Acetylcysteine also known as N-acetylcysteine (NAC)
“The intravenous and oral form of NAC are used to protect and restore the body before and after it has been exposed to chemicals.“
I am very impressed by a natural product called NAC, short for N-acetylcysteine. This pill is available to everyone and can be purchased at virtually any health food store or pharmacy. In the hospital, it is used in the intravenous and oral form to protect and restore the body before and after it has been exposed to certain chemicals, including radioactive dyes used to illuminate parts of the body during an MRI, and in the case of acetaminophen overdose. It’s also used sometimes to help cancer patients overcome the adverse events that may be associated with isoffamide and cyclophosphamide.
NAC is an immediate precursor to a very precious substance that our body makes. It’s called glutathione. Amino acids such as cysteine, glutamate, and glycine are also natural precursors from the food we eat. Foods high in glutathione precursors are broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus. Vegetables with a high sulfur content yield naturally high glutathione levels. For people who believe they need more than what their diet can provide, NAC can be purchased in pill forms ranging from 300 to 900 mgs. Twice daily administration or three times daily administration is commonly recommended by the manufactures.
There is no recommended daily allowance for NAC, because unlike vitamins, it’s not an essential nutrient. The dosage used to prevent radio contrast dye damage is 600 mg to 1200 mg every 12 hours for 48 hours. Oral doses above 1200 mg per day can result in headache, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea. People who take nitroglycerine should not take NAC unless supervised by a physician since it can cause the nitroglycerine to work more intensely and cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure.
The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by a virus (SARS-Cov-2) and is known for inducing multisystem organ dysfunction associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Current therapeutic strategies for COVID-19 have failed to effectively reduce mortality rate.
As a result, exploring new applications of existing medications could potentially provide valuable treatments for COVID-19. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) has been used in clinical practice to treat critically ill septic patients, and more recently for COVID-19 patients. NAC has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating characteristics that is proven beneficial in the treatment and prevention of SARS-Cov-2. This review offers a thorough analysis of NAC and discusses its potential use for treatment of COVID-19.
Inhibition of hemorrhagic activity of viper venoms by N-acetylcysteine
The mortality rate due to snakebite is reduced markedly by the use of anti-venoms, which are the only medically approved remedial agents available. The anti-venoms effectively neutralize the systemic toxicity but offer no protection towards local tissue degradation. In viperid snake envenomations, SVMPs and SVHYs are the major agents responsible for brutal local tissue damage as they degrade ECM and basement membrane surrounding the blood vessels. Thus, the usage of inhibitor(s) against ECM degrading enzymes in the treatment of viper bites is an affirmative therapeutic choice. The present study assessed the efficacy of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) to inhibit gelatinase, hyaluronidase, hemorrhagic and defibrinogenating activities of Vipera russelli and Echis carinatus venoms. NAC inhibited these activities dosedependently, but it did not inhibit the PLA2, 5′ nucleotidase, procoagulant and edema inducing activities of both the venoms. NAC showed complete inhibition of hemorrhagic activity when incubated with venom prior to testing. Whereas little inhibition was observed when venom and NAC were injected independently. Inhibition of the basement membrane degradation and accumulation of inflammatory leukocytes at the site of venom injection in histological sections further corroborate the inhibitory property of NAC. The observed inhibition of hemorrhage was likely due to zinc chelation as supported by spectral studies. Further, docking predictions suggested the role of -SH and -NH-CO-CH3 groups of NAC in the inhibition of SVMPs and SVHYs. Future studies related to the protective role of NAC against the venom induced systemic hemorrhage and secondary complications are highly exciting.