How Effective Are N-Acetyl Cysteine Supplements?

What Is N-Acetyl Cysteine And What Are Its Main Effects?

N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) supplements have in recent years become a very popular choice for people suffering a wide range of ailments and conditions. It is able to help with such a broad range of problems thanks to the Cysteine – an amino acid – being converted within the body to Glutathione – an especially powerful antioxidant.

Antioxidants are essential to the body being able to fight off free radicals that damage cells and DNA. As the body becomes more damaged it is believed that it correspondingly ages quicker too, as well as becoming more susceptible to chronic illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. Therefore, NAC taken in quantity is thought to be able to hinder the progress of a number of such diseases emerging, and also help arrest the severity of the ailment when it is already present.

An additional benefit is that NAC is also believed to be potent at helping prevent damage from adverse reactions to drugs or chemicals, including the damage caused by intoxicants. While not unique as a supplement offering such a positive whole-spectrum boost to the body’s defense, it is thought as being one of the best not only thanks to it’s next to universal positive benefits that it offers but, also, because it is very affordable too.


Much of the advancement in addressing free radicals has been thanks to developments in understanding how amino acids play an interrelated role with DNA in protecting the body. As seen above research has been long term and looks set to continue well into the future.

What Are The Benefits Of N-Acetyl Cysteine?

NAC is a crucial resource in producing the intracellular antioxidant, Glutathione, that is essential to fighting the free radicals that cause ill health and contribute towards the aging process. Taken consistently over time there have been many trials that have shown people taking the NAC supplement are less prone to a huge range of illnesses.

These conditions include Influenza (including H5N1), Angina, Acetaminophen poisoning, Bronchitis, Pulmonary Disease, Respiratory Distress Syndrome to name just a few. All of these are conditions that tend to become far more likely over the course of old age, and there is even some evidence emerging that that Cysteine protein can play a significant role in reducing the capacity for free-radicals to cause cancer.

Essentially, NAC helps to support every aspect of the body from the circulatory to the respiratory and the auto-immune. It can be of particular use for people who do not consume enough protein in their diets, for naturally occurring NAC is found usually in meats, dairy, and certain whole cereals. Those with allergies or who opt out of such food groups would be well advised to consider undertaking NAC supplementation derived entirely from artificial sources.

NAC is often used to treat those suffering from toxicity and poisoning and has even been shown to be effective in treating those suffering from carbon monoxide inhalation.

Recommended Dosage

Recommended dosages vary according to whether there is a specific condition being addressed or if the NAC is being taken purely as a supplementary health benefit. Those looking to use NAC as a remedial solution ought to take advice from their medical practitioner as there is an outside chance that it may cause complications with certain medications. Also, they will need to measure an appropriate dose as it can vary considerably depending upon the illness.

Otherwise, healthy individuals looking to take NAC as a healthy supplement are usually advised to take 600mg once or twice a day. When taking a single dose it’s believed that it’s most effective taken before going to sleep and ideally on an empty stomach.

When being used to treat toxic effects it’s believed that an initial dose of 140mg subsequently followed up by several 70mg doses works best – but in these conditions, it ought to be performed by an MD as an IV may be required for the treatment to be effective.

NAC can be prescribed in an aerosol or liquid format should a health condition require it but is most commonly taken either in powder or capsule form.

Side Effects

The major potential side effects that can arise through NAC are all avoidable and will only occur through a reaction with current medication or supplements. This is why those with underlying health issues are best advised to gain the go-ahead from their doctors first of all.

NAC is known to have issues when used alongside medications that specifically suppress the immune system, Nitroglycerin and Isosorbide (can cause very low blood pressure), Oxiconazole and also Activated Charcoal.

Long-Term Use

Otherwise healthy people who either don’t take regular medication or have been cleared to take NAC by their doctor should have a considerably reduced likelihood of developing a range of potentially chronic illnesses. While one supplement cannot solve every issue, NAC has shown itself to be constructive and protective when taken under appropriate circumstances.

Short-Term Use

NAC is thought to be very effective at treating short term illnesses or toxicity caused through ingestion of alcohol/drugs. As under both of these circumstances the body requires a boost to help the immune system recover and remove the imposing elements, NAC is believed to be a very useful aid when taken appropriately and responsibly.


A great deal of research has been and is being carried out regarding NAC. From autism to traumatic brain injuries and everything in between, here are a few of the most notable findings and ongoing studies: Major NAC effects include improved focus memory and mood, as well as an increased ability to handle stress.

Detailed research has demonstrated that people taking a standard dose of NAC were considerably less likely to fall ill to the influenza strain of any form compared to those in the sample taking a placebo. Further studies have shown that in regards to cancer NAC seems to be especially beneficial to those suffering or at risk of developing colonic or lung based forms of the disease.

Recent trials with HIV/AIDS have yet to be repeated with concurrent success, although it is hoped that in some form NAC may have a helping role to offer.

In terms of mental health, studies have shown positive reactions from people suffering schizophrenia. Also, there have been successful trials with helping those suffering from drug dependency and toxic withdrawal symptoms.

Legal Status

NAC supplements are widely available. Prescriptions are required for certain forms of application.

Final Thoughts

Not only is NAC a wide-ranging and seemingly highly effective supplement for promoting overall good health, but it is also easily available and comes with very few potential ramifications. Most likely it is one of the best forms of health supplement available, just be sure to avoid any potential clash with existing medications.

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