The main function of acetylcysteine is stimulating the production of glutathione – one of the key elements of the natural defence system. The tripeptide is an endogenous antioxidant, which means that it neutralises the excess of reactive oxygen species and helps to maintain homeostasis.
A popular application of NAC is supplementation to support the functioning of the liver, both in the long-term and when needed, for example before planned alcohol consumption. In medicine, acetylcysteine is used in the case of a paracetamol poisoning in order to neutralise its highly toxic metabolites and keep the liver in a good shape.
The protection of the nervous system is caused by two factors. The first one is acetylcysteine’s ability to reduce glutathione levels, which can be toxic for nerve cells when in excess. The other mechanism is the above-mentioned reduction of free oxygen radicals, possible thanks to the ability of NAC to cross the blood-brain barrier and increase glutathione levels directly in nervous tissue.
Scientific studies have demonstrated its ability to reduce the symptoms of acne by even 50 per cent, which is promising news for people who complain of skin problems. It will be especially helpful for people who use anabolic-androgenic steroids, as one of their side effects is acne and excessively oily skin.
People struggling with an addiction to recreational drugs can also benefit from the properties of the supplement. Tests have confirmed the positive effect of acetylcysteine on reducing the symptoms of addiction in smokers and those addicted to cocaine and marijuana. Results are visible after 4 weeks of use, and in the case of cocaine addicts even after 3-day supplementation, as the results of clinical trials suggest.
Its mucolytic properties can bring relief to people who struggle with such problems as bronchitis, as it is connected with the excessive build-up of mucus in the respiratory tract. Acetylcysteine can thin mucus and make it more liquid, which makes removing it easier and, in turn, cleans the air ways and facilitates breathing.
NAC is a safe, versatile supplement with a remarkably positive effect on health. It should satisfy the needs of people who struggle with liver dysfunctions, excessive oxidative stress, and addictions. It is also worth attention as an element of preventive healthcare.