NAC can relieve symptoms of respiratory conditions by acting as an antioxidant and expectorant, loosening mucus in your air passageways.
As an antioxidant, NAC helps in your lungs and reduces inflammation in your bronchial tubes and lung tissue.
People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) experience long-term oxidative damage and inflammation of lung tissue, which causes airways to constrict, leading to shortness of breath and coughing.
Some studies suggest that taking NAC supplements can help improve COPD symptoms, exacerbations, and lung decline.
People with chronic bronchitis can also benefit from NAC. Bronchitis occurs when the mucous membranes in your lungs’ bronchial passageways become inflamed, swell, and shut off airways to your lungs.
By thinning mucus in your bronchial tubes and boosting glutathione levels, NAC may help decrease the severity and frequency of wheezing, coughing, and respiratory attacks.
In addition to relieving COPD and bronchitis, NAC may improve other lung and respiratory tract conditions — such as cystic fibrosis, asthma, and pulmonary fibrosis — as well as symptoms of nasal and sinus congestion due to allergies or infections .
NAC’s antioxidant and expectorant capacity can improve lung function by decreasing inflammation and breaking up mucus.
NAC’s ability to replenish glutathione and regulate brain glutamate levels can boost brain health.
The neurotransmitter glutamate is involved in a broad range of learning, behavior, and memory functions, while the antioxidant glutathione helps reduce brain cell oxidative damage associated with aging.
Because NAC helps regulate glutamate levels and replenish glutathione, it may benefit those with health conditions affecting the brain and memory .
Alzheimer’s disease slows down learning and memory capacity. Animal studies suggest that NAC may slow the loss of thinking ability in people with Alzheimer’s disease .
Parkinson’s disease is characterized by the deterioration of cells that generate the neurotransmitter dopamine. Both oxidative damage to cells and a decrease in antioxidant ability contribute to this disease.
NAC supplements appear to improve both dopamine function and disease symptoms such as tremors .
While NAC may improve brain health, more human research is needed to make firm conclusions.
By helping replenish the antioxidant glutathione and regulate glutamate, NAC has the potential to treat conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
NAC may help improve fertility in men by reducing oxidative stress that damages or kills reproductive cells. It may also aid fertility in women with PCOS.
High blood sugar and obesity contribute to inflammation in fat tissue.
This can damage or destroy insulin receptors and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes .
Animal studies show that NAC may stabilize blood sugar by decreasing inflammation in fat cells and thereby improving.
When insulin receptors are intact and healthy, they properly remove sugar from your blood, keeping levels within normal limits.
By decreasing inflammation in fat tissue, NAC may reduce insulin resistance and improve blood sugar regulation, but human-based research is lacking.
Oxidative damage to heart tissue often leads to heart disease, causing strokes, heart attacks, and other severe conditions. NAC may reduce heart disease risk by reducing oxidative damage to tissues in your heart.
Studies show that NAC may protect heart function and heart health in people with diabetes and those recovering from certain heart surgeries .
NAC can reduce oxidative damage to your heart, which can, in turn, decrease your risk of heart disease.
NAC and glutathione also benefit immune health.
Research on certain diseases associated with NAC and glutathione deficiency suggests that supplementing with NAC might improve — and potentially restore — immune function.
NAC’s ability to boost glutathione levels may improve immune function.
NAC is likely safe for adults when provided as a prescription medication.
However, high amounts may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. Inhalation of NAC solutions can cause swelling in the mouth, runny nose, drowsiness, and chest tightness.
People with bleeding disorders or taking blood thinning medications should not take NAC because it may slow blood clotting .
NAC has an unpleasant smell that makes it hard to consume. If you choose to take it, consult your doctor first.
Renowned for its ability to replenish levels of the antioxidant glutathione, it also regulates the important neurotransmitter glutamate. Additionally, NAC helps your body’s detoxification system.
These functions make NAC supplements a viable treatment option for multiple health conditions.
Consult your doctor to determine whether NAC may benefit your health.