N-Acetyl Cysteine May Support Emotional Health
By VRP Staff
A new study has found that N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) may improve depressive symptoms in bipolar patients.
One of the challenges people with bipolar disorder face is that they are subject to depression that is often treatment resistant. Furthermore, depletion of glutathione, an important antioxidant, is thought to complicate the symptoms of both depression and bipolar disorder. Consequently, scientists decided to investigate whether NAC, which is a precursor to glutathione, could improve the depressive component of bipolar disorder.
In the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers studied 75 subjects with bipolar disorder that was in the maintenance phase. Over 24 weeks, they gave the subjects 1 gram twice per day of NAC along with the subjects' usual medication. The study authors then judged the efficacy of NAC by noting how the subjects measured up on the Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). The researchers also looked at how the subjects did on the Bipolar Depression Rating Scale and 11 other ratings of clinical status, quality of life, and functioning.
According to the results, NAC caused a significant improvement on the MADRS depression rating scale and on a number of other measurements of depression. Improvements were lost when the subjects stopped taking NAC.
The researchers concluded, "NAC appears a safe and effective augmentation strategy for depressive symptoms in bipolar disorder."
Berk M, Copolov DL, Dean O, Lu K, Jeavons S, Schapkaitz I, Anderson-Hunt M, Bush AI. N-Acetyl Cysteine for Depressive Symptoms in Bipolar Disorder-A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Jun 4.