COVID-19 cases are on the rise once again, which means that hospitals are filling up with infected patients. Fortunately, researchers know more about the virus than they did a year ago, helping them develop innovative solutions for treatment and prevention.
One of these potential solutions is N-acetylcysteine (NAC). This natural supplement has been administered in clinical practice to treat critically ill septic patients, and it has recently begun to be used for COVID-19 patients.
NAC, which has also been approved by the FDA, has the potential to target COVID-19 whether or not it presents itself as a severe case. This natural supplement’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting qualities are beneficial for treating onset symptoms as well as helping prevent severe complications like acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which is the leading cause of death among infected patients.
Find out how N-acetylcysteine can help boost your immune system and provide the protection you need to stay safe and healthy amidst an ongoing pandemic.
What is NAC?
N-acetylcysteine is an amino acid precursor to glutathione, and this is one of the most important antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals and other compounds that help prevent cells and DNA from being damaged by free radicals. These are unstable molecules produced from environmental factors, such as exposure to radiation, as well as natural processes, such as the body breaking down food.
Our bodies have a reduced ability to create glutathione as we age, with production dropping to 50% by age 65. With so many severe complications and deaths occurring due to COVID-19, particularly among the senior population and those who are immunocompromised, it is more important than ever for individuals to understand the benefits of NAC.
For decades, N-acetylcysteine has been used to increase glutathione levels, loosen thick mucus in the lungs and airways, and detoxify the liver. It can also boost the immune system, suppress virus replication, and reduce inflammation.
Various trials have been conducted on the seasonal influenza A to help prove the effectiveness of NAC. Several studies concluded that when patients were treated with this natural supplement, the severity and duration of most of their symptoms significantly decreased. Researchers were also pleased to see that patients experienced a reduced amount of influenza-like episodes.
Despite the notable support that oral N-acetylcysteine has received, it has been mostly overlooked throughout the SARS-Cov and MERS-Cov epidemics, as well as the current COVID-19 pandemic. However, given its positive impacts with treating influenza, this natural supplement may reduce the likelihood of a patient developing critical pneumonia, which can be a fatal consequence of a COVID-19 infection.
How is NAC Used to Treat COVID?
Once N-acetylcysteine is consumed orally, it interacts with immune and epithelial cells. These cells protect the internal body from the external environment by lining the skin, essential organs, and blood vessels. Not only does this interaction help maintain homeostasis, but it also strengthens immune processes so that the body can combat viral infections, including COVID-19.
If we have a patient who has not contracted COVID-19 but is at greater risk of developing severe complications, we recommend that they take a 500mg dose of NAC twice daily, as this can help prepare the immune system for potential exposure. A dose of 1500-2000 mg can be effective for those who have already contracted the virus, as it can speed the recovery process and alleviate mild symptoms like a dry cough, fever and congestion.
As you create your game plan for preventing and/or treating COVID-19, consider reaching out to our functional providers in Springfield, Missouri. Our initial consultations assess your symptoms and discuss available options, which helps determine if natural supplements like NAC would be the right treatment for you. We also provide effective treatments for alleviating post-COVID symptoms, such as intravenous (IV) therapy, Ozone therapy, and laser photodynamic therapy (PDT).
Get in touch with us so we can help you feel confident about your health during these uncertain times.