Updated August 7, 2022
NAC is an amazing nutrient that is also used as a drug. It is a derivative of a natural amino acid cysteine, which will also be the focus of this post.
NAC is preferred to cysteine, in general, because of some of its special features. However, some people do better with cysteine depending upon the situation.
The main functions of NAC (and cysteine) are:
- helps with detox by enabling the liver re-generate glutathione, the major detoxifier of the body
- helps thin mucus in the lungs in cystic fibrosis and pneumonia
- helps brain function in mental illness
- helps fight acute infections
NAC is used in cases of Tylenol overdose to save the liver. If it is administered within a few hours after overdose, it can completely protect the liver. Otherwise the liver can be severely damaged and require transplant.
By thinning mucus, it can worsen stomach acid complaints so it should be taken with food or the dosage may need to be adjusted.