Combining NAC with L-Arginine is a winner for diabetic men

March 03, 2008

Researchers report that giving a combination of the amino acids L-Arginine and N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) to men with high blood pressure and diabetes improved endothelial function, Endothelial dysfunction frequently occurs in these patients. It is a condition where the lining of the arteries becomes unable to respond to increases in blood flow--a process that initiates atherosclerosis.
The researchers enrolled 24 men between the ages of 51 and 74 who were being treated for type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. The participants were divided into two groups one to receive 1200 milligrams NAC plus 1200 milligrams L-Arginine per day, or a placebo for six months. Arginine is known to enhance nitric oxide production, the neurotransmitter released in blood vessel walls which improves endothelial function, and NAC was administered to improve antioxidant protection and to stabilize nitric oxide. Blood pressure was measured before and after the treatment period, and blood samples were evaluated for cholesterol, triglycerides, oxidized low density lipoprotein (ox-LDL), C-reactive protein fibrinogen, and other factors. Intima-media thickness, which evaluates atherosclerosis, was also assessed at these time points.
At the end of six months, both systolic and diastolic blood pressure had declined by an average of 5 mmHg in the group that received L-Arginine plus NAC. Total and LDL cholesterol, oxidized LDL, C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, and intima-media thickness were also lower, and beneficial HDL cholesterol was higher. For men who received a placebo, total cholesterol, LDL and ox-LDL cholesterol levels increased while other parameters were unchanged.
"In conclusion, the combined NAC and L-Arginine supplementation seems to be a successful and well-tolerated anti-atherogenic therapy, capable to improve the endothelial function in hypertensive diabetic male patients, since it reduces oxidative stress and, at the same time, promotes nitric oxide anti-atherosclerotic effects," the authors write. "Our study's results, therefore, give prominence to its potential use in the primary and secondary cardiovascular prevention in type 2 diabetic patients." The study is published ahead of print on February 11, 2008 in the journal Diabetes Care.

NAC and Folic Acid lower dangerous homocysteine levels and improve blood vessel function in patients with coronary artery disease

In patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) a high level of homocysteine in the blood is a cause of clogging of the arteries, heart attack and stroke. In this new study 60 patients with CAD were given either inactive placebo, 5 mg of Folic Acid or 600 mg of NAC daily for eight-weeks. The function of blood vessel walls (their ability to open) was measured by highly sensitive ultrasound (high resolution ultrasound). Folic Acid decreased homocysteine from 21 on average to 12.5 on average. NAC decreased homocysteine from 20.9 to 15.6 within the same timeframe. Both nutrients improved the ability of the blood vessels to function properly and open up in response to blood flow needs; both of course possibly related to the percentage drop in homocysteine. The placebo had none of these effects. The study is published in the December 2007 issue of the journal Acta Cardiologica; a major European cardiology journal..