Dangers of N-Acetyl Cysteine

Updated March 23, 2017

N-acetyl Cysteine is a drug produced cheaply and is used by many athletes. It is widely believed to have some nutritional benefits. Nevertheless, several experiments conducted with animals have shown that there are many side effects which users of the drug should be aware of.

What Is N-acetyl Cysteine

N-acetyl Cysteine is a popular nutritional supplement also known as N-acetylcysteine or N-acetyl-L-cysteine, it is commonly abbreviated as NAC. It is a pharmaceutical drug used mostly as a mucolytic agent in the management of paracetamol. Mucolytic agent helps to dissolve thick mucus in the respiratory system, which may help to relieve respiratory problems.

Uses of N-acetyl Cysteine

NAC is used in making Glutathione, which is used as an important antioxidant by the body. Gluthathione is also used in detoxification of many of the endonous and exogenous toxins. NAC helps to prevent damages in the lungs caused by smoking. It is used to loosen the dense mucus which may accumulate in the bodies of patients suffering from cystic fibrosis, and generally administered in aerosol form. NAC may also be administered as intravenously to treat cases of overdose of drugs such as Tylenol or Paracetamol aimed at preventing damage to the cells of the liver.

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) Is Used as an Antidote

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is used to neutralise acetaminophen poisoning in the liver. It has the tendency to elevate the levels of antioxidants as well as the detoxifer glutathione. It has a nutritional value which protects users against toxicity by boosting and elevating levels of glutathione in the body. NAC also helps the body to convert harmful amino acids, such as homocysterine, into beneficial types of amino acids, such as cysteine.

Dangers of NAC

NAC, N-acetyl Cysteine, has been implicated in pulmonary diseases according to the University of Virginia Health System, NAC could form chemicals in the body that could in turn send messages to the blood vessels, making them think that they are not getting enough oxygen. This development could lead to pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Consequently, the body responds to the perception of oxygen deficiency by producing nitrosothiol, which in turn tells the arteries of the lungs to remodel. The arteries then becomes narrower and increases the blood pressure of the lungs, finally leading to swelling of the heart.

Other Dangers of NAC

Individuals taking NAC have been warned not to take the drug prior to reading. The drug may cause nausea, vomiting, headaches drymouth, dizziness, blurred vision and abnominal pain. When daily intake of NAC exceeds 1.2g or more, it could lead to increased oxidative stress according to the findings of the University of Virginia. The research also showed that NAC could cause damage to the heart and lungs, according to an experiment conducted with mice.



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