N-Acetylcysteine supplement, antioxidant, uses, health benefits, dosages, side
effects, safety, and risks - ZHION.COM updated on June 6, 2011
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is made of a cysteine and an acetyl group. It is a cysteine prodrug and it
can be used for glutathione (GSH) replenishment.

What contains n-acetylcysteine?
Garlic is a good source of n-acetylcysteine.

N-acetylcysteine is a source of sulfhydryl groups, it has been used to supply glutathione - a strong
antioxidant. It appears to benefit people at risk of certain infections, cancers, heart diseases, and
respiratory illnesses. Because of its antioxidant activity, n-acetylcysteine supplements or products
are marketed as anti-aging agents.

Potential Health Benefits of N-acetylcysteine Supplements - Research Studies

Glutathione (GSH) deficiency is common in HIV-infected individuals and is associated with
impaired T cell function and impaired survival. N-acetylcysteine is used to replenish GSH that has
been depleted by acetaminophen overdose. N-acetylcysteine supplement is suggested to be an
useful adjunct therapy to increase protection against oxidative stress, improve immune system
function and increase detoxification of acetaminophen and other drugs.[De Rosa SC et al, Eur J
Clin Invest. 2000 Oct;30(10):915-29.]

Cystic fibrosis
Neutrophilic airway inflammation is a hallmark of cystic fibrosis. As high oxidant producers,
airway neutrophils contribute largely to the systemic redox imbalance seen in cystic fibrosis.
N-acetylcysteine, given orally in high doses (0.6 to 1.0 g three times a day) markedly decreased
sputum elastase activity (P = 0.006), the strongest predictor of CF pulmonary function. [Rabindra
Tirouvanziam et al, Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 2006]

Acetaminophen Toxicity
N-acetylcysteine is known for its ability to counter acetaminophen toxicity.

In schizophrenia patients, glutathione dysregulation at the gene, protein and functional levels,
leads to N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor hypofunction. These patients also exhibit deficits
in auditory sensory processing that manifests as impaired mismatch negativity, which is an
auditory evoked potential component related to NMDA receptor function. A randomized,
double-blind, cross-over protocol was conducted, entailing the administration of n-acetylcysteine
(2g/day) for 60 days and then placebo for another 60 days (or vice versa). Treatment with
n-acetylcysteine significantly improved MMN generation compared with placebo without any
measurable effects on the P300 component.

Ifosfamide-induced nephrotoxicity is a serious adverse effect in children undergoing
chemotherapy. N-acetylcysteine may improve the risk/benefit ratio of ifosfamide by decreasing
ifosfamide-induced nephrotoxicity without interfering with its anti-tumor effect in cancer cells
clinically treated with ifosfamide. [Chen N et al Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2011
May;89(5):335-43. Epub 2011 May 24.]

Physical Exertion
N-acetyl cysteine enhances cysteine and glutathione availability in muscle thus it enhances
performance of individuals. he production of reactive oxygen species in skeletal muscle is linked
with muscle fatigue. [Medved I et al, J Appl Physiol. 2004 Oct;97(4):1477-85. Epub 2004 Jun 11.]

Side Effects, Safety and Risk
N-acetylcysteine is a safe, well-tolerated antidote for cysteine/GSH deficiency. [De Rosa SC et
al, Eur J Clin Invest. 2000 Oct;30(10):915-29.]

Dose of 0.6 - 1.0 g three times a day is safe and effective on cystic fibrosis . Side effects are not
reported in the abstract. [Rabindra Tirouvanziam et al, Proceedings of The National Academy of
Sciences of the USA, 2006]