When it comes to weight loss and muscle building, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Just like with most areas of life, we each have our own specific needs, goals, and barriers that we must overcome to reach our full potential. One of the most popular and effective fitness and weight loss vehicles is celery juice. The health benefits and potential to aid in muscle building and weight loss have made celery juice almost a household name in the industry. While its popularity is certainly warranted, does celery juice really work, and is it worth the hype? Let’s examine the facts.
If you’ve never heard of celery juice, you may be wondering what makes it so special. Well, consider this: regular celery provides more than twice the antioxidants of a standard lemon, and its juice contains a molecule that aids in the body’s utilization of nutrients. When digested, this molecule helps facilitate greater nutrient absorption and thus, helps support the body’s natural metabolic processes. The substance is known as acetyl-cysteine, or more commonly, acetylcysteine for short. The scientific name for the substance is N-Acetylcysteine. While the substance itself is not new, its use in supplements and health foods is quite recent. This is largely because up until recently, supplements manufacturers have not had easy access to large quantities of the substance.
The History Of Acetylcysteine
As far back as 1847, scientists had theorized that the compound acetylcisteine has some ability to suppress the growth of tumors. In the 1930s and 1940s, cancer chemotherapy involved the use of drugs or radiation. This inevitably led to significant side effects and toxicity. Later in the decade, scientists discovered that certain amino acids could inhibit tumor cell proliferation. Since then, research has been focused on finding safe and effective alternatives to chemotherapy and radiation for cancer treatment.
How Does Acetylcysteine Work?
In the body, acetylcysteine is a precursor to the nutrient cysteine, which is essential for protein synthesis and formation of antioxidants such as glutathione. You need enough cysteine to make methionine and cystine, two compounds that are critical for the body’s cells to grow. When you have an adequate amount of cysteine available in your body, it will aid in the synthesis of other compounds, including collagen, which provides structural support to tissues.
The Promise Of Acetylcysteine
In clinical trials, acetylcysteine has shown promising results in boosting the body’s levels of cysteine and, subsequently, offering some protection from damage caused by free radicals. These are unstable molecules that can lead to cell damage and premature aging. When produced in large amounts in the body, free radicals can lead to a variety of health problems, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and more.
The Scientific Evidence
Many different research studies have examined the effects of acetylcysteine on the human body. A 2013 publication in the European Journal of Nutrition found that people who took either 600 mg or 1200 mg of the compound daily for three months showed significant increases in total cysteine levels. This corresponds with an increase in glutathione levels, which are important antioxidants that protect the body from damage caused by toxins, radiation, chemicals, and free radicals.
The Potential Of Acetylcysteine
Many supplements and health foods offer similar benefits to acetylcysteine, with some even boasting additional advantages. These include additional nutrient profiles that can boost the body’s overall health, energy levels, and mental capacity. Additionally, taking a supplement that contains acetylcysteine may help prevent or delay the onset of certain types of cancers and other diseases. Since most people are not exposed to enough nutrients and free radicals to sustain healthy growth, supplements that contain acetylcysteine may provide the body with the necessary building blocks for better health.
The Question Of Safety
Although acetylcysteine is relatively safe and approved for human consumption, there is some scientific data suggesting that large doses over prolonged periods of time may pose some risks. Specifically, large doses have been linked to a rare but potentially fatal type of liver damage. If you are going to supplement your diet with acetylcysteine, then make sure you consult your physician first and establish a safe dosage regimen. While there are no known cases of acetylcysteine overdose, it cannot be stressed enough the importance of establishing a correct dosage regime.
Does It Work?
The jury is still out regarding whether or not acetylcysteine supplements work. There are several possible reasons why more conclusive scientific evidence is not available. First, the compound was only recently introduced to the market and thus, may not have been thoroughly tested. Second, most of the research studies exploring the benefits of acetylcysteine have either been small in size or have had short follow-up periods. Third, most of the studies have been conducted on animals rather than humans. Last but not least, the efficacy of acetylcysteine may simply be undiscovered because it is a natural substance and thus, may not offer the same benefits as a compound that has been chemically synthesized and tested for safety and efficacy. In the end, additional human trials are necessary to confirm.
The Bottom Line
If you’re interested in trying out a natural product that may boost your health and help with weight loss, then consider giving celery juice a shot. Its popularity is certainly warranted; in fact, supplements and health food stores offer several different options that may help improve your life. Make sure you consult with a physician first and begin a regular dosage regimen. Then, you may find that celery juice is the key to your health and weight loss goals.