N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
Potent Antioxidant, Glutathione Precursor and Mucolytic
NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) is a form of the amino acid cysteine which is found in food and
is also made by the body. NAC is a:
- precursor to glutathione, a powerful antioxidant (1-8)
- potent free-radical scavenger (9-15)
- "mucolytic" (mucous-dissolving) agent (16-18)
NAC is used in conventional medicine to treat acetaminophen overdose, chronic bronchitis and COPD.
Uses of NAC include:
- Chronic bronchitis - NAC is a safe and effective treatment to reduce the thickness of mucous.(16-18) A review of 39 clinical trials found the number of aggravations of chronic bronchitis was reduced in 50% of people who took NAC at a dose of 400-600mg per day. (19)
- COPD - NAC supplies antioxidant protection to the lung and helps break down thick mucous, making it useful in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). NAC was ineffective for COPD in patients taking steroids. (9,14-16)
- Parkinson's disease - NAC decreases the negative side effects of Levodopa and also decreases free radical production. (7, 20)
- Infertility - as an adjuvant to clomiphene citrate in infertile patients with PCOS, NAC treatment results in higher ovulation and pregnancy rates, lower miscarriage rates and higher live birth rates. (21-24)
- Kidney failure / hemodialysis. NAC improved residual renal function in patients on dialysis in a pilot study. (25)
- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) - one study showed that NAC reduced inflammation and inflammatory cytokines in the small intestine. (26)
- Liver Protection. Studies have found that NAC prevents liver damage due to environmental toxins, anaesthesia and elevated cholesterol levels.(12, 27)
- Lupus - a pilot study shows that NAC may be helpful in lupus by blocking mTOR in T lymphocytes.(28)
- Melanoma prevention. NAC reduces oxidative stress caused by UV-radiation.(29)
- Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. Both diseases are associated with glutathione depletion. Adding NAC to drug treatment improved depression in bipolar patients and overall symptoms in schizophrenic patients. (1-3,6)
- Sickle Cell Anemia - NAC may decrease sickle cell crisies. (10)
- Cancer Prevention. (30)
Typical doses used for COPD, bronchitis and respiratory mucous are 600mg per day. Other studies have used 600-4,800 mg per day in divided doses. Most studies use 600-1,200mg per day. Rare side effects include nausea, usually only seen at the highest doses.
1 cap, 1-2 times per day or as directed by a physician.
Each (one) capsule contains:
NAC (N-Acetyl L-Cysteine) ...................... 600 mg
gelatin capsule (gelatin and water) and rice flour.
Product #N359 (60 Capsules) $16.97
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N-acetyl cysteine for depressive symptoms in bipolar disorder--a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Sep 15;64(6):468-75. Epub 2008 Jun 5.
2.) Berk M, Copolov D, Dean O, Lu K, Jeavons S, Schapkaitz I, et al. N-acetyl cysteine as a glutathione precursor for schizophrenia--a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Sep 1;64(5):361-8. Epub 2008 Apr 23.
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13.) Koksel O, Ozdulger A, Ercil M, Tamer L, Ercan B, Atik U, Cinel L, Cinel I, Kanik A.
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The effect of N-acetylcysteine on pulmonary lipid peroxidation and tissue damage. J Surg Res. 2005 Nov;129(1):38-45.
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18.) Tattersall AB, Bridgman KM, Huitson A. Acetylcysteine (Fabrol) in chronic bronchitis—a study in general practice. J Int Med Res 1983;11:279–84.
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21.) Badawy A, State O, Abdelgawad S.N-Acetyl cysteine and clomiphene citrate for induction of ovulation in polycystic ovary syndrome: a cross-over trial. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2007;86(2):218-22.
22.) Nasr A. Effect of N-acetyl-cysteine after ovarian drilling in clomiphene citrate-resistant PCOS women: a pilot study. Reprod Biomed Online. 2010 Mar;20(3):403-9. Epub 2009 Dec 14.
23.) Rizk AY, Bedaiwy MA, Al-Inany HG. N-acetyl-cysteine is a novel adjuvant to clomiphene citrate in clomiphene citrate-resistant patients with polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertil Steril. 2005 Feb;83(2):367-70.
24.) Salehpour S, Akbari Sene A, Saharkhiz N, Sohrabi MR, Moghimian F. N-acetylcysteine as an adjuvant to clomiphene citrate for successful induction of ovulation in infertile patients with polycystic ovary syndrome. J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2012 Apr 30. doi: 10.1111/j.1447-0756.2012.01844.x. [Epub ahead of print]
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Use of oral N-acetylcysteine for protection of melanocytic nevi against UV-induced oxidative stress: towards a novel paradigm for melanoma chemoprevention. Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Dec 1;15(23):7434-40. Epub 2009 Nov 17.
30.) Mates JM, Segura JA, Alonso FJ, Marquez J. Sulphur-containing non enzymatic antioxidants: therapeutic tools against cancer. Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 2012 Jan 1;4:722-48.