For more than three decades, a safe, low-cost compound has provided millions of people relief from the coughing, wheezing, and thick phlegm. Of course, pharmaceutical companies long ago co-opted it for profit by incorporating it into various patented drugs (primarily as a mucolytic / mucous-thinner). NAC comes from the sulfur-containing amino acid cysteine, and is a precursor for glutathione. Taken internally, NAC replenishes intracellular levels of the natural antioxidant glutathione, helping to restore our cells ability to fight damage from reactive oxidation.
The sad consequence is that most aging individuals have never heard of it. Even many doctors remain unaware of its potential role as a frontline defense against some of today’s most deadly public health threats, including:
1) COVID-19 by inhibiting formation of a pathogenic biofilm on the lungs, and helps any upper respiratory conditions by acting as an antioxidant and expectorant, loosening mucus in air passageway.
2) Acetaminophen toxicity and acute liver failure (#1 cause of acute liver failure in the US). Given intravenously or orally, NAC saves lives every year from poisoning with acetaminophen-containing pain-relieving drugs, Tylenol, Vicodin, Percocet and Opiates.
3) It can protect against H1N1 influenza and more common seasonal flu symptoms.
4) It reduces the frequency & duration of attacks of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
5) Reduces high levels of homocysteine in the blood.
6) Can help treat a certain type of epilepsy seizure.
7) It can inhibit certain types of cancer development, making it an important adjunct cancer chemo-preventive agent.
8) Inhibits Helicobacter pylori on two fronts, inhibiting the organism’s growth while reducing production of inflammatory cytokines that can lead to gastritis or ulcers.
NAC also regulates the gene for COX-2, the enzyme that produces pain- and inflammation-inducing prostaglandins in most chronic pain conditions. Its ability to replenish the intracellular glutathione supply and decrease oxidative damage is a separate, and equally powerful mechanism.
N-acetyl cysteine is also used for preventing alcoholic liver damage, and protection against environmental pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, chloroform, urethanes, certain herbicides, cancer treatment drugs Ifosfamide and Doxorubicin, and as a hangover remedy. It also helps with dry eyes.
600 mg NAC a day as an effective intervention for hay fever, and 1200-1800 mg a day for asthma, chronic bronchitis, COPD and URI (upper respiratory infections). 1600 mg of NAC for the treatment chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS); an autoimmune disorder called Sjogren’s syndrome; and for detoxifying heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and cadmium.