Last updated: October 20th, 2019 As someone who’s constantly looking for the next edge in health and wellness, I’ve recently compared using Milk Thistle vs. NAC to help detoxify my liver and improve my health.
Most people still don’t realize that detoxifying your liver could be the #1 key to amplifying your overall quality of life as a whole. Your liver is that important. It’s responsible for flushing out all of the nasty toxins that your body takes in on a daily basis, and keeping your brain working at peak performance.
While I want to take great care of my liver, I don’t want to overexert it by taking too many liver supplements. So, I had to choose one.
To help my liver, and improve my overall health, I knew that it would come down to the battle of Milk Thistle vs NAC Sustain. This is what I found.
Milk Thistle vs. NAC introduction
Both milk thistle and NAC have been shown to boost levels of glutathione in the body.
Dr. Mark Hyman claims that glutathione is the most important molecule in your body. He says this because glutahione is a key antioxidant that can help you fight chronic stress, prevent modern disease, limit cognitive decline, and greatly improve your quality of life.
So, deciding to take milk thistle or NAC could be one of the most significant decisions that you make for your brain and body.
In my experiment, I decided to test Jarrow Milk Thistle vs. Jarrow N-A-C Sustain. I’ve personally used both of these supplements, and I can now report on my experience using them.
Benefits of taking Jarrow Milk Thistle
Out of all of my research, Milk Thistle seems to be one of the safest natural herbs that someone can take.
Jarrow Formulas Milk Thistle is an extract of milk thistle seed flavonoids which can improve glutathione levels, and therefore improve your liver function.
According to Dr. Axe, milk thistle is regularly used to treat immune system disorders, liver damage and gallbladder disease. Milk thistle is also commonly used to protect the liver from alcohol toxicity.
Overall, it’s an amazing natural herb that protects and detoxifies your body.
Because milk thistle is well-studied and usually considered safe to supplement with at appropriate doses, milk thistle has become a go-to supplement for improving liver health around the world.
It’s easy to use, readily available and just plain effective.
Downsides of taking Jarrow Milk Thistle
There are very few downsides to taking Jarrow Milk Thistle.
But, the most common complaint people have about milk thistle is that it’s hard to tell if it’s working or not.
I find this to be a reasonable complaint based on my own experience supplementing with Jarrow Milk Thistle.
You won’t feel anything happen immediately after taking a milk thistle supplement. But, if you’re in touch with your body, you will gradually feel milk thistle working over time.
Depending on what kind of food you eat, and how healthy you are, it can also take some time for milk thistle to help detoxify your liver and body. Give it at least 30 days before you try to see how milk thistle has ‘changed’ you.
You ultimately just have to trust that when you take milk thistle, you’re supplementing with a natural herb that has been safely used for thousands of years. People wouldn’t continue to use milk thistle to this day if it wasn’t effective.
It’s also nice to keep in mind that Jarrow Formulas is a trusted manufacturer of supplements. I only use a few brands of supplements, and Jarrow is one of them.
Benefits of taking Jarrow N-Acetylcysteine (N-A-C) Sustain
N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) is a precursor to glutathione, just as milk thistle is.
The major benefit of taking NAC is that it can improve your liver function, respiratory function (breathing), and oxidative stress. Even more interestingly, NAC has also been shown to improve psychiatric conditions like schizophrenia, OCD and bipolar disorder.
So, in addition to NAC detoxifying your liver, it can also help to prevent mental issues from popping up, which may or may not run in your family’s DNA. But when it comes to your mental health, it’s always nice to stay on the safe side. If you have some wacky stuff going on in your family tree like I do, then there’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Anxiety runs in my mom’s side of the family, and I have an uncle with some severe mental problems too. I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD, although I’m lucky that I’ve been able to take control of my condition.
Here are the benefits that I personally experience from taking Jarrow Formulas NAC Sustain:
- Less anxiety
- Clear airway passes (easier to breathe – as I have severe allergies and some sinus issues)
- Quiet mind (less racing thoughts)
- Improved mood
- More focus
- Less ADHD symptoms
That’s why it’s safe for me to say that NAC plays a massive role in helping me. There’s also a fair chance that NAC could help you out too.
