Acetylcysteine or otherwise known as N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is produced by amino acid l-cysteine. It is a substance that exists in a variety of nutritional supplements regarding lung health and nasal decongestion sprays, due to its actions.
What is NAC
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is one of the most important forms of L-cysteine. It is a precursor molecule of glutathione, one of the most powerful antioxidant molecules. Cysteine is available in foods such as oats, corn, cheese, yoghurt, white meat and eggs, but it does not exist in the form of NAC.
Traditionally, it is used to treat respiratory problems as mucolytic, in intravenous injections as an antidote to overdose of paracetamol, while in inhaled sprays to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Body can synthesize cysteine from methionine, a necessary amino acid or from metabolism of NAC. Cysteine is further metabolized to glutathione production which is one of the most important antioxidant mechanisms of cells. In particular, glutathione helps protect cells and DNA from oxidative damages caused by free radicals every day. For this reason, NAC is believed to have cardioprotective effects.
N-acetylcysteine has been found to have strong mucolytic properties. It helps reduce the symptoms of chronic bronchitis as it fluidises the phlegm and helps eliminate it. It is used to prevent and reduce the exacerbation and worsening of the symptoms of bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It helps to exacerbate and reduce the severity of coughing.
Hepato-protective properties of NAC are due to the increased ability of hepatic cells to metabolize toxic derivatives of drugs. It is used as an antidote in cases of paracetamol overdose. Similar hepatoprotective properties also occurs in alcoholic individuals.
It is recommended for people suffering from:
- chronic obstructive pulmonary syndrome or respiratory distress syndrome
- flu or cold with productive or dry cough
- liver disease
- cardiovascular disease
- diabetes type 2
Usual dosage is 600mg 1 to 3 times a day. It is recommended to consume 6-8 glasses of water in order to avoid the formation of kidney stones.
Side effects and interactions
Adverse effects have been reported like vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, discomfort in gastro-intestinal tract and peptic ulcer exacerbation. It is not advisable to be taken from children, pregnant adn breast feeding women.
In Vita4you you can find nutritional supplements with NAC.