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Can NAC see you safely through the winter?

Updated: Jan 7, 2022

Whilst Vitamin C is undoubtedly going to be the star of the upcoming season along with D and Zinc, NAC (N-acetyl-cystiene) is no less important a staple in the armoury against respiratory issues.

NAC is valued primarily for its role in antioxidant production, but is extremely beneficial in it’s role as a mucolytic (makes mucous less thick and sticky and easier to cough up).

NAC is used in the hospital setting to treat poisoning by paracetamol, It works by binding the toxic breakdown products of paracetamol that are formed in the liver.

NAC inhibits the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines which are a key part of the COVID profile. Research has confirmed that in severe cases of COVID-19, cytokines such as TNF-alpha, interleukin-6 (IL6), are all elevated. Once they reach excessive levels, a so-called cytokine storm develops, causing significant tissue damage. NAC can help to inhibit this damaging cascade.

NAC counteracts hyper-coagulation, as it has both anticoagulant and platelet-inhibiting properties. This means it can protect against hyper-coagulation associated with COVID-19 which can result in blood clots and impair oxygen exchange in the lungs. A 2017 paper found NAC has potent thrombolytic effects, breaking down blood clots once they’ve formed, largely due to the sulfur content.

NAC is an effective and safe alternative to currently available anti-thrombotic agents to restore obstructed blood flow after arterial occlusion according to a very recent study. Two additional papers show the same thing.

Importantly, NAC’s mechanism of action does not appear to increase bleeding disorders like heparin does, so it would likely be a safer alternative to the heparin used in the MATH+ protocol.

Have a look below at some other great research into this GRAS (generally regarded as safe) product with the current respiratory season in mind:

Useful studies have demonstrated that NAC helps improve a variety of lung-related problems, including COPD, pneumonia and ARDS, both of which are common characteristics of COVID-19. For example:

Research27 published in 2018 found NAC reduces oxidative and inflammatory damage in patients with community-acquired pneumonia.

Another 2018 study28 found NAC improves post-operative lung function in patients undergoing liver transplantation.

A 2017 meta-analysis found a significant reduction in ICU stays among ARDS patients treated with NAC (although there was no significant difference in short-term mortality risk).

A 2007 study concluded NAC improves ARDS by “increasing intracellular glutathione and extracellular thiol molecules” along with general antioxidant effects.

A 1994 study31 found NAC enhances recovery from acute lung injury, significantly regressing patients’ lung injury score during the first 10 days of treatment, and significantly reducing the need for ventilation. After three days of treatment, only 17% of those receiving NAC needed ventilation, compared to 48% in the placebo group.

NAC is also a well-known mucolytic used to help clear mucus out of the airways of cystic fibrosis patients. Some studies also suggest NAC can help reduce symptoms of COPD and prevent exacerbation of the condition.

The article can be found here.

I think it is clear that this simple antioxidant precursor can be an important part of our winter first aid pack. Please contact us for any further information you may need to help you navigate the winter season at or alternatively you can email

Additional References:

Cardio-protective mechanisms:

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