N-Acetyl Cysteine: Benefits, Side Effects, And Safety

N-acetyl l-cysteine is a supplement form the amazing amino acids cysteine. Let us a look at its benefits, safety and side effects.

A bottle of N-Acetyl Cysteine Supplement

Among the amino acids used in the body, we have cysteine. And this amino acid is known to be a semi-essential amino acid. The reason it’s known to be a semi-essential amino acid is that it can be produced from other amino acids. Such as serine and methionine. This amino acid is only known to be essential when the amount of serine and methionine in the body is low. This amino acid can be found in food sources such as turkey, chicken, cheese, yogurt, and cheese. But it can also be gotten through supplements. And the supplement form is what is known as n-acetyl l-cysteine.

N-acetyl l-cysteine is quite important in the body for certain health benefits. And one of the most important benefits is replenishing the store of glutathione in the body. Glutathione happens to be one of the most powerful antioxidants present in the body. At the same time, this supplement form also helps deal with many chronic conditions in the body.

Benefits of N-acetyl l-cysteine

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits that come with using this amino acid.

Helps produce antioxidant

This amino acid is known to help produce antioxidant glutathione. It’s not only this amino acid that’s needed, amino acids glycine and glutamine are also needed as well. They all work together to make the antioxidant glutathione. This antioxidant is very important in the body because it helps neutralize the effect of free radicals in the body. And free radicals damage cells in the body. Also, the antioxidant properties of glutathione are known to help deal with diseases caused by oxidative stress in the body.

Helps out with detoxification

This amino acid is very important for the detoxification process in the body. It is well-known to help prevent the side effects that come with environmental toxins and also side effects of drugs. Many doctors actually give this amino acid in IV form to deal with acetaminophen overdose.

May help improve psychiatric problems

Glutamate happens to be one of the most important neurotransmitters in the brain. And this amino acid helps regulate the level of glutamate in the body. This neurotransmitter is actually very important for the normal functioning of the brain. But when glutathione is combined with excess glutamate it causes brain damage. And this can affect the mental health status of a person. With this, a person can have conditions such as addictive behavior and bipolar disorder.

May help relieve respiratory symptoms

This amino acid helps relieve symptoms that come with respiratory conditions. It does this by acting as an expectorant and an antioxidant. With this, it helps loosen mucus in the passageways.  With its antioxidant properties, it helps reduce inflammation. And with this, it is able to improve the symptoms.

Side Effects

This is one supplement that’s considered generally safe for everyone. But there are times that it comes with certain side effects. For some, the side effects can be very mild. While for some it can be quite severe. Let’s take a look at some of the side effects to expect.

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Inflammation in the mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Clamminess
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing

Some of the serious side effects that a person can experience are bleeding and bronchoconstriction.


One question you would hear people commonly ask about supplements is if it’s safe for consumption. Well, n-acetyl l-cysteine is considered most likely safe for most adults. There are certain side effects that occur in some people. We’ll be taking a look at this later on.

When taking this amino acid supplement, it’s important that you take some safety precautions. For some people, opting for this supplement isn’t the best of an idea. It’s not that it’s harmful to them it’s just that safety is needed.

For instance, pregnant women and breastfeeding women are considered to be possibly safe if they take this supplement orally or even when inhaled. The thing though with this supplement is that it crosses the placenta. And as of now, there isn’t any evidence that shows that this supplement can harm the unborn child. But even at that caution is still needed. This supplement shouldn’t be taken by pregnant women unless it is needed for medical reasons. 

Let’s take a look at some other groups of people that this amino acid might not be considered safe for.

  • Allergy: If you’re allergic to cysteine then this supplement is a no-no for you.
  • Asthma: For some time they say that people that are asthmatic shouldn’t take this supplement. And that’s because it might cause bronchospasm. So for a person that has asthma, there must be close monitoring by a healthcare provider just in case you still have to opt for this supplement.
  • Bleeding disorder: This supplement might actually slow down the clotting process. And this, in turn, increases the risk of a person bleeding and bruising. So if you have a bleeding disorder you might want to tell your doctor before opting for this supplement. As it could lead to serious medical conditions.
  • Surgery: This is not a supplement you should take while preparing to go for surgery. Usually, you should stop taking this about 2 weeks before your surgery. That’s because this supplement slows down clotting. And this can put you at a high risk of bleeding during the surgery.

When it comes to safety as well make sure you’re taking the right dosage. Your doctor is in the best position to provide you with the right dosage. And once you have this make sure you follow it strictly. Because taking too much of this supplement can also result in other conditions in the body.

Well, that’s about it for now about n-acetyl l-cysteine. This is a good supplement that comes with a lot of benefits. And it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to opt for n-acetyl l-cysteine.

N-Acetyl Cysteine: Benefits, Side Effects, And Safety

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