There’s no magic pill to stay lean and swole as you age. But researchers from Baylor College of Medicine have honed in on a supplement that may help you keep your bulging biceps and thin waistline well into your later years: GlyNAC.
Supplementing with GlyNAC—a combination of glycine and N-acetylcysteine—improves age-related defects and promotes a healthy aging process, according to a small study published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.
The researchers examined 24 older adults and 12 younger people who took GlyNAC dietary supplements for 16 weeks.
What they found: GlyNAC improved age-related defects in older people and promoted healthy aging in both groups by reducing oxidative stress from free radicals, glutathione deficiency, inflammation, insulin resistance (which puts you at risk for diabetes), and mitochondrial dysfunction (when mitochondria can’t pump out enough energy to keep your body functioning at its peak).
Older adults who supplemented with GlyNAC also had more muscle strength, lower blood pressure, and smaller waistlines. They were able to workout longer and walk faster (most people lose speed as they age).
“This [study] is the first randomized clinical trial of GlyNAC supplementation in older humans, and it found that a wide variety of age-associated abnormalities improved in older adults supplemented with GlyNAC, while no improvements were seen in those receiving placebo,” says corresponding author Dr. Rajagopal Sekhar, Professor of Medicine Baylor College of Medicine, in a press release.
How GlyNAC Supports Healthy Aging
GlyNAC’s benefits are rooted in its ability to keep mitochondria healthy and repair oxidative stress, say the study authors.
Mitochondria, if you remember from high school biology, are the powerhouses of the cell that produce energy.
As you age, your mitochondria lose steam and energy production declines. GlyNAC supplementation fills cells with younger and more efficient mitochondria.
“I believe that mitochondrial health is vitally important to your well-being, and maintaining mitochondrial health as we age should be a high priority in your efforts to improve overall health,” says Sekhar.
GlyNAC supplementation also improves oxidative stress, an imbalance between cell-damaging free radicals and antioxidants in your body.
Oxidative stress has been linked to a range of diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Plus, it may damage brain health and cognitive function, leading to Alzheimer’s disease.
Your body produces a natural antioxidant called glutathione, which protects your cells from oxidative stress. Problem is, as you age, your glutathione levels decrease.
Sekhar and his team found GlyNAC improved glutathione levels and lowered oxidative stress.
The “Power of 3”
GlyNAC is a natural solution to improve glutathione deficiency, says Sekhar, “because it provides the raw materials to help cells to make their own glutathione in just the right amount.”
To create glutathione, your body strings together three amino acids: one is glutamate; the other two are glycine and cystine, the building blocks of glyNAC.
Study authors credit GlyNAC’s ability to reverse aging and improve your overall health to these three components
“Glycine and cysteine are building blocks to form glutathione, which also has health benefits,” he says. “We believe that the improvements in this trial and in our previous studies are the result of the combined effects of glycine and NAC and glutathione, and we refer to this combination as the ‘Power of 3’.”