Benefits and Side Effects of NAC
2. Treats drug overdose and withdrawal symptoms
3. Reduces nicotine craving
4. Decreases alcohol withdrawal symptoms and reduces the risk for relapse of alcoholism. It might also be beneficial in cannabis withdrawal.
5. Protects the liver from damage due to acetaminophen overdose, which can be life-threatening. It also reduces death in people with liver failure.
6. Treats bile duct blockage and gallstones by dissolving them or at least making them smaller, allowing for easier passage through the intestines.
7. May protect against heart disease, lung cancer, and Parkinson’s Disease.
8. Improves symptoms of fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME), fibromyalgia, tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
9. Reduces Helicobacter pylori infections.
10. Reduces allergic reactions to pollen, dust mites, bee, or wasp stings.
11. Relieves symptoms of eczema in children with no known side effects.
12. Improves insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics who have failed to achieve reasonable blood glucose control.
13. Prevents cancer from spreading to other parts of the body by inhibiting a specific gene, SCC1.
14. Reduces osteoarthritis symptoms.
15. Helps with side effects from taking HIV drugs.
16. Helps with Hepatitis C symptoms.
17. May treat autism (a small study found NAC reduced repetitive behavior in one-third of the autistic patients who took it).
18. Has anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, antioxidant, and wound healing properties.
19. Is an effective treatment for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection.
20. As effective as acetaminophen in relieving pain and even safer.
21. May be helpful for patients with systemic scleroderma, lichen sclerosis, and autoimmune conditions.
22. Has antidepressant-like effects in mice with Parkinson’s Disease, but it is unclear if it will be helpful for depression in humans.
23. One study found NAC reduced dopamine levels in healthy people, explaining the antidepressant effect. Still, other studies haven’t seen this occur (in the body, NAC produces glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter that could help depression).
24. Inhibits cancer cell growth in the blood and bone marrow. It has been tested in head and neck cancer patients to reduce tumor recurrence but was only effective when combined with traditional chemotherapy.
25. Can be a helpful complementary treatment for multiple sclerosis.
What is NAC:
NAC (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is a nucleotide derived from vitamin B3 and found in every cell of the body. Small amounts of NAC are synthesized in our bodies and it can be found as a nutritional supplement.
Your body also converts it into glutathione, one of its most important internally produced antioxidants. NAC boosts glutathione levels, helping your body fight off toxins and free radicals.
L-cysteine is the only nonessential amino acid that is also a precursor for glutathione synthesis. Glutathione itself cannot pass through the blood-brain barrier to protect brain cells, but NAC can.
NAC benefits to the skin:
NAC (N-acetyl-cysteine), an amino acid, is a precursor of glutathione and is used as a dietary supplement. NAC demonstrates antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptotic effects and is extensively researched for its therapeutic value in the prevention and treatment of many diseases such as chronic bronchitis, COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, emphysema, and cystic fibrosis.
NAC has been found to have antioxidant effects that are similar to those of vitamin E. It inhibits lipid peroxidation and can block the depletion of glutathione in cells induced by toxic compounds. These effects have led researchers to explore NAC’s usefulness in preventing heart disease, liver damage, cancer, and other diseases caused by oxidative stress.
Animal studies have indicated that NAC could be helpful for conditions such as intestinal ischemia and reperfusion, skin blistering due to chemicals or burns, kidney transplant rejection, lung damage from oxygen toxicity during anesthesia, and liver disease.
The antioxidant effects of NAC prevent oxidative damage and may offer protection against free radicals and other noxious substances. NAC may be able to protect the body against disease by increasing glutathione or acting as a substitute for it. Glutathione is an important antioxidant that protects cells from free radicals.
Inhalation of chlorine gas causes damage to the bronchiolar lining and pulmonary edema. Inhalation of H2S causes oxidative stress and injury to the upper respiratory tract. The effects of pretreatment with NAC were evaluated in animal studies using chlorine gas or hydrogen sulfide inhalation.
Pretreatment with NAC resulted in a decrease in bronchiolar epithelial damage and pulmonary edema, as well as a reduction in lipid peroxidation and glutathione levels in the lung. Pretreatment with NAC also led to a significant increase in the level of antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase.
NAC dosage for liver:
Liver disease has to be diagnosed by liver biopsy. This test may be very painful, if not impossible for infants. But the standard blood tests are often accurate enough to confirm a suspected diagnosis of liver disease.
The typical NAC dosage for the prevention of liver damage is 600-900mg daily. The typical dose for acetaminophen overdose is 10,000mg.
NAC side effects:
Allergies to NAC or cysteine-containing foods or other ingredients might occur in people sensitive to sulfites. Some medications such as the cancer chemotherapy drug cisplatin cause oxidative damage and may necessitate a reduced dosage of NAC during treatment. People taking NAC should avoid procedures or agents such as toothpaste, mouthwash, and other drugs that contain sulfur compounds.
NAC dosage for hair:
The typical NAC dosage for hair loss is 600mg daily. There are no known interactions between NAC and topical treatments like minoxidil (Rogaine) or finasteride (Propecia).
NAC dosage for kidney:
In kidney disease, there is a buildup of uric acid in the blood. NAC dosage for this is 1200mg daily. In some cases, an additional 200mg may be given to increase effectiveness. There are no known interactions with topical treatments such as those used to treat hair loss.
NAC dosage for lung:
The typical NAC dosage for lung toxicity and smoke inhalation is 600mg daily. NAC may also benefit people who experience smoke inhalation injury during a fire, especially when used with selenium.
NAC Dosage for Muscle:
The typical NAC dosage to prevent fatigue in athletes is 1200-2400mg per day; however, one study found that lower doses of NAC (400mg twice daily) were just as effective at reducing fatigue in athletes. There are no known interactions between NAC and other treatments typically used for muscle fatigue.