People have been interested in TUDCA and NAC supplements lately. Many have asked what these two supplements do and why they’ve become so popular. If perhaps you share these same sentiments, you have come to the right place—for we’re going to answer those questions right here!

In this article, we will carefully go over details regarding the two popular supplements: TUDCA and NAC. We will first discuss their characteristics, their various benefits, and possible catch, and then we’ll compare which is better. So without further ado, let’s get right into it.

What is TUDCA?

TUDCA (Tauroursodeoxycholic acid) is a bile salt naturally found in our body that is highly soluble in water. It is very effective in treating cholestasis, also known as liver bile acid backup. This is possible because water-soluble bile acids neutralize the toxicity of regular bile acids in our bodies. 

Aside from that, TUDCA can also protect and restore the liver, as well as protect bodily cells in general. However, the major function of this supplement is to prevent harmful bile acid from accumulating in the liver—which in turn could lead to damage to our cells and membranes. [1]

Due to those particular characteristics, many people take TUDCA as a preventative supplement to help them live a healthy life before health issues can even manifest.

The Benefits of TUDCA

What exactly does TUDCA do? Considering TUDCA is naturally found in our liver, one of the key areas of research we can gain from it is its probable advantages as a catalyst in treating liver disorders. The potential advantages of TUDCA supplementation are being studied in numerous ways, and these include the following: [2] [3] [4]

  • Reduction of stress in our body cells
  • Safeguarding the liver from possible complications
  • Rehabilitation of the liver, and;
  • Lowering cholesterol levels

Possible Safety Concerns Revolving Around TUDCA Supplements

When taken in the prescribed dosage, TUDCA supplements are widely regarded as safe. A few individuals might have suffered diarrhea while taking more than 1500 mg daily. But apart from that one problem, moderate TUDCA supplement intake has no other recorded negative effects.

Although it is still important to note that with the lack of studies on TUDCA supplementation in pregnant women and mothers who breastfeed—expecting mothers should avoid taking it. TUDCA may also interfere with your other medications. Therefore those with underlying medical issues should talk to their doctor before using it.

Now that we’re done going over what we need to know about TUDCA, let us now talk about NAC.

What is NAC?

Cysteine is a semi-essential amino acid that our body naturally produces. It can be obtained from protein-rich meals such as meat, eggs, and cheese. While NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) is the supplement counterpart of Cysteine that is commonly taken in the form of a capsule or tablet.

Human bodies aren’t naturally capable of producing NAC, and it cannot also be found in the food that we eat. Yet it nonetheless plays a crucial role in maintaining good health. NAC, like cysteine, forms glutathione, a potent antioxidant, by bonding with glutamine and glycine. [5]

Glutathione has various tasks in your body, including aiding in maintaining your immune system. [6]

NAC supplements can assist in balancing your normal cysteine levels. And it ensures that you have a sufficient amount in your system.

The Benefits of NAC

Ensuring you have enough cysteine and NAC in your body is vital for many health reasons. This includes replacing glutathione—your body’s most effective antioxidant. These amino acids help treat chronic respiratory diseases and infertility and improve mental health, among many others. [5] [6] [7]

Here are a few of NAC’s best health benefits:

  • It is necessary for the production of glutathione
  • The ability to increase glutathione levels may benefit immunological functionary diseases
  • It aids in cleansing the kidneys and liver to prevent or reduce infection
  • Aids in the easing of respiratory diseases
  • Improves cognitive performance by controlling glutamate levels and restoring glutathione levels
  • Both men and women can benefit from increased fertility
  • Blood sugar levels may be stabilized by reducing inflammation in fat tissues
  • By minimizing oxidative damage, it can possibly help lower the risk of heart diseases, and;
  • It has the potential to improve brain health and alleviate the effects of substance use disorders

Possible Side Effects of Using NAC

When administered as a prescription drug, NAC is pretty much safe for adult usage. High doses, on the other hand, might lead to diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and constipation. When inhaled, it could trigger mouth inflammation, runny nose, sleepiness, and tightness of the chest.

There are minimal documented drug interactions with NAC. It may, however, conflict with the efficiency of angina and diabetes treatments. NAC may also increase the effectiveness of nitroglycerin, perhaps contributing to vertigo and fainting. It may even result in hypoglycemia in diabetics.

Furthermore, people with bleeding disorders or those who take blood thinners should avoid taking NAC because it may delay blood coagulation. NAC has a foul odor that makes it difficult to eat. So if you decide to take it, make sure that you consult with your doctor beforehand.

Lastly, unsupervised usage of NAC may raise the probability of kidney stones manifesting on very rare occasions. [8]

And now, since we’ve already introduced ourselves to the supplements TUDCA and NAC, let’s try to enumerate all the differences they have with each other.

