Welcome to another edition of the Doctor’s Note, where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health. 

This week we are going to continue our Stay Healthy Protocol Series by talking about NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine). 

 

What is NAC?

 

When NAC was approved as a drug in 1963, it was used for mucolytics when there were acetaminophen overdoses.  

But there are many other amazing uses. 

NAC is one of those supplements I’ve been recommending a lot lately. I’ve been taking it for years, because it’s a great antioxidant, detoxifier, and it increases your glutathione levels (which is the master antioxidant). 

Cysteine is a semi-essential amino acid, meaning your body can make it from two other amino acids (serine and methionine). 

Methionine is an essential amino acid that has a lot to do with the methylation pathway. It’s important in relation to formation and use of B12, Folate, and homocysteine levels, etc. 

If you’ve ever done a Cleveland Heart Panel with us, you know I look into these methionine and methylation pathways to see whether or not you’re genetically predisposed to the mutant form of the MTHFR gene. 

You can get Cysteine from high protein foods like beef, chicken, and eggs. 

NAC is a supplement form of Cysteine that your body doesn’t make and is not in the foods you eat. 

Like Cysteine, NAC bonds with glutamine and glycine to form Glutathione, that essential and powerful antioxidant. 

Glutathione helps maintain your immune system, and NAC helps fill the gaps with your natural Cysteine levels. This is very important!

So, NAC increases glutathione which gets rid of cell damaging free radicals and reduces oxidative stress. 

 

Uses of NAC

 

It helps prevent diabetes and heart disease and helps with detoxification of the kidneys and liver. 

It also helps prevent the toxic side effects of drugs and heavy metals. 

For years we have used NAC for Tylenol overdoses. We give it in an IV to prevent damage to the kidneys and liver. 

It also helps with COPD and acute bronchitis. It helps with wheezing and coughing. Remember, NAC is a mucolytic. It helps break up mucus in the lungs, which is especially important with COVID-19. 

There is a lot of research with NAC and HIV patients, because it helps build the immune system so much. 

It may even help prevent the flu virus from replicating. 

It helps improve insulin resistance. 

It helps PCOS, which is an insulin resistant condition. 

It helps regulate glutamate, which improves brain health (think Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease). 

It helps with depression and bipolar illness. It helps with addictions. 

It decreases your oxidized LDL (the very worst form of cholesterol). It increases nitrous oxide, which is a vasodilator that keeps your arteries open. 

With Selenium it helps fertility (in men and women). 

So should you use NAC? Yes, definitely. Especially right now with Covid surging. I put all my patients on it to help with prevention and treatment of Covid, and especially with long hauler syndrome. 

 

Side Effects

 

It can impair clotting. So be careful if you are on a potent blood thinner (it’s OK with aspirin). 

DO NOT TAKE IT IF YOU’RE A HEMOPHILIAC. 

It can possibly cause Hypoglycemia if you are on diabetic medications. 

It’s rare, but it can increase kidney stones.

Other rare side effects could be dry mouth, nausea, and diarrhea. 

 

Dosing and Forms I Like 

 

The doses are between 600-1800mg. 

I recommend between 600-1200mg. I like 1200mg right now. 

The form I like is the LifeExtension Anti-Alcohol supplement. It includes 1200mg of NAC, Milk Thistle, Zinc, and Selenium. 

I promote the use of NAC as part of your STAYING  HEALTHY PROTOCOL. 

SIDE NOTE: 

Even though The WHO (World Health Organization) has deemed NAC an essential medicine, it is difficult to get a hold of right now.  It is on backorder in a lot of places. Why?

It turns out that when a supplement is found to have powerful effects, the FDA steps in. 

Is it a coincidence that in May of this year they don’t want you to use it, when it may be the most helpful?  Kind of reminds you of an anti-parasite medication that they are discouraging use of now, despite it being very powerful in fighting COVID-19.

 

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