Explore NAC's 20 Key Health Benefits: A Complete Guide

| Modified on Jan 24, 2024
NAC Health Benefits.

Renowned for its role in enhancing brain health, supporting liver function, improving respiratory conditions, and boosting immune response, N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a potent supplement gaining widespread recognition. This article explores NAC's diverse and impactful health benefits, highlighting its significance in promoting overall wellness, reducing inflammation, enhancing fertility, and protecting against oxidative stress.

What is N-Acetylcysteine (NAC)?

NAC is a modified form of the amino acid cysteine, known for its antioxidant properties. It's a building block for proteins and essential in replenishing the most powerful antioxidant in your body, glutathione.

Health Benefits of NAC

  1. Boosts Brain Health: NAC plays a crucial role in brain health. It helps regulate neurotransmitters and protects against neurodegenerative diseases.
  2. Supports Liver and Kidney Function: As a potent antioxidant, NAC is highly effective in detoxifying the liver and kidneys, thus enhancing their functionality.
  3. Improves Respiratory Health: NAC is beneficial for respiratory conditions, particularly in reducing symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other respiratory ailments. It is particularly beneficial in conditions characterized by excessive mucus production, such as during respiratory infections caused by viruses. NAC works by breaking the disulfide bonds within mucus proteins, reducing the mucus's viscosity and making it easier to expel. This can help alleviate symptoms like coughing and congestion.
  4. Enhances Immune System: Regular intake of NAC can strengthen your immune system, making it more efficient in warding off infections.
  5. Mental Health and Addictive Behaviors: NAC has shown promise in treating psychological disorders and reducing addictive behaviors, offering a new avenue for mental health treatment.
  6. Antioxidant Properties: By replenishing glutathione levels, NAC fights oxidative stress, thereby preventing cellular damage and aging.
  7. Fertility and Reproductive Health: NAC has been shown to improve fertility in both men and women. For men, it can enhance sperm quality, while in women, it can aid in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
  8. Cardiovascular Health: Regular NAC consumption may help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering oxidative stress and improving endothelial function.
  9. Skin Health: NAC's ability to replenish glutathione levels not only helps in detoxifying the body but also in maintaining healthy skin, potentially reducing signs of aging and skin inflammation.
  10. Muscle Recovery and Endurance: Athletes and those engaged in regular physical activity may find NAC beneficial for reducing muscle fatigue and enhancing endurance, thanks to its antioxidant properties.
  11. Blood Sugar Regulation: NAC can play a role in stabilizing blood sugar levels, making it a useful supplement for individuals managing diabetes or insulin resistance.
  12. Inflammation Reduction: Its anti-inflammatory properties make NAC effective in reducing chronic inflammation, a root cause of many diseases.
  13. Heavy Metal Detoxification: NAC can bind to heavy metals like mercury and lead, aiding in their removal from the body and reducing toxic load.
  14. Supports Mental Clarity and Focus: By regulating neurotransmitters, NAC may enhance cognitive functions, promoting mental clarity and focus.
  15. Reduction of Allergic Reactions: NAC has been found to reduce the severity of allergic reactions by modulating the immune system’s response.
  16. Protection Against Influenza: Some studies suggest that NAC may help reduce influenza symptoms and duration by boosting immune response.
  17. Improves Insulin Sensitivity: NAC can enhance insulin sensitivity, which is crucial for regulating blood sugar levels and maintaining metabolic health.
  18. Reduces Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety: NAC has shown potential in alleviating symptoms associated with mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, offering a complementary approach to mental health care.
  19. Cognitive Function in Neurodegenerative Diseases: NAC may have a positive impact on cognitive functions in individuals suffering from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, potentially slowing disease progression.
  20. Neuroprotection from Oxidative Stress and Inflammation: NAC provides neuroprotective benefits, safeguarding the brain from damage due to oxidative stress and inflammation, which are key factors in various neurological disorders.​

Dosage of N-Acetylcysteine (NAC)

General Guidelines:

  • Typical Dosage: NAC supplements are commonly available in doses ranging from 600 to 1800 mg per day. However, the appropriate dose can vary based on individual health needs and specific conditions.
  • Take With Food: Taking N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) with food can help reduce potential gastrointestinal disturbances. NAC, like many supplements and medications, can cause gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal discomfort in some individuals. Taking NAC with meals can help mitigate these side effects by buffering the stomach lining and reducing the direct irritative effects of the supplement on the stomach.
  • Medical Consultation: It's essential to consult with a healthcare provider before starting NAC, particularly for those with existing medical conditions or those taking other medications.
  • Gradual Introduction: Begin with a lower dose and gradually increase as necessary, observing how your body responds to the supplement.
  • Long-term Use: If NAC is used for an extended period, regular monitoring by a healthcare professional is advisable to assess its efficacy and safety.

