N-ACETYL CYSTEINE (NAC) – Uses, Side Effects, and More

N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is a form of the amino acid L-cysteine. It is a powerful antioxidant that has a variety of potential health benefits. NAC is available as a dietary supplement and is also used as a prescription medication to treat acetaminophen overdose.

Uses of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)

NAC has been shown to have a number of potential health benefits, including:

  • Reducing oxidative stress: NAC is a potent antioxidant that can help to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.

  • Improving respiratory health: NAC can help to break up mucus and make it easier to cough up, which can be beneficial for people with respiratory conditions such as chronic bronchitis and cystic fibrosis.

  • Protecting the liver: NAC can help to protect the liver from damage caused by toxins and alcohol.

  • Improving fertility: NAC may help to improve sperm quality and motility in men with infertility.

  • Boosting the immune system: NAC may help to boost the immune system by increasing the production of glutathione, an important antioxidant.

  • Reducing inflammation: NAC may have anti-inflammatory properties that could be beneficial for people with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and psoriasis.

  • Improving mental health: NAC may help to improve symptoms of mental health conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder.

Side Effects of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)

NAC is generally safe when taken at recommended doses. However, some people may experience side effects, such as:

  • Nausea: NAC can cause nausea in some people.

  • Vomiting: NAC can cause vomiting in some people.

  • Diarrhea: NAC can cause diarrhea in some people.

  • Skin rash: NAC can cause a skin rash in some people.

Dosage of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)

The recommended dosage of NAC depends on the condition being treated. For general health and wellness, the recommended dosage is 600-1,200 mg per day. For more serious conditions, such as acetaminophen overdose, the recommended dosage is much higher.

It is important to talk to your doctor before taking NAC, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking any medications.

Interactions of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)

NAC may interact with certain medications, including:

  • Blood thinners: NAC may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin).

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors: NAC may increase the effects of ACE inhibitors, which are used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.

  • Nitroglycerin: NAC may increase the effects of nitroglycerin, which is used to treat angina (chest pain).


NAC is a promising natural remedy for a variety of health conditions. However, more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness and safety. If you are considering taking NAC, talk to your doctor first.