N-Acetyl-Cysteine, an amino acid nutritional supplement, could be investigated in fighting the COVID-19 epidemic

NAC as it is called is a food and the most important of several precursors of an important chemical in your body, glutathione. Along with glutamine, it may improve gut barrier function. and regardless, it is unlikely to hurt anything. It's proven itself very useful in colds where its sold in effervescent tablets for that use in Europe. They are popular. The highest natural source of cysteine is whey protein.



Would oral NAC help people with COVID-19?

We don't know. However, I suspect that it might be helpful as an adjunct to treatment, in COVID-19 for a number of reasons, some of which I enumerate here.

It is often used to reduce the symptoms of the common cold.

UPDATE: Much better article here.

But NAC's utility might go much farther than being a slightly better than average cold medication because NAC may be neuroprotective, it may prevent some of the nerve damage that makes some people need to go into intensive care. I don't know.

It might also be useful against the virus in the gut? (Note 2), (Note 3)


NAC powder (stirred into water is commonly used for colds in Europe, where it comes in effervescent tablets.

I often take NAC because - frankly, its good for everybody who is over 35 or so plus women of childbearing age.

I buy it in powder form because its cheaper that way. I usually buy a lot, it lasts years, it doesn't go bad. Just keep it dry in a sealed container. I don't take a super lot, usually a bit more than a gram a day. Its just to make sure that my glutathione precursor needs are met.

No-matter if one takes it in water, or in capsules it has a short half life (~3-4 hrs)  

These kinds of interventions are what I would call low hanging fruit. Ones with a good chance of helping but if they help, they are unlikely to offer the cure people are looking for, just an incremental reduction in symptoms. As people age their glutathione evels fall off a lot because the systemic inflammation in their body uses their natural glutathione up faster.

For that reason, taking NAC can and does reduce hearing damage from loud noises especially as people age.  What does that have to do with preserving respiration? Possibly nothing.

But see the links here on the neuroinvasive aspects of COVID-19.

And a general PubMed search on n-acetylcysteine.

As people get older having enough glutathione (the chemical NAC transforms into) becomes more and more important. Levels start declining at around age 35 or 40. Even earlier if you are exposed to a lot of pro-oxidant substances, such as diesel exhaust, or mercury vapor.

Increasing glutathione during pregnancy may also prevent some birth defects.

Note the article linked right above ("Chemically Diverse Toxicants Converge on Fyn and c-Cbl to Disrupt Precursor Cell Function") was trying to explain the problem in animals, not tell humans to take NAC directly.

But the principle of precursor blocking the toxicity of multiple, chemically diverse toxicants, which we commonly see in the environment at those levels, causing birth defects in animals, applies to humans as well, of course, and explains an important fact we all should know.

Pro-oxidant toxicants are additive and should be regulated in a manner that acknowledges that since, as a group they deplete glutathione, that in order to have healthy children and safe reproduction, in many areas (like the Northeast) due to higher levels of mercury in the air, diesel exhaust and many other pollutants, and natural toxic substances like mold, or even composting, we should adapt by taking more glutathione precursor now.  This could be in the form of a big bag full of NAC capsules given to soon to be moms when they get pregnant.

Frankly, its really stupid of us not to do this.

(FYI Now, like magic, if this article had been posted on Twitter or a similar site, my saying that would lead to  this article getting attacked by paid trolls.)

CDC used to recommend its use in pregnancy but they removed it at some point. (Or I lost track of the URL where it was.) Yes, they really did.

Why? Because every toxicologist knows about glutathione.

it is what our body uses to protect itself from all sorts of pro-oxidant processes. (Such as disease processes as well as both natural and man made substances) that damage cells or change how genes are expressed..

Most importantly, if you take NAC, at various points when your cells need glutathione you will know that it's there.

Note that the strategies which I am sharing here are effectively indigenous knowledge. They are the collective knowledge of many scientifically literate people, passed from person to person in the pre-social media era. (Social media suppress all kinds of information, via subtle means, to facilitate a corporate capture of the nation, its future, and the entire world, which they have successfully hidden. As shown by GATS, TRIPS, etc.)

Here is some general information on n-acetylcysteine.

There is a wealth of info on Nutrition.org (The Journal of Clinical Nutrition)

The benefits of (taking NAC) are many. Especially older people. Note that glutathione itself cannot be taken affordably and consistently. but N-Acetylcysteine turns into glutathione in the body.

Glutathione: biochemical pathways

from "Glutathione Metabolism and Its Implications for Health"

For additional peer reviewed research about n-Acetyl-Cysteine and the many roles of glutathione - see PubMed.

NOTE: I am not a doctor, and also orally the amino acid, NAC is not a drug, its a food.

And as such if it improves health or resistance against many diseases its potentially better than any drug.