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Influence of N-Acetylcysteine Supplementation on Physical Performance and Laboratory Biomarkers in Adult Males: A Systematic Review of Controlled Trials

Articles   |   26 June 2023 Date   |  

Autores: Diego Fernández-Lázaro, Carlos Domínguez-Ortega, Natalia Busto, Mirian Santamaría-Peláez, Enrique Roche, Eduardo Gutiérez-Abejón and Juan Mielgo-Ayuso.

Abstract: N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is used as a sports supplement for its ability to modulate exerciseinduced oxidative damage through its antioxidant actions and maintenance of glutathione homeostasis, positioning NAC as a strategy to improve physical performance. We aimed to evaluate the current evidence on the benefits of NAC supplementation on physical performance and laboratory biomarkers in adult men. Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, we systematically reviewed studies indexed in the Web of Science, Scopus, and PubMed to assess the effects of NAC on physical performance, laboratory biomarkers, and adverse effects in adult men. Original articles published up to 30 April 2023 with a controlled trial design comparing NAC supplementation with a control group were included. The modified McMaster Critical Review Form for Quantitative Studies was used as an assessment tool and the Cochrane Risk of Bias was applied. Of the 777 records identified in the search, 16 studies met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Overall, most of the trials reported beneficial effects of NAC supplementation and no serious adverse events were reported. Participants supplemented with NAC showed significant improvements in exercise performance, antioxidant capacity, and glutathione homeostasis. However, there was no clear evidence of beneficial effects of NAC supplementation on haematological markers, inflammatory response, and muscle behaviour. NAC supplementation appears to be safe and may regulate glutathione homeostasis, have antioxidant effects, and improve exercise performance. However, further studies are needed to clarify the relevance of its use.


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