Health Benefits Of N-Acetyl-Cysteine

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Health Benefits Of N-Acetyl-Cysteine
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Have you heard of N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC)? What about glutathione? It turns out that these little-known chemicals play a vital part in our overall health. The amazing benefits of N-acetyl-cysteine range from brain health, fertility, respiratory health, to improved immune function. Considering its wide-reaching medical applicability, NAC is worthy of consideration. So, what is N-acetyl-cysteine, and what are its research-backed health benefits?

NAC is an important precursor to the biosynthesis of glutathione (aka the “master antioxidant”). As a nutritional supplement, NAC eradicates free radicals and helps with oxidative stress mainly by boosting glutathione levels. The antioxidant also plays a vital role in the detoxification of harmful substances such as heavy metals. In particular, some of the amazing health benefits of NAC include:

1. Detoxification to Prevent Liver and Kidney Damage: Did you know that N-acetyl-cysteine has been administered by medical practitioners to reverse acetaminophen poisoning [1] and prevent liver/kidney damage for decades? Acetaminophen, which is found in some common painkillers, is one of the leading causes of liver damage. According to a study [2] in the Alternative medical Review, NAC significantly mitigates the side effects of environmental toxins and drugs due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.

2. Help with Psychiatric Disorders: Some studies [3] show that NAC has a wide array of mental health benefits, including regulating the levels on the most important neurotransmitter, glutamate. This role may help manage the symptoms of mental health conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder [4], schizophrenia [5], addictive behaviors [6], and bipolar disorder [3].

3. Improve Respiratory Health: NAC has been shown to relieve the symptoms of respiratory conditions such as bronchitis [7] and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. [8] Generally, the nutritional supplement improves respiratory health thanks to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and expectorant properties.

4. May Improve Reproductive Health: Nearly 2 in every 10 couples trying to conceive are plagued by infertility. Luckily, research shows that NAC may help by improving semen quality [9], augmenting the ovulation cycle in women with PCOS [10], and mitigating the effects of varicocele. [11]

5. Boost Immune Function: Adding to the already long list of potential health benefits, NAC and glutathione have been shown to improve immune function in subjects diagnosed with the flu [12] and cancer [13] – the supplement hinders the replication of the virus and cancer cells, respectively. However, the ability of NAC to boost glutathione levels and improve immune function has mostly been studied and documented in HIV patients. Preliminary results [14] show that these potent natural antioxidants reduce the lifespans and symptoms of HIV by hampering its ability to replicate and restoring the immune system.

It’s clear that N-acetyl-cysteine plays several beneficial roles in our health. Most of its benefits are associated with the supplement’s ability to replenish glutathione levels and regulate glutamate. Although NAC appears to have widespread medical applicability, it’s surprisingly unknown to most of the public. Inquire more about the benefits of NAC for your personalized needs.


[1] Ershad, M., & Vearrier, D. (2019). N Acetylcysteine. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.

[2] Quig, D. (1998). Cysteine metabolism and metal toxicity. Alternative Medicine Review, 3, 262-270.

[3] Dean, O., Giorlando, F., & Berk, M. (2011). N-acetylcysteine in psychiatry: current therapeutic evidence and potential mechanisms of action. Journal of psychiatry & neuroscience: JPN, 36(2), 78.

[4] Fernandes, B. S., Dean, O. M., Dodd, S., Malhi, G. S., & Berk, M. (2016). N-Acetylcysteine in depressive symptoms and functionality: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

[5] Pósfai, B., Cserép, C., Hegedüs, P., Szabadits, E., Otte, D. M., Zimmer, A., … & Nyiri, G. (2016). Synaptic and cellular changes induced by the schizophrenia susceptibility gene G72 are rescued by N-acetylcysteine treatment. Translational psychiatry, 6(5), e807.

[6] Grant, J. E., Odlaug, B. L., & Kim, S. W. (2009). N-acetylcysteine, a glutamate modulator, in the treatment of trichotillomania: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Archives of general psychiatry, 66(7), 756-763.

[7] Grandjean, E. M., Berthet, P., Ruffmann, R., & Leuenberger, P. (2000). Efficacy of oral long-term N-acetylcysteine in chronic bronchopulmonary disease: a meta-analysis of published double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials. Clinical therapeutics, 22(2), 209-221.

[8] Sanguinetti, C. M. (2015). N-acetylcysteine in COPD: why, how, and when?. Multidisciplinary respiratory medicine, 11(1), 8.

[9] Safarinejad, M. R., & Safarinejad, S. (2009). Efficacy of selenium and/or N-acetyl-cysteine for improving semen parameters in infertile men: a double-blind, placebo controlled, randomized study. The Journal of urology, 181(2), 741-751.

[10] Badawy, A., State, O., & Abdelgawad, S. (2007). N-Acetyl cysteine and clomiphene citrate for induction of ovulation in polycystic ovary syndrome: a cross-over trial. Acta obstetricia et gynecologica Scandinavica, 86(2), 218-222.

[11] Barekat, F., Tavalaee, M., Deemeh, M. R., Bahreinian, M., Azadi, L., Abbasi, H., … & Nasr-Esfahani, M. H. (2016). A preliminary study: N-acetyl-L-cysteine improves semen quality following varicocelectomy. International journal of fertility & sterility, 10(1), 120.

[12] Geiler, J., Michaelis, M., Naczk, P., Leutz, A., Langer, K., Doerr, H. W., & Cinatl Jr, J. (2010). N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) inhibits virus replication and expression of pro-inflammatory molecules in A549 cells infected with highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza A virus. Biochemical pharmacology, 79(3), 413-420.

[13] Guan, D., Xu, Y., Yang, M., Wang, H., Wang, X., & Shen, Z. (2010). N‐acetyl cysteine and penicillamine induce apoptosis via the ER stress response‐signaling pathway. Molecular Carcinogenesis: Published in cooperation with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 49(1), 68-74.

[14] Monroy, N., Herrero, L., Carrasco, L., & González, M. E. (2016). Influence of glutathione availability on cell damage induced by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 viral protein R. Virus research, 213, 116-123.

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Can you guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat?

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