NAC happens to be a form of cysteine which is an amino acid. As a medicine, NAC has various uses including replenishing antioxidants in the human body. Antioxidants are necessary for the body to help it cope with oxidative stress. Free radicals or single oxygen atoms with incomplete outer shell tries to bond with other atoms causing damage to the cells. These damaged cells look older and slowly the signs of aging appear.
While free radicals are produced by the body, exposure to fried food, smoking, alcohol, and toxic substances can make some huge contributions. Antioxidants are atoms that are capable of donating electrons to free radicals without becoming reactive. NAC as a conditionally essential amino acid can lead to the production of antioxidants. As medicine, NAC can provide us with multiple benefits.
Primarily, NAC is valued for its capability to produce antioxidants. It can produce glutathione with the help of two other amino acids- glycine and glutamine. Human body require glutathione as it one of the most important ones. It like other antioxidants support the natural immune system and eliminates toxins from the body. Intake of antioxidants can contribute to the risk reduction of cardiovascular diseases.
Helps protect against liver or kidney damage
Both the kidney and liver takes a huge part in eliminating waste from the body. The health of the human body depends to a great extent on the health of these two organs. As NAC has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, it is used for liver diseases. In case of acetaminophen overdose, NAC is regularly administered by doctors to prevent liver and kidney damage. It also protects against environmental toxin exposure. Medicines like Fluimucil 200 contain NAC and can do wonders when administered properly.
Might be useful in substance use and mental health conditions
The most important neurotransmitter of the brain is glutamate. NAC is capable of regulating its level. While regular brain activity depends on glutamate, an excess amount of it and depleting glutathione can be the reason for brain damage. This might be a contributing factor to various mental health conditions including obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and even substance use disorder. NAC may be helpful to improve the life of people with depression and bipolar disorder. Research suggests that it can even be good for treating OCD.
Relieving respiratory symptoms
NAC can act as an expectorant and antioxidant. It can relieve the symptoms by loosening the phlegm in the air passageway. As an antioxidant, it replenishes levels of glutathione in the lungs. It reduces inflammation of lung tissue and bronchial tubes. People suffering from COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease suffer from long-term oxidative damage. Inflammation of lung tissues causes the airways to constrict which leads to coughing and shortness of breath. Some studies show that COPD can be improved with NAC. It can also thin the mucus level in bronchial tubes reducing the severity of respiratory attacks, coughing, and wheezing. It can also treat conditions like asthma, cystic fibrosis, and sinus congestion caused by infections and allergies.