NAC, also known as N-acetylcysteine, is a powerful antioxidant that's been shown to support the respiratory system, liver function, and immune health. It also plays an important role in reducing excess mucus secretions and phlegm, making it useful for people with lung conditions like chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or cystic fibrosis. It may even reduce exacerbations (flare-ups) of COPD. NAC may also improve lung issues in people with steroid-resistant asthma or other forms of airway obstruction, and reduce the frequency of infections like the flu or cold.
NAC is an excellent antiviral agent that has been shown to reduce symptoms of influenza and the common cold. It is also a potent antioxidant and acts as a precursor to glutathione, an essential nutrient for many of the body's processes, including detoxification. It may be particularly helpful in counteracting the effect of acetaminophen on the liver (both acute high doses and long-term use destroy glutathione levels), and it is able to prevent or heal liver damage.*
Studies suggest that NAC can help control blood sugar and reduce insulin resistance, especially in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). It can also decrease inflammation in fat cells, which is linked to obesity and metabolic disorders.
As with any dietary supplement, it's best to consult a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner before adding n-acetylcysteine to your daily routine. It can interact with some medications and may cause side effects, such as gastrointestinal discomfort or nausea, in some people. It is also not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, and may interfere with some blood clotting drugs.