Downsides of taking Jarrow N-Acetylcysteine (N-A-C) Sustain
NAC isn’t as straightforward of a supplement as milk thistle is. You have to do your best to figure out if NAC will work for you before you dive right in and order the supplement. That’s NAC’s greatest downside.
Don’t worry though. It’s well worth figuring out if you’re a good candidate to take NAC or not.
For example, it’s important to know that there have been reports that using NAC can increase your blood pressure. If you’re at risk of having high blood pressure, then you shouldn’t use NAC.
One popular study also showed that high doses of NAC caused pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) in mice. Although, most specialists agree that this side effect wouldn’t be recreated in humans. The mice were given astronomically high doses of NAC in this particular study (10 grams per day), which is far beyond the level recommended for even human consumption.
I actually discovered a comment hidden in a thread on the Longecity forum that does a great job explaining NAC’s perceived downsides:
I don’t think there’s another “base” supplement (it’s an amino acid) that has more perceived uncertainty around it than NAC. I’ve yet to see epidemiological evidence of any dangers other than possible PAH from either acute dosage or long-term supplementation. The negative studies that people sometimes reference are almost always irrelevant — bathing nematodes in ultra-high NAC solutions or cell-line studies using similarly outlandish concentrations.
On the other hand the positive effects of NAC in real, walking-around humans are astounding. Slashing homocysteine levels in the blood, dramatically reducing incidence of flu (your immune system uses a lot of glutathione), raising GSH levels in blood of the elderly to that of youth, and on. Pretty amazing stuff. In the flu study they gave 1,200mg daily for six months to the elderly and reported it was “well tolerated.”
And yet it is somehow often regarded with suspicion on this forum even though it is one of the more studied supplements out there.
Personally I take 600mg/day a few times a week. If I’m going out drinking I’ll pop a few. Hangover – tremendously reduced.
Here’s what Dr. Mercola has to say about using NAC safely:
My biggest concern is the use of NAC by cancer patients who think it is helping – when in fact it may be harmful to them by protecting cancer cells and counteracting what potential benefit they may get from some conventional treatments. It’s a thorny issue.
So, if used therapeutically, it should be used in low doses for ‘prevention.’ High doses should be restricted to disease/stress states that have high likelihood of high reactive oxygen species generation (such as trauma, certain types of infection, malnutrition, and certain types of toxicity).
Dr. LaValley feels that 200-500mg once a day is probably ok in most non-cancer cases. NAC is an important consideration for inclusion, at some reasonable dose, in anti-aging formulas.
If you’re on medication, or have a health condition, it’s going to be safest for you to check with a medical professional before taking NAC.
If you’re a generally healthy person, the consensus seems to be that most people may benefit from taking micro doses of NAC.
200-500mg of NAC once a day could be the sweet spot, according to Dr. LaValley.
Jarrow Milk Thistle vs. NAC Sustain conclusion
Overall, Milk Thistle and Jarrow NAC Sustain are both quality supplements with similar purposes.
They both help you boost your level of glutahione, and improve your overall quality of life.
Here are my final thoughts on the milk thistle vs. NAC showdown:
- Jarrow Milk Thistle is one of the safest supplements for detoxifying your liver and body. There are almost no negative reports in regards to using milk thistle. This is a safe supplement for the vast majority of people
- Jarrow NAC Sustain is a liver and body detoxification supplement that is more powerful than milk thistle. It’s best for people who have used milk thistle, or know about milk thistle, and want something more than milk thistle can provide.
- NAC also has has the benefit of treating the symptoms of certain mental illnesses, so it has amazing potential in the field of psychiatry (much which we still don’t even know about).
It’s up to you to decide which supplement you decide to go with.
As for me, I’ll continue to supplement with 600mg of NAC Sustain a few times per week. Because just as the doctor is quoted saying above, using a therapeutic daily dose of NAC is “probably OK in most non-cancer cases”.
This means that you could absolutely benefit from supplementing with NAC as early as today.