NAC antioxidant

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Hi all,

I was talking to Tabatha and we came upon the subject of NAC and I just thought I would let everybody know about some new research on the subject.

Regarding NAC: I took it for 3-4 years, but then a few months back I read that several experiments with NAC had shown that it actually increased cancer cells. 

Now, it's not a problem if you don't have cancer, but supplementing with a lot of antioxidants if you do have cancer can actually make the cancer cells grow rapidly.

Anyways, I stopped taking the NAC. I get enough antioxidants from my diet.

Just thought I would share in case others are taking NAC and want to do more research about it or talk to their doctors. 

Ida

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  • Posted

    Well, Ida, you've got me researching this now.  I have finished my NAC as of two wks ago and won't get more but I'll try to see if I feel any differences.  As you know my nat'l. dr. did recommend it highly but I haven't talked to him about it for a couple of years so don't know if his opinion has changed. But I think your idea of trying to get a good diet of whole foods is a great thing if we can do it.  Glutathione I read comes from red meat and if it's grass fed then that's best.  My health food store showed me where they keep their frozen grass fed beef (expecting me to come every week I'm sure)  but it was so expensive.  I think it was $12 for a small fat steak just big enough for two small servings.  Better than eating steak out though.  And the article I read says alpha-lipoic-acid can provide glutathione and it doesn't seem to have any problems connected with it.

    I've been on that for years also in a combination with Co-Q-10 and N-acetyl-L-Carnitine.

    Ida, I appreciate your info on the cancer connection of NAC and good for you that you spotted that news.  Now, do we need to look into other antioxidants?

    I basically prescribe for myself I have to say that when I take my long list of vits/supps to that Nat'l. dr. he is very pleased and loves it all.  He might change a quantity if I wasn't taking strong enough but that's all.  He didn't disapprove anything and as I told Ida in a personal msg. I do not buy from that doctor and he does not require his patients to do so.

    Tabatha

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  • Posted

    I take acetylcysteine. It seems to be the mucolytic (sputum thinning) drug of choice in Thailand where I live. I understand that may be the case in the US and some other countries as well. My 'home' country (I am an expat in Thailand), the UK, uses carbocysteine as the mucloytic drug of choice, which I understood to be a similar drug.

    I'm confused - when I google 'NAC' I get adverts for some cheap tablets that are a food supplement that advertises itself as an antioxidant and a immune system booster and this purpose is consistent with your posting. No mention in that advert of the mucolytic properties that are the feature of any google listings of 'acetylcysteine' or 'N-acetylcysteine' or 'NAC long' (the brand name that the drug goes under in Thailand. No mention of antioxidant or immune booster qualities in the drug leaflet accompanying my acetylcysteine/N-Acetylcysteine or on general drug websites (which are mostly meant for professional medics, which I am not one of btw)

    So, does the research you reference apply to the drug we bronchex sufferers know as a mucolytic or is there some other completely different cheapo food supplement that is being marketed and is now attracting negative attention form the medical research community?

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    • Posted

      Hi Steve,

      Unfortunately I can't help you since I don't know the difference between the one you are taking and the NAC here in the US. 

      Maybe you can ask your doctor.

      Also, please remember that the studies that were done showed that only if you already have cancer will the antioxidants in the NAC make the cancer cells grow faster. If you don't have cancer, then there are no cancer cells to help grow more rapidly.

      Hope that helps a little,

      Ida

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    • Posted

      OK - I'll take it up with my Thai pulmonolgist. Do you have any internet or other references to the studies so that I can gain access to them. Without more detail I would be asking a rather arcane question, since I suspect he will say that N-acetylcysteine (which seems to be shortened to NAC) in Thailand is not used for its antioxidant properties and he may even say he is unaware of any antioxidant issues.

      To help me understand  why do you guys take NAC in the US if it is advertised as an antioxidant and immune system booster. Is that the use it is put to in the US by bronchex sufferers or is it more generally used by people like us as a sputum-thinning mucolytic with (claimed potential, or proven?) side benefits of anti-oxidation and immune system boosting?

      I have had a form of lung cancer in the past - two years ago I received radiation therapy for a 'malt lung lymphoma'. It is a type of cancer that is not strictly a lung cancer, is quite easy to treat (in fact some sufferers are told by the specialists that they will simply monitor it and it has no impact and is only treated if it flares up) and is not expected to have the potential to recur in the same way as straight-up cancer once radiated. So you can see that your posting is not one of idle interest to me, but neither is it something that alarms me.

