matter of days or, in a worst-case scenario, a chronic condition that could follow you throughout your entire life. If you are finding that your respiratory issues are lasting more than a few days, it may be best to schedule an appointment with your doctor to get checked.
Should it be needed, your doctor may prescribe a prescription to help alleviate your symptoms and allow you to breathe better. However, there are some over-the-counter (OTC) supplements that you can use on a regular basis to not only help promote overall health and wellness but that can also play a role in reducing respiratory issues and allow you the ability to breathe better if you do find yourself with the sniffles, coughs, and/or congestion.
The Power of NAC to Help You Breathe Better
Again, it needs to be reiterated that supplements should never supersede a doctor’s recommendation or the medication your doctor prescribes. Utilizing a supplement such as NAC (N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine) does not have the strength of a prescription or steroid recommended under your doctor’s supervision. That said, there are some extremely powerful properties that NAC can help with when it comes to respiratory issues and helping you breathe better.
To start, what exactly is NAC? NAC is the supplemental form of cysteine. This potent amino acid is necessary to help create glutathione. Glutathione is the most powerful and abundant antioxidant in the body where it helps prevent you from getting sick and fights off foreign pathogens that enter the body.
Both NAC and glutathione are heavily concentrated in the liver and the lungs — which is why NAC has been found to provide so many respiratory benefits. As we breathe, we are constantly inhaling various pollens, dust, pollutants, bacteria, and viruses. Think about that for a second. You breathe 24/7. Therefore, your body is constantly fighting off bacteria and other pathogens that can do the body harm.
Antioxidants help protect the body from stress, free radicals, and other foreign invaders that can cause inflammation and make you sick. NAC is also able to act as an expectorant which can help loosen and clear up mucus that may be obstructing your airways and making it difficult to breathe.
Taking that into account and understanding what NAC and glutathione are capable of doing, it’s no wonder that this combination can do a lot of good as it relates to your respiration and their ability to help you breathe better.
1. Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties
NAC plays a role in helping prevent oxidative stress in the body from doing you harm. Oxidative stress can reduce glutathione levels as well as increase inflammation in the body. Inflammation in the lungs from inhaling pathogenic agents can lead to many acute and even chronic respiratory issues as the inflammation can block the ability for air to enter the lungs and be effectively pushed out into the body.
If you want to breathe better, NAC can help reduce the inflammatory response by minimizing the adverse effects that can take place through oxidative stress.
Researchers have even looked at how NAC can play a role in helping reduce respiratory issues and inflammation in the lungs caused by something like COVID-19. One study found that “NAC administration may assist in improving markers of inflammation or oxidation, systemic oxygenation, the need for/duration of ventilation, rate of patient recovery and clinical improvement score.” This study also found NAC was able to help with acute respiratory conditions.
2. Reduction of Mucus
If you’ve ever been congested and full of mucus, you may find it difficult to breathe. In fact, you may even think the constant coughing is making it hard to breathe. Being that NAC is an expectorant, it can help clear out the accumulation of mucus to help open up your airways. When sick, your bronchial tubes could have a buildup of mucus, which can block the passage of air to properly enter the lungs and be utilized.
NAC supplementation has been found to be able to help reduce mucus, support proper air passage, and reduce the frequency and severity of coughing and wheezing.
3. Better Manage Symptoms of Allergies and Infections
Allergies and infections affect a large portion of the US adult population. For that reason, many are looking for ways to help manage the adverse effects and minimize the symptoms they experience. One of the common symptoms many are presented with is nasal and sinus congestion. When this takes place, it can cause respiratory issues. If you want to breathe better, supplementing with NAC may be the answer.
Research has found that NAC has the ability to reduce congestion from sinuses, allergies, and other infections.
How Can You Support Adequate Levels of NAC/Cystine in the Body?
While there are no direct NAC-specific foods that you can add to your diet, you can still take in the amino acid cystine naturally in your diet. You can accomplish this by adding foods like eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, lentils, beef, and chicken breast.
Want an easier way? Supplement with NAC. By including NAC in your supplement regimen, you can take in N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine each day to help experience all the benefits. If you want to increase your glutathione levels, help reduce respiratory issues, and breathe better, NAC to your supplement regimen. Try NAC supplements and feel the difference this powerful supplement can make!