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NAC For Anxiety And OCD: Does It Work, And What’s The Best NAC Supplement?

Best NAC Supplement At A Glance

Best NAC Capsules

Double Wood Supplements NAC

Each capsule provides 500 mg of NAC, which is a good starting dose for those who are new to taking NAC.

Another Great Option For NAC Capsules

Thorne NAC

Just like Double Wood Supplements, Thorne also includes 500 mg of NAC per capsule.

Best NAC Tablets

Source Naturals N-Acetyl Cysteine

Source Naturals NAC is the most potent supplement in this review, providing 1,000 mg of NAC per tablet.

Best NAC Supplement With Selenium And Molybdenum

NOW NAC

Each capsule provides 600 mg of NAC along with 25 mcg of selenium and 50 mcg of molybdenum to promote healthy enzyme function.

Editor’s note on February 10th, 2022: This product is currently out of stock. We will update this review when it’s available.

Most Potent NAC Capsules

Pure Encapsulations NAC

Each capsule contains 900mg of NAC which is a better dosage for those who have taken NAC for a while.

If you’re among the 2 million adults affected by OCD in the US or are among the 40 million affected by anxiety, then chances are you’ve tried almost everything under the sun to mitigate your condition. Whether you’ve tried different medications or natural remedies, sometimes it may feel nearly impossible to find a long-term solution.

However, there’s one supplement that many people claim has led to life-changing results following prolonged use – NAC (n-acetyl cysteine). So, why exactly has NAC become so popular in the treatment of OCD and anxiety, and where can you get it now that it’s been removed from Amazon?

Here, I’ll break down the basics of NAC and how it works in the body by reviewing relevant studies. I’ll also review where you can find the best NAC supplements online and provide guidance on the most reliable brands to purchase from now that it’s become much harder to find trustworthy vendors.

NAC For OCD

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a prodrug of L-cysteine which is a precursor to glutathioneーthe main antioxidant produced by the body. Antioxidants are molecules that prevent the oxidation of compounds, a process that results in damage to the body.

Some psychiatric disorders occur due to the dysfunctional metabolism of another glutathione precursor, glutamate. Studies have therefore found that glutathione depletion is implicated in some mental disorders, particularly anxiety and anxiety-related disorders such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Since the body breaks down glutathione rapidly, it is recommended to instead take NAC in order to enhance natural glutathione production.

One study demonstrated that when scientists induced OCD-related behavior in mice using serotonin receptor agonists, supplementing with NAC blocked behavioral symptoms following 3 weeks of administration.

Several studies in humans have found that NAC effectively reduces symptoms of OCD and anxiety. However, these same studies often concluded that NAC’s ability to reduce OCD severity is not considerable and that future studies with larger cohorts will be required before we can be sure of NAC’s potential.

NAC Dosage For OCD

The dosage of NAC used in studies for the treatment of OCD typically ranges from 2400 to 3000 mg a day, though a few case studies only used 1800 mg daily and still resulted in an improvement in negative disorder-related habits.

NAC is usually divided into 2-3 daily doses, though it’s not clear how vital this is.    

How Long Does It Take For NAC To Work For OCD

Most studies administer NAC over the course of 12-weeks, however some went for as long as 16 weeks. Although improvements have been seen in as little as 2 weeks, some individuals may need to use 3000 mg of NAC daily for at least 4 weeks to experience significant results.

NAC For Anxiety

In zebrafish, NAC not only reduced anxiety but also reversed oxidative damage caused by chronic anxiety. In human studies, researchers found that NAC improves anxiety-related symptoms, such as nail-biting and skin-picking

Anxiety often accompanies manic depressive disorder (MDD)ーa disorder also resulting from impaired glutamine metabolism. Interestingly, studies involving long-term treatment with NAC have shown a reduction in depression-associated anxiety. However, this was not due to its effect on glutamine, rather its ability to restore a healthy neural feedback loop which is often altered in patients affected by MDD.

NAC Dosage For Anxiety

Similar to OCD, it is also recommended to take 2400 to 3000 mg daily split into 2-3 doses for treating anxiety.

How Long Does It Take For NAC To Work For Anxiety

While most studies have a duration of 12-16 weeks, improvements are typically seen within 2-4 weeks of use. 

Our NAC Reviews – Where To Buy The Best NAC Supplement

NAC was recently banned by Amazon yet we believe it’s completely safe and effective to use. However, it’s important to keep in mind that NAC interacts with nitrate-based drugs, such as the vasodilator nitroglycerin so you should make sure to consult with your doctor if you’re unsure of potential drug interactions.


Best NAC Capsules

Double Wood Supplements NAC

Double Wood Supplements offers 210 capsules of NAC for $29.95, which is an incredibly competitive deal when compared to other leading brands.

Each capsule contains 500 mg and it is recommended to start with 2 capsules per day for a few weeks and then increase your dosage to 4 capsules daily.


Best NAC Supplement With Selenium And Molybdenum

NOW  NAC

Each bottle of NOW NAC contains 250 vegetarian capsules with each capsule providing 600 mg of NAC. It is recommended to take 1 capsule twice daily, however, for best results you should consider taking 2 capsules anywhere from 2-3 times daily. Each capsule also contains 25 mcg of selenium and 50 mcg of molybdenum to promote healthy enzyme function.

This NAC supplement has an impressive 5-star average. One reviewer reported that their severe ADHD-related skin-picking habit has almost ceased completely and that their anxiety leveled out following 3 weeks of use.

Editor’s note on February 10th, 2022: This product is currently out of stock. We will update this review when it’s available.


Most Potent NAC Capsules

Pure Encapsulations NAC

Pure Encapsulations NAC contains 120 hypoallergenic capsules per bottle. Each capsule contains 900mg of NAC and it is recommended to take 1-2 capsules per day, between meals. However, we believe that it’s best to take up to 3 capsules per day for best results.

Pure Encapsulations NAC is more expensive than its competitors and only provides a 40 days supply. So, if you’re on a tight budget, this supplement may not be your best bet.


Another great option for low-dose capsules

Thorne NAC

Thorne’s NAC supplement contains 90 capsules per bottle and each capsule provides a serving of 500 mg of NAC. The company recommends taking 1 capsule 2-3 times daily, but again, we suggest a higher dosage of 5-6 capsules spread throughout the day for significant results.

Based on our serving recommendation, each bottle will only last 18 days, so this product may not be the best value. However, the product is only $25 so NAC by Thorne could be a good place to start when first trying out NAC.


Best NAC Tablets

Source Naturals N-Acetyl Cysteine

Source Naturals NAC is the most potent supplement in this review, providing 1000mg of NAC in each capsule. You only need to take up to 3 capsules per day to reach the effective dosage for treating anxiety- and OCD-related symptoms. We recommend taking 1 capsule alongside each meal.

At just $22 per bottle for 120 capsules, this is by far the most cost-effective supplement. If you’re against GMO, this product is perfect for you as Source Naturals NAC is non-GMO validated.


Read our review of the best nootropics for anxiety.


Editor’s note: we are regularly updating this review. If you see any problems, weird interpretations of the data, or just want to say hi, please reach out to hello@the-unwinder.com.

Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

About the author

Lucy is a UK-based freelance writer focusing on biological content, whether it may involve animal biology or health and well being. Having achieved a First Class Zoology degree at the University of Bristol, Lucy has a diverse knowledge base and enjoys writing for others. Lucy is also a medical student in London who enjoys, in her free time, weight lifting at the gym or hiking along precarious routes in the great outdoors.

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