If you’ve got the get-up-and-go kind of gumption you need to be productive at work, enjoy your favorite pastime, or get the most out of your daily exercise, maybe that you would have to pay more attention. with self-care. While you’ll definitely want to make sure you’re getting enough sleep, you’ll also want to make sure you’re eating a proper diet. Given the latest findings from a recent study on ways to increase motivation and performance, you might even consider trying n-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) supplementation.
The study, published in eLife Sciences, teams at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne School of Life Sciences and the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences. Together, they first determined that study participants with higher levels of a protein called glutathione (GSH) performed better on tests that assessed their performance and effort.
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Then, the people behind the study used a proxy to reduce the effect of GSH on the rat’s system. As a result, the animals were less motivated and less successful when tested, even when a reward was provided. When the team then gave the critters the supplement n-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), the rats fared better when tested.
“N-acetyl-cysteine, the nutritional supplement we used in our study, can be synthesized in the body from its precursor cysteine,” said Professor Carmen Sandi from Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne explained, according to ScienceDaily. “Cysteine is found in ‘high protein foods’, such as meat, chicken, fish, or seafood. Other sources with lower content are eggs, whole grain foods such as breads and cereals, and some vegetables such as broccoli, onions, and legumes. “
“It’s true when they say ‘it’s all in the mind’ because the brain is the control center of the body,” Catherine Gervacio, RDregistered dietitian and Living.Fit contributor, explains Eat This, Not That! “The study not only gave us a case for how hard our brain is working 24/7, but also how stress affects it due to oxidative damage, and how GSH can help mood mind, especially in motivation.”
When it comes to whether you should be taking NAC supplements, according to Gervacio, “This is not necessary.”
“But it doesn’t hurt to try,” continues Gervacio. “Just make sure you’re well-guided by a health expert.”
“As a dietitian, I would still highly recommend sourcing NAC from foods,” she says. “You can get it from protein-rich foods like meat, fish, and chicken. It can also be found naturally in onions and garlic extract.”
Beyond that, Gervacio points out that “there are still more studies to provide evidence of GSH and how it affects the brain and motivation.”
“While we wait for more studies, let’s try to eat our macros and live a healthy lifestyle,” advises Gervacio “Motivation doesn’t just depend on nutrition, but on how you surround yourself with the right people to guide you through your health, well-being, mental, and psychological too.”