Can A Simple Supplement (GlyNAC) Promote Healthy Aging in Elderly? Promising News

The goal of slowing and reversing aging, particularly in the elderly, is an important and elusive goal. However, the science of understanding and studying healthy aging is rapidly expanding. Some of the pathways for aging that have gotten a lot of attention include elevated oxidative stress (OxS) and  mitochondrial dysfunction.  Improving/reversing these defects in older adults (OA) is challenging.

In prior studies a deficiency of the intracellular antioxidant glutathione (GSH) could play a role and supplementing with GlyNAC (combination of glycine and N-acetylcysteine [NAC]) has improved GSH deficiency, OxS, mitochondrial fatty-acid oxidation (MFO), and insulin resistance (IR). A placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial was recently reported in older adults (OA).

Study Design 

Twenty-four OA and 12 young adults (YA) were studied. OA were randomized to receive either the simple supplemental combination of Glycine and NAC known as GlyNAC (N = 12) or placebo (N = 12) for 16-weeks; YA (N = 12) received GlyNAC for 2-weeks. Participants were studied before, after 2-weeks, and after 16-weeks of supplementation to assess GSH concentrations, OxS, MFO, molecular regulators of energy metabolism, inflammation, endothelial function, IR, aging hallmarks, gait speed, muscle strength, 6-minute walk test, body composition, and blood pressure.

Study Results

Compared to YA, OA had GSH deficiency, OxS, mitochondrial dysfunction (with defective molecular regulation), inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, IR, multiple aging hallmarks, impaired physical function, increased waist circumference, and systolic blood pressure. GlyNAC (and not placebo) supplementation in OA improved/corrected these defects.

Study Conclusion and Implications

GlyNAC supplementation in OA for 16-weeks was safe and well-tolerated. By combining the benefits of glycine, NAC and GSH, GlyNAC is an effective nutritional supplement that improves and reverses multiple age-associated abnormalities to promote health in aging humans. Although there is no capsule available that has both Glycine and NAC in one pill, it is easy to source them separately an they are both safe and inexpensive. Glycine is an amino acid that also also supports healthy sleep so it is widely available for that use and NAC is widely used for immune and detoxification support. I have added the combination to some of my elderly patients to support optimal agility, balance, muscle strength and overall functioning, all benefits reported by this research group in prior scientific papers. 

Dr. Joel Kahn

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