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N-Acetyl Cysteine

SUGGESTED USE: 1 or more capsules per day or as recommended by your health care professional.

Formulated to be free of allergens derived from: Gluten, corn, yeast, artificial colors and flavors. If you are pregnant or nursing, consult your physician before taking this product. As with all dietary supplements, some individuals may not tolerate or may be allergic to the ingredients used. Please read the ingredient panel carefully prior to ingestion. Cease taking this product and consult your physician if you have negative reactions upon ingestion.

Contraindications, Adverse or Other Reactions: Patients who have renal stones should avoid NAC.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this web site has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Material on the Imupharm web site is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health program.

N-Acetyl Cysteine, also known as NAC, is an amino acid supplement. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and intermediates in metabolism. There are 20 amino acids found within proteins, and the human body can produce only 10 of these, including cysteine. As the body does not store excess amino acids for later use; it is essential to obtain them in one’s daily diet. (Reference 1)

Mucolytic Agent
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is widely used as a mucolytic (i.e. dissolves thick mucus and is usually used to help relieve respiratory difficulties) drug, and also as an antioxidant drug that may also influence several inflammatory pathways. It provides the sulfhydryl groups and acts both as a precursor of reduced glutathione and as a direct reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenger, hence regulating the redox status in the cells. The changed redox status may, in turn, influence the inflammation-controlling pathways. Moreover, as a mucolytic drug, it may, by means of decreasing viscosity of the sputum, clean the bronchi leading to a decrease in dyspnoea and improved lung function. (References 2, 3) It is used primarily for the treatment of chronic bronchitis. It also supports asthma, pneumonia, and even has beneficial effects for individuals who smoke. (Reference 4, 5)

N-Acetyl Cysteine is easily converted in the body to Glutathine, which is a vital antioxidant. It replenishes intracellular Glutathione (GSH) levels and is considered a safe, well-tolerated antidote for cysteine/GSH deficiency. NAC has been used successfully to treat GSH deficiency in a wide range of infections, genetic defects and metabolic disorders, including HIV infection and COPD. (Reference 6)

Gastrointestinal and support for other bodily functions

NAC is best known to counter acetaminophen toxicity. (Reference 7) It has been shown to protect the liver against damaging effects. (Reference 8) NAC may also have a positive effect on otitis media (ear infections). (Reference 9)

NAC and Cancer

Thiol antioxidants, typified by N-acetyl cysteine, have been found to induce p53-dependent apoptosis in human cells. (Reference 10) Another study has shown a favorable effect of NAC on several important T-cell functions in vitro in advanced-stage cancer patients. (Reference 11)

(1) Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. The Biology Project. September 30, 2003.

(2) Sadowska AM, Verbraecken J, Darquennes K, De Backer WA. Role of N-acetylcysteine in the management of COPD. Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2006;1(4):425-34.

(3) S. R. Hirsch, P. F. Viernes, and R. C. Kory. Clinical and physiological evaluation of mucolytic agents nebulized with isoproterenol: 10% N-acetylcysteine versus 10% 2-mercaptoethane sulphonate. Thorax. 1970 November; 25(6): 737–743. PMCID: PMC472218

(4) Ann Allergy. Use of acetylcysteine in bronchial asthma--another look.1985 Apr;54(4):294-6.

(5) Riise GC, Larsson S, Larsson P, Jeansson S, Andersson BA. The intrabronchial microbial flora in chronic bronchitis patients: a target for N-acetylcysteine therapy? Eur Respir J. 1994 Jan;7(1):94-101.

(6) Atkuri KR, Mantovani JJ, Herzenberg LA, Herzenberg LA. N-Acetylcysteine--a safe antidote for cysteine/glutathione deficiency. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2007 Aug;7(4):355-9. Epub 2007 Jun 29.

(7) Flanagan RJ, Meredith TJ. Am J Med. Use of N-acetylcysteine in clinical toxicology. 1991 Sep 30;91(3C):131S-139S.
(8) Koivusalo AM, Yildirim Y, Vakkuri A, Lindgren L, Höckerstedt K, Isoniemi H.. Experience with albumin dialysis in five patients with severe overdoses of paracetamol. Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2003 Oct;47(9):1145-50.

(9) Ovesen T, Felding JU, Tommerup B, Schousboe LP, Petersen CG. Effect of N-acetylcysteine on the incidence of recurrence of otitis media with effusion and re-insertion of ventilation tubes. Acta Otolaryngol Suppl. 2000;543:79-81.            

(10) Havre PA, O'Reilly S, McCormick JJ, Brash DE. Transformed and tumor-derived human cells exhibit preferential sensitivity to the thiol antioxidants, N-acetyl cysteine and penicillamine. Cancer Res. 2002 Mar 1;62(5):1443-9.
(11) Mantovani G, Macciò A, Melis G, Mura L, Massa E, Mudu MC. Restoration of functional defects in peripheral blood mononuclear cells isolated from cancer patients by thiol antioxidants alpha-lipoic acid and N-acetyl cysteine. Int J Cancer. 2000 Jun 15;86(6):842-7.