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Health Benefits of N- Acetylcysteine

Published : Nov 13, 2020 4 mins read Updated On : Feb 23, 2024

What Is N-Acetylcysteine?

N- Acetylcysteine is a more stable form of amino acid cysteine, found in abundance in the body. The main role of N-acetylcysteine is that it acts as a precursor for the master antioxidant Glutathione, an important antioxidant found in cells. Glutathione is vital in protecting cells from free radical damage caused by reactive oxygen species. The lung is the epicenter of Oxygen and helps to transport it throughout the body. Therefore, protecting and strengthening lung immunity and lung health is paramount.

Other important functions of N-acetylcysteine involve it helps in clearing mucus, facilitating airway passage clearance, boosting lung and liver immunity, and detoxing and eliminating disease-causing germs and environmental toxins.

Health Benefits of- Acetylcysteine

1. Helps to produce glutathione

Glutathione is one of the most important antioxidants in the body. It helps neutralize free radicals that can damage cells and tissues in the body. It is also important for boosting the health of the immune system and fighting cell damage.
N-acetylcysteine is known for its role in antioxidant production. N-acetylcysteine is essential to make and replenish glutathione. It also helps to produce two other amino acids, glutamine and glycine.

One study found that antioxidants are very important to the risk of several chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease (1).

2. Helps to lose thick mucus

N-acetylcysteine is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, N-acetylcysteine is used as anti- mucolytic agent in people with lung-related disorders. The mucus helps protect the soft tissues of our respiratory and GI tracts and has several immune system chemicals that help to trap and kill harmful pathogens.

However, over-producing mucus due to food habits and infection results in difficulty breathing. Here N-cetylcysteine plays a huge role by breaking down mucus overproduction as it being sulphur-containing amino acid; it breaks down di sulfide bonds helps clear airway passage and facilitates better breathing.

3. Helps to improve athletic performance

N-acetylcysteine has been studied for its potential benefits on lung health, particularly in conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis. N-acetylcysteine helps to boost athletic performance by improving lung health.

N-acetylcysteine provides antioxidant benefits that help protect athletes from oxidative stress caused during training. It also helps runners improve their VO2 max which improves their running performance.

4. Helps to manage PCOS

N-acetylcysteine helps the body with the production of powerful antioxidants to fight oxidative stress and reduce inflammation. Women with PCOS have been shown to have higher levels of oxidative stress than women without PCOS.

N-acetylcysteine balances the hormones by lowering androgens and testosterone which reduces acne, facial hair, and hair loss. NAC regulates the menstrual cycle by reducing testosterone which promotes ovulation and improves reproductive health. NAC improves insulin resistance, reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, and helps in weight management

5. Helps to detoxify the body

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) aids in detoxification processes within the body. It serves as a precursor to glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that plays a crucial role in neutralizing toxins and free radicals, thus supporting the body's natural detoxification pathways (2).

NAC is particularly valued for its ability to help remove toxins, such as acetaminophen overdose or environmental pollutants, by enhancing glutathione levels. Additionally, NAC has been studied for its potential to reduce oxidative stress and protect against damage from toxins and pollutants.

6. Heps to reduce oxidative damage

N-acetylcysteine helps lower the risk of heart disease by reducing oxidative damage to cardiac tissues. It enhances nitric oxide production, facilitating dilation of arteries and veins and enhancing blood flow back to the heart, potentially reducing the likelihood of a heart attack. Additionally, in a laboratory study pairing NAC with green tea, there were indications of reduced harm from oxidized LDL cholesterol, another contributor to heart disease.

7. Helps to stabilize blood sugar

High blood sugar combined with obesity contributes to inflammation in adipose tissue. This can lead to damage or destruction of insulin receptors, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes. When insulin receptors are intact and healthy, they properly remove sugar from the blood, keeping levels within normal limits.

8. Helps to improve the immune system

One of the most unknown of NAC benefits is that it helps to boost the immune system. Some studies have found that Research on certain diseases associated with NAC and glutathione deficiency suggests that supplementing with NAC might improve and potentially restore immune function (3).


N-acetylcysteine serves vital roles in human health, known for restoring glutathione levels, regulating glutamate neurotransmitters, and supporting the body's detoxification processes. These attributes make N-acetylcysteine supplements a viable option for treating various health conditions.


1. What is N-acetylcysteine good for?

N-acetylcysteine is beneficial for respiratory health by thinning mucus and acting as an antioxidant. It's also used for acetaminophen overdose, psychiatric disorders, and as a general antioxidant.

2. Is it safe to take N-acetylcysteine daily?

Yes, it is safe to take N-acetylcysteine daily. However, long-term daily use should be discussed with a healthcare professional due to potential side effects.

3. What is the main use of acetylcysteine?

The main use of N-acetylcysteine is to improve lung and liver health. It also helps to detoxify the body.

4. Does N-acetylcysteine detox the liver?

N-acetylcysteine supports liver health by replenishing glutathione levels, a key antioxidant in the liver. However, its role in detoxification requires further research for definitive conclusions.

5. Is N-acetylcysteine safe for kidneys?

N-acetylcysteine is generally safe for kidneys. However, individuals with kidney disease should consult with a healthcare professional before using NAC due to potential interactions and effects.

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