NAC: Your best Cold & Flu Defense, Part I

A little-known dietary supplement maybe your best defense against symptoms of the flu and common cold. This supplement. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a form of the amino acid cysteine and a component of protein-containing foods. It is also one of the most potent immune boosters around. Never heard of it? Virtually every hospital emergency room in the country stocks NAC as an antidote for acetaminophen (Tylenol) poisoning.

Overdoses of acetaminophen, as common analgestic drug, deplete liver levels of glutathione, one of the body’s most powerful antioxidants, and lead to lover failure. Large supplemental doses of NAC restore liver glutathione levels and help the organ to break down acetaminophen.

NAC has also been used since the 1960s as a “mucolytic” agent – that is, to break down lungclogging mucus in chronic bronchitis and other respiratory disorders. Rich in what chemists call “free sulfhydryl groups,” NAC break down the disulfide bonds that make mucus thick-in essence, thinning it out.