      Thanks for the info - I'l keep the forum posted, but I'm not seeing my Thai guy (unless I get am unexpected bad exacerbation) until later this month

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    • Posted

      Hi Steve,

      I can't send you any links, but you can google 'NAC and cancer cell growth'.

      If it doesn't work, you can contact me privately and I will send you the links.

      Like you said; I wouldn't be too concerned either. It's hard to say how anything works on our bodies and I think a lot more research is needed before it can actually be said that "overdosing" on antioxidants will cause cancer cells to grow.

      Plus, it sounds as if what you are taking might be something different than the western NAC formula.

      Again, please contact me if you can't find the links.

      Ida

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    • Posted

      Thanks IDA - skimmed a couple of items following the google search and that gives me everything I need to question my pulmonologist.

      The implication of your reply is that you were using NAC for its antioxidant and/or immune system boosting properties - is that right? Does anyone else out there on the forum in the US use a mucolytic at all and if so what? I had rather assumed that NAC must be used for bronchex patients, otherwise I'm unclear why you two would be be discussing it on a bronchex thread. That's not dissing you guys - just trying to get better cluse on whether we are talking two different preparations of ostensibly the same drug.  

      Thanks for the response IDA - the brief skim looks as though it would be a concern if one had an active tumour that is being treated; the main concern (from only a quick skim of a couple of articles or Q&As) seems to be that NAC can block the action or effectiveness of other treatments - chemo etc - that are intended to kill a tumour (and of course the research is only applicable to mice so far!)

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    • Posted

      Hi, Steve,  interesting question you have and I see you want others to reply about mucolytics.

      I have taken N-Acetyl-Cysteine for several years on advice of my natural doctor.. He did not say why, only that I NEEDED to take it.

      I then read that it's used for chronic bronchitis which is COPD as well as many other potential ailments. COPD causes loads of mucous just like BX so the complaint is similar.

      There are many articles on NAC as Ida suggests, but you'll find better results I think with the words spelled out.  I researched it first after being referred to it and learned just what you are talking about - it's said to be a great antioxidant because it has something to do with supplying glutathione, a very important antioxidant, which is necessary in the body and is not so abundant with age. One of the best ways to get it is with NAC. 

      I have stopped taking it at least temporarily, as I didn't really feel different and I have to swallow so many capsules a day, but if I notice a thickening of my mucous or some other issue I'll probably get back on it.  I was taking 600 mg twice a day for years and he told me I could take up to 3 a day so I did that recently but again, didn't notice any difference with my lungs. I experienced no side effects at all. 

      One time I was in the hospital ER and I heard a doctor say to another doctor - 'give him NAC to counteract the Tylenol'.  I was very impressed because it's not really a drug.  I remember reading it is a counter for a Tylenol overdose among many other things.  It has many uses.

      As a mucolytic, however, I take mucinex just the plain one not the one that has a decongestant in it as it raises the BP.   I'm not at all sure I feel anything different there either but I seem to do well at bringing stuff up naturally. I think I learned long after I was taking the NAC that it also helped to thin mucous but my main reason for taking it was as an antioxidant because it sounded so important from that point of view then knowing it was also a mucolytic and what that meant (I might not have known if I'd read that word when I first started taking it what that meant) gave it even more importance.

      One reason it's probably not talked about with BX is possibly because medical doctors may not prescribe it. They would prescribe a drug.   But those who go to an Alternative Dr. might be taking it and just haven't mentioned it.   I just remembered something - I was talking to a Pharmacist one day years back and he'd mentioned there is a pharmacy in California who makes a nebulizing treatment with NAC.  I was very interested as I wanted something healthy and natural IN MY LUNGS to do some good. I asked my Pulmonary Dr. about it and he had no idea and no interest and I forget what he said but I got no help there But I'm sure I've heard more recently that NAC is used in that form..and could be by some medical doctors. Esp. if the hospital uses it.

      NAC has been advertised in the past on TV and Radio shows as a great antioxidant to destroy free radicals and Alternative doctors may prescribe it for that reason and for specific problems that one may have, including getting rid of mucous.

      I hope this answer was not too convoluted - it's late and my brain is tired.

      Tabatha

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    • Posted

      My accupuncturist at the time recommended NAC to help my lungs and I did some research and also asked my pulmonary doctor at the time and she said that it couldn't hurt and the research I did on it sounded good.

      However, as with Tabatha, I did not notice any change whether I took it or  not, so when I heard about the newest research, I stopped taking it. However,  had I felt better while taking it, I probably would have continued, since the research is so new and really only pertains to people who already have cancer.

      Best,

      Ida

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