Wife and husband playing chess to keep mind sharp and glutathione levels

Systemic Benefits of N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine

NAC (N-acetyl-L-cysteine) boosts glutathione levels in cells throughout the body and may help resolve a host of common disorders.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in August 2023. Written by: Laurie Mathena.

NAC (N-acetyl-L-cysteine) helps to replenish glutathione levels in the body.1

Glutathione fights the oxidative stress that is closely associated with many age-related chronic disorders.2

But NAC does much more than this.

Applications for NAC

NAC is used in the medical setting as an antidote against acetaminophen poisoning.

Research interest has grown steadily over the years for its potential use in various pulmonary, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, and liver disorders.1

It protects against a broad array of environmental toxins and helps boost the body’s immune system.1

NAC supports healthy respiratory tract function and may be of value when combating bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.1

The benefits of NAC extend to:1

NAC’s Brain Benefits

Researchers summarized preclinical evidence showing NAC’s ability to ameliorate symptoms and pathologies related to various psychiatric disorders.

They concluded that NAC is a strong candidate as an adjunctive approach for many psychiatric disorders.3

The progression of neuronal deterioration in certain areas of the brain may contribute to the development of depressive disorders.

In a rat model of depression, researchers found that NAC exerted antidepressant effects by helping protect neurons from injury. They concluded that NAC could be a potent therapeutic strategy for stress-related depression.4

Evidence continues to emerge for the benefits of this safe, inexpensive intervention.

Suggested Dosage

Most individuals gain benefits from using 600 mg to 1,800 mg/day of N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) in divided dosages.

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  1. Salamon S, Kramar B, Marolt TP, et al. Medical and Dietary Uses of N-Acetylcysteine. Antioxidants (Basel). 2019 Apr 28;8(5).
  2. Available at: Accessed April 19, 2022.
  3. Smaga I, Frankowska M, Filip M. N-acetylcysteine as a new prominent approach for treating psychiatric disorders. Br J Pharmacol. 2021 Jul;178(13):2569-94.
  4. Fan C, Long Y, Wang L, et al. N-Acetylcysteine Rescues Hippocampal Oxidative Stress-Induced Neuronal Injury via Suppression of p38/JNK Signaling in Depressed Rats. Front Cell Neurosci. 2020;14:554613.