The Difference Between TUDCA and NAC

So, what actually makes TUDCA and NAC different from each other? Based on the previous information we disclosed earlier, both supplements have particular effects on the liver, although TUDCA medication focuses more on liver-related effects. Meanwhile, NAC supplements are generally used for respiratory difficulties and other medical problems.

When these supplements are taken simultaneously, you can expect improved liver functionality and overall health, which is why many individuals choose to combine them.

Bottomline: Which one is better—TUDCA or NAC?

So to finally address the elephant in the room, which of the two supplements is better than the other? Objectively speaking—we really can’t tell you that. Both TUDCA and NAC do amazing things on their own, despite having a common ground in maintaining liver health. We can only tell you that it depends on what you need most.

If your goal is to bring down high values of bile acid build-up, we suggest you take TUDCA supplements to help you with that. But if your goal is just to maintain normal bile acid levels and avoid its values from rising, try using NAC supplements if that’s the case.

All in all, a meticulous outlook on these types of products should still be practised as always. There is no easy way to better health except immersing yourself in medically accurate information. So do not forget to consult your doctor before making a final decision.

Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.

Editorial References and Fact-Checking

  • Zangerolamo L, Vettorazzi JF, Rosa LRO, Carneiro EM, Barbosa HCL. The bile acid TUDCA and neurodegenerative disorders: An overview. Life Sci. 2021 May 1;272:119252. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2021.119252. Epub 2021 Feb 23. PMID: 33636170.
  • Zangerolamo L, Vettorazzi JF, Solon C, Bronczek GA, Engel DF, Kurauti MA, Soares GM, Rodrigues KS, Velloso LA, Boschero AC, Carneiro EM, Barbosa HCL. The bile acid TUDCA improves glucose metabolism in streptozotocin-induced Alzheimer’s disease mice model. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2021 Feb 5;521:111116. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2020.111116. Epub 2020 Dec 13. PMID: 33321116.
  • Elia AE, Lalli S, Monsurrò MR, Sagnelli A, Taiello AC, Reggiori B, La Bella V, Tedeschi G, Albanese A. Tauroursodeoxycholic acid in the treatment of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Eur J Neurol. 2016 Jan;23(1):45-52. doi: 10.1111/ene.12664. Epub 2015 Feb 9. Erratum in: Eur J Neurol. 2017 Apr;24(4):659. PMID: 25664595; PMCID: PMC5024041.
  • Wang W, Zhao J, Gui W, Sun D, Dai H, Xiao L, Chu H, Du F, Zhu Q, Schnabl B, Huang K, Yang L, Hou X. Tauroursodeoxycholic acid inhibits intestinal inflammation and barrier disruption in mice with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Br J Pharmacol. 2018 Feb;175(3):469-484. doi: 10.1111/bph.14095. Epub 2018 Jan 3. PMID: 29139555; PMCID: PMC5773980.
  • Bavarsad Shahripour R, Harrigan MR, Alexandrov AV. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) in neurological disorders: mechanisms of action and therapeutic opportunities. Brain Behav. 2014 Mar;4(2):108-22. doi: 10.1002/brb3.208. Epub 2014 Jan 13. PMID: 24683506; PMCID: PMC3967529.
  • Forman HJ, Zhang H, Rinna A. Glutathione: overview of its protective roles, measurement, and biosynthesis. Mol Aspects Med. 2009 Feb-Apr;30(1-2):1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.mam.2008.08.006. Epub 2008 Aug 30. PMID: 18796312; PMCID: PMC2696075.
  • Minarini A, Ferrari S, Galletti M, Giambalvo N, Perrone D, Rioli G, Galeazzi GM. N-acetylcysteine in the treatment of psychiatric disorders: current status and future prospects. Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol. 2017 Mar;13(3):279-292. doi: 10.1080/17425255.2017.1251580. Epub 2016 Nov 2. PMID: 27766914.
  • Jaeschke H, Akakpo JY, Umbaugh DS, Ramachandran A. Novel Therapeutic Approaches Against Acetaminophen-induced Liver Injury and Acute Liver Failure. Toxicol Sci. 2020 Apr 1;174(2):159-167. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfaa002. PMID: 31926003; PMCID: PMC7098369.


  • Elijah Redoble

    Elijah enjoys creating content that educates and entertains at the same time. During the health-content writing process, Elijah takes extra care and precaution to craft research-backed articles that are helpful, educational, and relatable to readers from various walks of life. LinkedIn

  • Kim Monasterial, BSN

    Kim is a Registered Nurse and has been a medical freelance writer for more than six years. Starting off as a writer, Kim moved to proofreading and editing all the articles posted on HealthPlugged. She’s an enthusiast for health and wellness, being one to keep herself fit and adventurous for outdoor activities. LinkedIn


Elijah enjoys creating content that educates and entertains at the same time. During the health-content writing process, Elijah takes extra care and precaution to craft research-backed articles that are helpful, educational, and relatable to readers from various walks of life. LinkedIn