Principal Proposed Uses
Other Proposed Uses
- Chemical Dependency (Cocaine)
- Chemotherapy Support
- Chronic Blepharitis
- Colon Cancer Prevention
- Female Infertility Caused by Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- HIV Support
- Liver Failure
- Pathological Gambling (Gambling Addiction)
- Protection Against Kidney Damage Caused by Contrast Agents
- Pulmonary Fibrosis
- Sjogren’s Syndrome
N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is a specially modified form of the dietary amino acid cysteine. When taken orally, NAC is thought to help the body make the important antioxidant enzyme glutathione. It has shown promise for a number of conditions, especially chronic bronchitis.
Optimal levels of NAC have not been determined. The amount used in studies has varied from 250 to 1,500 mg daily.
Note : Do not attempt to self-treat angina, acute respiratory distress syndrome, or acetaminophen poisoning! Medical supervision is absolutely essential because of the very real risk of death in these conditions.
What Is the Scientific Evidence for N-Acetyl Cysteine?
Individuals who have smoked cigarettes for many years eventually develop deterioration in their lungs leading to various symptoms, including chronic production of thick mucus. This so-called chronic bronchitis (closely related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ) tends to flare up periodically into severe acute attacks possibly requiring hospitalization.
It is not clear how NAC works (if it does); the old concept that it acts by thinning mucus may not be correct.
Interestingly, blood tests suggested that NAC did not prevent influenza infection—about as many people showed antibodies indicating influenza infection in the NAC group as in the placebo group. Rather, the supplement seemed to reduce the rate at which influenza infection became severe enough to cause noticeable symptoms. Tests of immune function hinted that NAC functioned by increasing the strength of the immune response.
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
Colon Cancer Prevention
As mentioned above, the combination of nitroglycerin and NAC can cause severe headaches. Safety in young children, women who are pregnant or nursing, and individuals with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking nitroglycerin , NAC may cause severe headaches.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 08/2013 -
- Update Date: 08/22/2013 -