NAC’s Crucial Role in Preventing and Treating COVID-19

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a precursor to reduced glutathione, which appears to play a crucial role in COVID-19. There’s evidence glutathione deficiency may worsen COVID-19 severity
  • Patients with glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency are more prone to COVID-19 as it depletes glutathione. Some of these patients are also at increased risk of hemolytic anemia when given the COVID-19 drug hydroxychloroquine
  • High-dose intravenous NAC may address the chain of events leading to red blood cell hemolysis in these patients, allowing them to recover from severe COVID-19
  • NAC also inhibits expression of proinflammatory cytokines, improves T cell response, benefits a variety of lung problems, and inhibits the hypercoagulation that can result in stroke and/or blood clots that impair the ability to exchange oxygen in the lungs
  • As the benefits of NAC against COVID-19 are starting to become known, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is suddenly cracking down on NAC, claiming it is excluded from the definition of a dietary supplement

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