Specific Conditions:

  • Respiratory Conditions: For conditions like chronic bronchitis or COPD, doses often range from 600 to 1500 mg per day, divided into several doses.
  • Mental Health Support: Dosage for mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety typically ranges from 600 to 2400 mg per day, as per clinical guidance.
  • Chronic Conditions and General Health: For chronic health issues or general antioxidant support, a typical dose ranges from 600 to 1200 mg daily.

Side Effects of N-Acetylcysteine (NAC)

Common Side Effects:

  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Some people may experience gastrointestinal discomfort, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.
  • Allergic Reactions: Rarely, NAC can cause allergic reactions, presenting as rash, itching, or difficulty breathing.
  • Headaches and Dizziness: A few individuals might experience headaches or dizziness, especially at higher doses.

Rare but Serious Side Effects:

  • Bronchospasm: In individuals with asthma, there's a rare risk of bronchospasm, especially when inhaled.
  • Liver Function: High doses of NAC, particularly in individuals with existing liver disease, may impact liver function.
  • Drug Interactions: NAC can interact with certain medications, including nitroglycerin and activated charcoal, potentially altering their effects.

Precautions:

  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: The safety of NAC during pregnancy or breastfeeding is not well established. Consult a healthcare provider before use.
  • Children: The use of NAC in children should be under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
  • Individual Sensitivity: Some people may be more sensitive to NAC, necessitating adjustments in dosage or discontinuation.

Where to Buy

NAC Life Extension: Life Extension N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC), immune, respiratory, liver health, potent antioxidant support, free-radicals, easy to absorb, 600 mg, 60 capsules. $11.40

NAC Pure Encapsulations: N-Acetyl Cysteine NAC Supplement for Lung Health & Immune Support, Liver Support & Antioxidants* - with Freeform N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine - 600 mg, 30 Capsules

NAC Bulk Powder: BULKSUPPLEMENTS.COM NAC Powder - N-Acetyl Cysteine 600mg, NAC Supplement, NAC 600 mg - Brain & Antioxidants Supplement - Gluten Free, 600 mg per Serving, 417 Servings, 250g (8.8 oz). $21.96

Take Away

In conclusion, N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a supplement that has been studied for its potential health benefits, including supporting liver health, respiratory health, brain health, and overall well-being. While the optimal dose can vary depending on the specific health condition being treated, doses ranging from 600 to 1800 mg per day have been used in clinical studies.

Continue reading below to learn how our readers used NAC to treat various health conditions, and please let us know how it helped you!




Blood Clots

1 User Review
1 star (1) 
  100%

Posted by Jill (Kentucky) on 02/05/2022
★☆☆☆☆

I have had 3 blood clots in my femoral artery. Two have been while taking NAC. I am now taking serrapeptase, nattokinase and lumbrokinase. These enzymes all work differently. Look into them and I think you will be happy. You can still get NAC at iHerb.

Replied by Tiffany
(Texas)
03/04/2023

Just curious, NAC is not indicated for blood clots, so what were you taking it for?

Replied by Brad
(Ontario)
09/14/2023

Are you saying that two of your blood clots went away while taking the NAC? I heard many good things about this in terms of "covids" and detoxing from a certain something something.

HisJewel
(New York)
09/15/2023

Greetings Brad,

It is not clear if the NAC helped Jill from the few words of the post; however she was certainly on to something. Look at the 2017 PubMed post below.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28487393/

EXCERPT:

Results: We demonstrated that intravenous NAC administration promotes lysis of arterial thrombi that are resistant to conventional approaches such as recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator, direct thrombin inhibitors, and antiplatelet treatments. Through in vitro and in vivo experiments, we provide evidence that the molecular target underlying the thrombolytic effects of NAC is principally the VWF that cross-link platelets in arterial thrombi. Coadministration of NAC and a nonpeptidic GpIIb/IIIa inhibitor further improved its thrombolytic efficacy, essentially by accelerating thrombus dissolution and preventing rethrombosis. Thus, in a new large-vessel thromboembolic stroke model in mice, this cotreatment significantly improved ischemic lesion size and neurological outcome. It is important to note that NAC did not worsen hemorrhagic stroke outcome, suggesting that it exerts thrombolytic effects without significantly impairing normal hemostasis.

