N-Acetyl-Cysteine: A Powerful Protector Banned From Amazon

N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) is a supplement that increases the production of the most powerful antioxidant in the body. This antioxidant is called glutathione and it is a great anti-inflammatory and body protector. Glutathione is essential to the functioning of specific immune cells which fight infection.

It is well known that NAC supplements can increase the production of glutathione in the body. In times of a viral pandemic NAC should be easily available to those wanting a protective effect for their lungs. N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) has made the news recently not because of its powerful health benefits, but because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suddenly decided after nearly 60 years of over-the-counter sales, NAC is now a “medication” or drug that requires a physician’s prescription.

Amazon suddenly bans all N-Acetyl-Cysteine products for sale

In July, 2020, the FDA sent warning letters to various NAC manufacturers that invoked the Drug Exclusion Provision in U.S. code Title 21 to ban the sale of n-acetylcysteine (NAC). In May 2021, almost a year later, Amazon pulled all NAC products from its virtual shelves, citing the warning letters from the FDA as the reason. The matter is far from settled, however, as Lawyers for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) has said this exclusion is “legally invalid”. Furthermore, the Natural Products Association (NPA) recently issued a statement advising manufacturers to continue making NAC products and for retailers to continue selling their NAC products on other websites besides Amazon.

Interestingly, NAC is currently being investigated for treatment of severe COVID and is showing promising results. This calls into question the timing of Amazon’s decision to pull NAC products from its catalogue. Is it merely co-incidental, or is Amazon siding with big pharma?

While we can no longer sell NAC on the Amazon platform, we will continue to sell NAC products on LiverDoctor under the advice of the NPA.

Why is NAC so vital to the body?

NAC has been used for over five decades in clinical medicine as a mucolytic agent (clearing up mucus), for respiratory infections, lung weakness and for lung diseases such as asthma, sinusitis, chronic obstructive airways disease (COPD), bronchiectasis, chronic bronchitis, cystic fibrosis and pulmonary fibrosis. Research has proven that NAC can be used alone, or in combination with antibiotics or other antimicrobial agents, to eradicate some chronic infections.

Health benefits of NAC

  • Helps replenish glutathione (GSH) levels in the lungs and reduces inflammation in the lungs and bronchial tubes
  • Strengthens the lungs
  • Supports the body’s detoxification processes
  • Inhibits inflammation in the whole body (systemic inflammation)
  • Exerts antimicrobial properties
  • Improves oral and dental health
  • Exerts liver protective and reparative effects
  • Can assist with rehabilitation and withdrawal therapy for drug addicted patients

NAC helps to prevent side effects of drugs, drug overdose and environmental toxins. Hospital emergency departments regularly give intravenous (IV) NAC to people with an acetaminophen (paracetamol) overdose to prevent kidney and liver damage or failure. NAC neutralizes toxins and pollutants including heavy metals that accumulate in the liver, kidneys and fatty parts of the body. Restoring glutathione levels with NAC supplements makes liver and kidney cells more able to protect themselves from damage caused by fatty accumulation, viral infections, toxic chemicals, drug induced damage, alcohol excess or autoimmune inflammation.

Considering the poor oral absorption of dietary or supplemental glutathione (GSH), orally administered NAC has been found to be more efficient than glutathione tablets or capsules. NAC has a long-established safety record in adults and children and has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration since 1963.

Biofilms and infections

Infections persist and become chronic in the body because microorganisms (viruses, bacteria and fungi) make themselves a protective external layer called a biofilm. These microorganisms survive and hide in body cavities and surfaces through the formation of biofilms. Biofilms are microbial communities surrounded by a layer of mucus like material, which makes it hard for the immune system to fight them. Biofilms are resistant to antiviral and antibacterial treatments and to the immune defenses of the person infected.

Some viruses are capable of forming complex biofilm-like structures, similar to bacterial biofilms. These biofilm structures protect viruses from the immune system and enable them to spread more easily from cell to cell. Viral biofilms are likely to be a major method of propagation for many types of viruses.

NAC has been extensively researched for its effectiveness in inhibiting biofilm formation and in destroying developed biofilms. Studies show a role for NAC in the treatment of biofilms, with excellent safety and effectiveness. NAC has shown good properties in combating persistent antibiotic resistant bacterial infections and inhibiting bacterial adhesion and dissolving the biofilm matrix. NAC has been shown to help the body fight viral infections and inhibited the replication of seasonal human influenza A viruses.

Drug resistant infections such as Helicobactor pylori, sinusitis, cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis and gastrointestinal infections usually have well developed biofilms. Biofilm protected bacteria can be up to a thousand times more resistant to treatment and the host’s own immune defenses and 80% of refractory infections (i.e. unresponsive to medical treatment) are attributable to biofilm colonies. Biofilm may spread into uninfected areas and the cycle repeats thus worsening the infection.

Dental plaque is a form of biofilm and NAC is a therapy used as an antiplaque and bacteriostatic agent for managing chronic dental decay.

NAC is very underutilized as a therapeutic agent in chronic persistent infections which have previously resisted standard antimicrobial treatments.

NAC and selenium work together

Selenium acts in the body as a cleaning up agent and antioxidant, which neutralizes toxic substances. Selenium is required for antioxidant enzymes in the body called seleno-proteins to work efficiently. The most important seleno-protein is glutathione. Glutathione and Selenium are continually to protect your cells. To learn about the medical properties of NAC do a quick search on PubMed and you will find thousands of good scientific studies. NAC is worth keeping in your medicine chest and a bottle of NAC will stay fresh in your refrigerator for several years in case you need it one day.

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.

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47. https://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/regulatory/amazon-confirms-plans-removing-nac-supplements
48. https://www.crnusa.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/comments-pdfs/CRN-Letter-to-FDA-reNAC-12-420.pdf