N-acetylcysteine supplement - potentially useful for long Covid

Get your science fix here: research, quackery, activism and all the rest
Post Reply
Posts: 609
Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 11:12 am

N-acetylcysteine supplement - potentially useful for long Covid

Post by IvanV » Mon Oct 11, 2021 3:29 pm

So on some other forum I inhabit, on a totally different topic, a guy who is as far I am aware medically qualified and the boss of a medical lab, says he routinely takes NAC as a supplement, and reckons it might be helpful for long covid breathing issues. He cited a bunch of papers. He says he takes it regularly. I looked through those papers and a lot more, including some "prescribing manual".

In many countries, NAC is sold as a "supplement" - ie, like vitamin pills - in those kind of "health" food shops with lots of bottles of pills. I normally have nothing to do with such stuff.

The main thing I picked up on is that it can be useful for disrupting excessive mucus production in the lungs, which might be a part of why I don't breathe very well.

To add to the confusion, the FDA in the USA has just banned NAC from being sold as a "supplement". In the US it is now only available in pharmacies, though I'm not clear whether it is sold OTC or only on prescription. As far as I can see, this is due to some administrative-historic argument over what substances can be sold as "supplements" in "health food shops", and what substances are considered drugs and can only be sold by pharmacists. There is no suggestion it is unsafe. So probably a commercial patch argument rather than anything substantial over access to it.

I've read the contraindications list, and can't see a reason why I shouldn't take it in pill form. It is also administered intravenously and by inhalation, but for particular serious conditions I don't have.

So my attitude was, well it's cheap, won't do me any harm, why not have a go, roll the dice and see if it helps.

Is that a reasonable attitude? Or a complete waste of time? Or actually dangerous?

Post Reply