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NAC (N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine) - Research into Antiviral and Liver Detoxification Properties

NAC (N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine) - Research into Antiviral and Liver Detoxification Properties

N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine, or NAC, is the supplement form of the amino acid L-cysteine, which is an important precursor to one of the body’s most powerful antioxidants: glutathione. NAC has been shown to increase levels of glutathione in the body which is crucial for protecting your cells and optimizing your immune system. NAC has especially strong affinity for the lungs and respiratory tissues, acting as a protective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. NAC also works as an expectorant, thinning mucus in the airways and making it easier to expel. In fact, for more than 50 years NAC has been used clinically as an mucolytic drug.1 Decades of research, including double-blind, placebo-controlled trials have supported NAC’s ability to positively affect respiratory health.2,3 Recently, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the antiviral properties of NAC have been investigated and have shown promising results in NAC’s power to inhibit viral replication against SARS-COV-2 and other viruses and to reduce viral-induced lung inflammation.4,5

NAC’s prominent role in supporting detoxification means its effects are particularly concentrated in the liver and kidneys. NAC has the ability to protect the liver in the case of a drug overdose and is the standard protocol and only FDA approved drug used to reverse acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose.6 Beyond overdose protection, NAC supports and protects the liver as it removes damaging substances from the body including alcohol, pollutants, and harmful, oxidized fats from processed and fried foods.

Solutions 4 Health’s NAC 600 is formulated with a potent 600 mg NAC per vegetarian capsule along with essential trace mineral cofactors selenium and molybdenum to promote optimal absorption and utilization. Also available on Solution 4 Health’s website is pure NAC made by the premium brand Pure Encapsulations, in both 600 mg and 900 mg doses in a hypoallergenic formula without any additives. All of these products are discounted for members and ship for free to anywhere in the continental United States.

Benefits of NAC:

  • Precursor to glutathione, one of the body’s most powerful antioxidants
  • Supports respiratory health by providing antioxidant protection and reducing inflammation 
  • Acts as a potent expectorant, thinning and loosening mucus 
  • Improves immune function and lymphocyte activity 
  • Potentially inhibits viral replication
  • Protects the liver from drug overdoses, alcohol, and other harmful substances

References:

1 De Flora, S., Grassi, C., & Carati, L. (1997). Attenuation of influenza-like symptomatology and improvement of cell-mediated immunity with long-term N-acetylcysteine treatment. The European respiratory journal, 10(7), 1535–1541. https://doi.org/10.1183/09031936.97.10071535

2 Grandjean, E. M., Berthet, P., Ruffmann, R., & Leuenberger, P. (2000). Efficacy of oral long-term N-acetylcysteine in chronic bronchopulmonary disease: a meta-analysis of published double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials. Clinical therapeutics, 22(2), 209–221. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0149-2918(00)88479-9

3 Tirouvanziam, R., Conrad, C. K., Bottiglieri, T., Herzenberg, L. A., Moss, R. B., & Herzenberg, L. A. (2006). High-dose oral N-acetylcysteine, a glutathione prodrug, modulates inflammation in cystic fibrosis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103(12), 4628–4633. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0511304103

4 La Maestra, S., Garibaldi, S., Balansky, R., D'Agostini, F., Micale, R. T., & De Flora, S. (2022). Inhibition of the Cell Uptake of Delta and Omicron SARS-CoV-2 Pseudoviruses by N-Acetylcysteine Irrespective of the Oxidoreductive Environment. Cells, 11(20), 3313. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells11203313

5 Izquierdo-Alonso, J. L., Pérez-Rial, S., Rivera, C. G., & Peces-Barba, G. (2022). N-acetylcysteine for prevention and treatment of COVID-19: Current state of evidence and future directions. Journal of infection and public health, 15(12), 1477–1483. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jiph.2022.11.009

6 Akakpo, J. Y., Ramachandran, A., Curry, S. C., Rumack, B. H., & Jaeschke, H. (2022). Comparing N-acetylcysteine and 4-methylpyrazole as antidotes for acetaminophen overdose. Archives of toxicology, 96(2), 453–465. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00204-021-03211-z