A metabolite from an amino acid which is classified as both a nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical drug, has been used to treat bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, high cholesterol, diabetes, HIV, autism and even cancer. It assists in the production of glutathione, which plays a key role in regulating many cellular functions and helps keep the immune system in check. Moreover, it helps detox the body chelating dangerous heavy metals.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is converted by the body into an amino acid called cysteine. Proponents claim that taking N-acetylcysteine supplements can protect against a wide range of health problems and the science backs up the claim.
Irritability affects 60 to 70 percent of children with autism. NAC lowers irritability in children with autism as well as reduced the children’s repetitive behaviors. The study appears in the June 1, 2012 issue of Biological Psychiatry.
N-Acetylcysteine may help keep chronic bronchitis in check, according to a 2000 report in Clinical Therapeutics. Looking at data from eight clinical trials, the report’s authors found that long-term use of N-acetylcysteine may help prevent acute flare-ups of chronic bronchitis and, in turn, lower healthcare costs.
NAC has been shown to reduce the proliferation of certain cells lining the colon and may reduce the risk of colon cancer in people with recurrent polyps in the colon. Its action as an antioxidant and a glutathione precursor may also contribute to a protective effect against cancer.