Conclusions: We provide evidence that NAC is an effective and safe alternative to currently available antithrombotic agents to restore vessel patency after arterial occlusion.


High Blood Pressure

3 User Reviews
5 star (3) 
  100%

Posted by Jon (Tulsa, Oklahoma) on 10/24/2017
★★★★★

Art & Rebel,

I have been taking NAC for over 2 years and noticed my blood pressure had decreased (120/76). Prior, my pressure was 140/80 even on medication. I started taking meds for Hypertension when I was 35 years old. I am now 61 and have the best blood/lipid profile ive ever had in my life. My blood pressure is the lowest I've ever had with or without meds.

I attribute this to my experimentation with NAC, Turmeric etc. My doctor did not have a clue


High Blood Pressure
Posted by Art (Tustin, Ca. Usa) on 08/08/2012
★★★★★

My blood pressure has averaged around 130/85 for quite a few years, but in the past two years it has been inching up until it recently started hitting the 160/100 area despite regular use of magnesium, potassium, vitamin d and other supplements and vitamins as well as the apple cider vinegar/bs protocol which seemed to have no effect on my blood pressure. I also tried hibiscus tea as mentioned by others on this site, but that actually caused me to put on weight and worsened my high blood pressure....... I suspect, due to the sugar that I used to sweeten the tea. I've tried other ideas also, but to no avail and I didn't want to go on prescription drugs due to the potential negative side effects.

I recently read a 2008 study about people with diabetes and hypertension who were treated with a combination of arginine and n acetyl cysteine (nac), two commonly available substances at online vitamin sites.

http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/31/5/940.long

At the dosages used in this study, arginine and nac have a fairly good safety profile and from the study results, they not only lowered blood pressure, but produced side effects that were also positive such as lowering ldl cholesterol while raising hdl cholesterol (the good one) and lowering levels of adhesion molecules vcam1 and icam1. It also lowered high sensitivity crp, a common marker of inflammation in the body. Add in the antiatherosclerotic effects and it seems like a good combination so I started taking them two weeks ago. One drawback to this study is the small number of participants, but the results were striking enough to make me want to try it.

Nac by itself has hundreds of studies suggesting it has many health benefits in humans, some related to its efficacy as a potent antioxidant.

I just took my blood pressure reading and it was 123/83. I am taking more than what was used in the study, at least initially and plan to go down to the study dose after a month or so.

I take 600mg of nac with 1 gram of arginine, three times per day for a total of 1.8 grams of nac and 3 grams of arginine per day.

Art

Replied by Art
(Tustin, Ca. Usa)
08/24/2012
★★★★★

Just thought I would update as I have been taking the nac/arginine combination for almost a month now. I just took my blood pressure and the reading was 117/76 so this combination appears to be working very well for me and the first reading at two weeks of supplementing apparently was not a fluke at 123/83.

I also dropped my dose down to just twice a day instead of three times per day, so I am currently taking 600mg of nac with 1 gram of arginine two times per day for a total of 1,200mg of nac and 2 grams of arginine per day which is fairly close to the dosage used in that 2008 study.

Art


Lung Infection

1 User Review
5 star (1) 
  100%

Posted by Rob (Kentucky) on 10/06/2022
★★★★★

NAC N-Acetyl-Cysteine for Lung Disease

Recently I had a round with a lung infection. (I need to find a new hobby and stop going around sick people)

Things that did NOT work…. Nebulizing colloidal silver with grapefruit seed extract, nebulize and internally chlorine dioxide, homemade vapor rub, herbal blend tinctures….

Currently I started to take cayenne pepper in milk which really got the phlegm out and coughing up oysters (gross). But, I started to get a strange pain in my right lower lung (felt like a large mass of thick phlegm was stuck in the pipe and would not come up) this was causing me to be short of breath, lost of oxygen, feeling dizzy, pressure on my chest like someone was sitting on my chest. Sleeping flat on the bed caused coughing fit so I have to sleep in a incline position. The last few days were pretty ruff. O.K. at this point do I need to go to the ER?

