N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) is an amino acid. It is used by the liver and the lymphocytes to detoxify chemicals and other poisons. It is a powerful detoxifier of alcohol, tobacco smoke, and environmental pollutants all of which are immune suppressors. NAC can boost the levels of protective enzymes in the body, thus slowing some of the cellular damage due to aging. NAC may also decrease both the frequency and duration of infectious diseases such as colds and flu.NAC is a more stable form of l-cysteine which is necessary to produce glutathione in the body. Glutathione is a major antioxidant, protecting tissues of the arteries, brain, heart, immune cells, kidneys, lenses of the eyes, liver, lungs and skin against damage. It also helps prevent cancer, particularly liver cancer. Glutathione is not easily metabolized in supplement form. One of the best ways to increase glutathione levels in the body is to supplement NAC. There are currently clinical trials on NAC on is role as an immune system enhancer. These trials are specifically focused of using NAC as a means of preventing HIV from developing into AIDS. Cancer prevention is another immune system benefit of NAC. NAC is known to help prevent cancers of the colon, bladder, breast, liver, mouth, skin and lungs.Reducing the severity of the flu is another benefit of NAC. NAC is known for reducing the duration of flu especially in elderly and chronically ill people.In diabetes, NAC helps prevent destruction of the pancreas and it also helps to prevent diabetic neuropathy.For the cardiovascular system, NAC helps inhibit oxidation of LDL cholesterol and it also lowers lipoprotein (a) by up to 70 percent. For the respiratory system, NAC helps to break down mucous in the lungs of patients with emphysema, and COPD. NAC is helpful in the treatment of asthma. NAC helps suppress the detrimental bacteria that reside in the bronchial tract of bronchitis patients. NAC is also helpful in cases of chronic allergic rhinitis.For the brain and nervous system, NAC helps prevent and reverse age-associated memory impairment. It has also been shown to improve some aspects of Alzheimer’s disease.NAC is a great detoxifier. It helps remove heavy metals from the body. NAC even helps reduce the nausea associated with chemotherapy.NAC has been shown to prevent progression of male pattern baldness by protecting the individual hair follicles.NAC also helps reverse some of the negative side effects of acetaminophen such as liver damage. Scientists can induce cataracts in laboratory animals by giving them acetaminophen – if the acetaminophen is given with antioxidants such as NAC, the cataract-inducing effects are neutralized. The general range of NAC supplementation for therapeutic purposes is 200 to 2000 mg per day. NAC should always be used with vitamin C. The recommended ratio is 1 part NAC to 3 parts vitamin C.
Margaret Durst owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas. www.naturalcowgirl.wordpress.com