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NAC for Detoxification and Lung Support

NAC for Detoxification and Lung Support

Human toxic load. If you live and breathe, you’ve probably heard that modern civilization exposes us to many man-made and novel chemicals through agriculture, industrial pollution, cleaning products and food additives, to name just a few. Toxic burdens are accepted as contributing factors to many chronic diseases including breast and prostate cancers, asthma, allergies and autoimmune diseases. In 2004, the environmental protection agency (EPA) famously managed to quantify our toxic load. Of 287 chemicals detected in the umbilical cord blood of 10 infants, they claimed that 180 are known carcinogens in humans, that 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system and that 208 cause birth defects. From this project we learned that many chemicals can persist in our body’s years after being banned from use. For example, lead was detectable in 100% of participants.  While arguably we are blessed with impressive natural means to detoxify, our organs can still become quite overwhelmed. In such cases, natural remedies may provide extra assistance.

N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC) for detoxification. NAC is best characterized as a building block to help our body produce more of its most powerful antioxidant called glutathione. As we age, our glutathione levels drop. Our rations of glutathione can also become strained by chronic disease, poor dietary choices, a toxic environment and stressful lifestyles. As a buffer for glutathione, NAC helps our liver (via a process called conjugation reactions) convert many circulating compounds (pesticides, drugs, heavy metals) into forms that are easier to excrete. In one clinical trial, three months of 200-800 mg of NAC was able to reduce lead accumulation in workers exposed to it as an occupational hazard. This study also demonstrated that glutathione status was reliably improved. On a lighter note, one acne trial showed a notable and significant reduction of total lesion counts in those who supplement 1200 mg NAC for at least two months.

N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC) for Respiratory Support. NAC has demonstrated its unique mucolytic properties (ability to break up mucous) as well as its antioxidant properties, in a range of clinical trials focusing on lung conditions. Some positive trials for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) have resulted in it being an FDA approved drug for COPD. A review of 39 clinical trials of NAC found that 400 to 600 mg per day was a safe and effective treatment for chronic bronchitis. These studies have encouraged many off-label uses of NAC for other issues of respiratory congestion such as sinusitis.

NOW® NAC 600 mg with Selenium and Molybdenum. NOW® NAC is approved by health Canada to provide “antioxidants for the maintenance of healthy cells and tissues in individuals with chronic bronchitis.” NOW® NAC provides value and synergy with the addition of molybdenum and selenium. Molybdenum is an essential mineral that helps the body better regulate and excrete a compound called sulphur which is found to some protein-based compounds like NAC. Selenium is an antioxidant that helps reduce oxidative damage caused by free radicals. This product contains selenomethionine, a superior form of selenium. Most supplements contain inorganic forms of selenium that are less well absorbed and can more readily become pro-oxidants versus the desired antioxidants. NOW® runs a large range of quality tests on every batch of NAC, including heavy metal screening.

Janeczek M, Moy L, Riopelle A, et al. The Potential Uses of N-acetylcysteine in Dermatology: A Review. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2019;12(5):20-26.
Van Overveld FJ, Demkow U, Górecka D, de Backer WA, Zielinski J. New developments in the treatment of COPD: comparing the effects of inhaled corticosteroids and N-acetylcysteine. J Physiol Pharmacol. 2005 Sep;56 Suppl 4:135-42. PMID: 16204787.
NOW NAC 600 mg

About the Author: Thalia Charney


Thalia Charney’s lifelong passion for all things nutrition and healthy living make her the ideal Nutrition and Health Educator for NOW® Health Group Canada. With over 30 years in the health industry, her formal training in Naturopathy, personal and professional experience, form a strong basis for her speaking and education. Her experience includes an eclectic background in herbal medicine, nutrition, essential oils, green living, meditation, vegetarian cooking, and working as a wellness coach, fitness instructor and personal trainer.