I had been studying NAC for Reducing Respiratory Symptoms in Chronic Lung Disease (like Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis, COPD). It acts directly as a scavenger of free radicals, especially oxygen radicals and is a powerful antioxidant. Some people can't take NAC due to interaction with medications. If you're taking a blood thinning agent, anti-cancer drug, nitroglycerin, or metoclopramide then it is best to talk with your doctor before you begin this supplement as it can interact with these medications.

Being very sceptical that NAC wouldn't do anything for my situation, I ordered the cheapest bottle off amazon. 600mgx60 capsules. They arrived next day and I took my first dosage that nite to see how I would react.

Important: Keep in mind I'm still taking the cayenne pepper 40,000 SU.

Day 1 - The only side effect I had was lite headed and dizzy (not a known side effect). But the odd thing was I wasn't coughing and the pressure in my chest let up alittle. 1x600mg evening dose.

Day 2 – No dizziness and less coughing and less pressure. 1x600mg evening dose.

Day 3 (today) – I have felt amazing today. More energy. Occasional cough and mucus but no pressure all day. 1x600mg evening dose.

Based on my 3 day experiment, NAC is the real deal. Dr. Christopher the herbalist stated cayenne pepper was the “leader sheep”. Cayenne helped to ram other herbs deeper into the cells. I am hoping this explains the dizziness I was experiencing.

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5241507/

Source: https://drbrighten.com/nac-benefits/

Source: https://supplements.selfdecode.com/blog/nac-top-43-science-based-health-benefits-n-acetyl-cysteine-nac/

Source: http://www.whale.to/a/curing_with_cayenne.html


Prevents Flu and Colds

1 User Review
5 star (1) 
  100%

Posted by Jayna D. (Southern CA) on 02/20/2023
★★★★★

I have been taking Swanson Vitamins' NAC 600 mg. capsules since 2009 and have not had any flu, Coronavirus, and COVIDS since then. No flu shots either. It's about $10.00 a bottle. Child: 1/Day Adult: 2/Day This is a very good supplement for the whole body! I post publicly and freely on MeWe.


Pulmonary Fibrosis

2 User Reviews
4 star (2) 
  100%

Posted by Robert H. (Galveston, Texas) on 02/16/2016
★★★★☆

IPF: After a triple coronary bypass about 2011 about 3 months later I noticed a continuing discomfort around my upper left side of my chest. A referral by my cardiologist to a pulmonary specialist discovered my IPF. He prescribed an albuterol compound for my nebulizer and to sleep all night with oxygen. By my second lung function text it showed a rapid deterioration in my ability to process ambient air. The Dr. arranged for me to receive a new medication called Esbriet (54 mg daily)with little results.

I located a holistic doctor who is a board certified doctor of internal medicine with 29 years of experience caring for mostly refinery workers which fit my life profile perfectly. She put me on 1800 mg of Nac daily and later Nac liquid for my nebulizer. My last lung function test after about 3 months on this protocol showed about 7% improvement across the board, which pleased her greatly. She recommended that I consider 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide intravenously 2 times a week for the next 10 weeks. I have located someone who will do this and I will begin this treatment as soon as I save up the money. I'l let ya'll know what happens.


Pulmonary Fibrosis
Posted by Chris (Seattle, WA) on 12/31/2008
★★★★☆

NSIP Pulmonary Fibrosis:

Just diagnosed at mild to moderate stage, but had been taking NAC with Selenium twice a day and also herbal Clear Lungs, very helpful with breathing. I need it in the emergency dose of every 4 hours. The product does not claim to be a cure, but does claim to help breathing and it does and acts quickly as it claims. No side effects. My MD recommended Selenium via Brazil Nuts. My specialist prescribed more NAC, but also Prednisone, Azathioprine,whose side effects sound so horrific it seems I would be sicker than I am now.

The Albuterol spray was given at the testing site, to which I immediately felt ill and had a severe headache. I have severe congestion of the tonsils. Is this usual, the doc thought it was unrelated. I have to avoid wind, fans, forced hot air etc because it sets me off, also I have allergies.Particularly to dust and dairy.

I certainly intend to try your suggestions. Would love any input and advice. Blessings to all.