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N-Acetylcysteine (NAC)

Natural Therapy Clinic / Health Facts  / N-Acetylcysteine (NAC)

N-Acetylcysteine (NAC)

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a precursor to the amino acid cysteine, which ultimately plays two key metabolic roles. Through its metabolic contribution to glutathione production, cysteine participates in the general antioxidant activities of the body. It acts directly as a scavenger of free radicals, especially oxygen radicals. Through its role as a modulator of the glutamatergic system, cysteine influences the reward-reinforcement pathway.

Cysteine is a nonessential amino acid, meaning that cysteine can be made in the human body. Cysteine is one of the few amino acids that contains sulphur. This allows cysteine to bond in a special way and maintain the structure of proteins in the body.

NAC is a supplement that has been available for several decades. People take it for various reasons, including to help treat medical issues ranging from psychological disorders, chronic lung conditions and to improve athletic performance.

Cysteine is found in most high-protein foods:

  • Lean pork
  • Lean beef
  • Lean chicken and turkey breast
  • Tuna
  • Lentils
  • Oatmeal
  • Eggs
  • Low-fat yoghurt
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Swiss cheese

Foods high in glutathione precursors:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Vegetables with a high sulphur content yield naturally high glutathione level


  • Ability to boost glutathione levels may improve immune function
  • Essential for making the powerful antioxidant glutathione
  • Helps with detoxification to prevent or diminish kidney and liver damage
  • May improve psychiatric disorders and addictive behaviour
  • Helps relieve symptoms of respiratory conditions
  • Boosts brain health by regulating glutamate and replenishing glutathione
  • May reduce heart disease risk by preventing oxidative damage
  • NAC has been used to loosen thick mucus in the lungs and can also boost the immune system, suppress viral replication, and reduce inflammation.


NAC is an excellent supplement to boost your body’s health along with:

  • A healthy diet with plenty of fresh vegetable, fruit, seeds, nuts, whole grains, and protein
  • Regular exercise
  • Stress relief practices such as meditation, walking, listening to relaxing music and breathing exercises

Make an appointment with us to find out what’s missing in your diet and how to reach your optimal health.

Chris Tompson

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