N-acetyl cysteine is a supplement that simulates an amino acid called cysteine. Taking this supplement may help you get pregnant and prevent a miscarriage under certain circumstances. N-acetyl cysteine is usually safe for pregnant women to take, but ask your doctor if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant before taking this supplement.
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People who have polycystic ovary disease may experience an improvement in fertility when taking N-acetyl cysteine along with fertility drugs. Polycystic ovary disease is the most common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age that the cause is unknown, according to the Mayo Clinic. It causes a lack of ovulation and therefore a difficulty getting pregnant. A 2007 study published in the "Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica" journal found that N-acetyl cysteine induced or augmented ovulation in polycystic ovary patients. Participants took 50 mg of the fertility drug clomiphene citrate twice a day alone or combined with 1,200 mg daily of N-acetyl cysteine for five days. Medication began on the third day of their menstrual cycle. The study was entitled, "N-Acetyl Cysteine and Clomiphene Citrate for Induction of Ovulation in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Cross-over Trial."
Taking N-acetyl cysteine reduces the possibility of pregnant women miscarrying. N-acetyl cysteine may suppress oxidative stress, according to a 2008 study published in the "Reproductive BioMedicine Online" journal. Oxidative stress happens when free radicals attack and destroy healthy brain cells. This may begin a cascade of changes in the body that causes a miscarriage. Humans convert N-acetyl cysteine into the antioxidant, glutathione. Antioxidants fight free radicals. The study found that N-acetyl cysteine and folic acid supplements significantly increased the take-home baby rate of participants compared to taking folic acid alone. The name of the study is "N-acetyl Cysteine for Treatment of Recurrent Unexplained Pregnancy Loss."
N-acetyl supplements are safe to take when pregnant and while breastfeeding, according to Drugs.com. It does not appear that N-acetyl cysteine goes into breast milk. However, you should discuss taking supplements with your doctor if you become pregnant as there may be certain risks that apply in your situation, as well as benefits.
Supplements are not the only sources of cysteine, which is the amino acid that N-acetyl cysteine mimics. Cysteine is found in foods with animal and vegetable proteins, such as meats, grains and beans. Animal products and beans tend to have more cysteine than grains. Recommended protein sources for pregnant and nursing women include fish, chicken, turkey, tofu, beans, nuts, low fat dairy products and eggs.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Drugs.com: Acetylcysteine Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Warnings
- Miscarriage Research: N-Acetyl Cysteine
- "Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica"; N-Acetyl Cysteine and Clomiphene Citrate for Induction of Ovulation in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Cross-over Trial; Badawy A, State O and Abdelgawad S.; 2007
- "Reproductive BioMedicine Online"; N-acetyl Cysteine for Treatment of Recurrent Unexplained Pregnancy Loss; Amin AF, Shaaban OM and Bediawy MA.; November 2008
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Cysteine
- Mayo Clinic; Polycystic Ovary Syndrome; December 2009
- YourMemoryMatters.com: Reducing Your Risk
- Human Resource Performance Center: Food Sources of Antioxidants
- CholineInfo.org: The Pregnancy Food Guide