Medicines, Supplements

Acetylcysteine: effects, benefits and Covid-19

Acetilcisteina e covid-19 - copertina
Today we talk about acetylcysteine.

The recent wave of bad weather that hit Italy was accompanied by a consequent drop in temperatures. In short, winter seems to have arrived and, with it, the first ailments of the season begin to show themselves. 

This is certainly not new. Each year, in fact, about 8% of the Italian population is affected by flu symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, stuffy nose and cough. And, like every year, the hunt for the right remedy has begun. 

However, to complicate the situation, the Covid-19 pandemic that still afflicts the world population risks generating alarmism in patients experiencing flu symptoms. 

This article aims to investigate the effects and benefits ofacetylcysteine, the mucolytic better known, also in relation to the SARS-CoV-2 or Covid-19 virus.

What is acetylcysteine?

L'Acetylcysteine (or NAC, acronym for N-Acetylcysteine) is an antioxidant, with many beneficial properties, which is often used in many products for the treatment of cough and runny nose.

There NAC is a derivative of the essential amino acid Cysteine, whose beneficial properties have already been dealt with in detail in this article. There NAC it is in fact used for the treatment of numerous pathologies, such as paracetamol intoxication, which will not be treated here.

Our attention will instead focus on hers mucolytic properties.

The chemical composition of the NAC predicts a chemical group containing a sulfur atom. It contributes to the breakdown of the sulfur atoms present in the mucus proteins, making the latter more fluid and, consequently, easier to eliminate by coughing and sneezing. 

This is particularly useful for both reduce flu symptoms, such as cough and cold, for both avoid that the continuous presence of mucus leads to the formation of annoying viral and bacterial infections

Acetylcysteine and Covid-19

Given the beneficial properties just mentioned, it has been hypothesized a possible use of this antioxidant also for the treatment of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, commonly known as Covid-19.

But what's true? What is the relationship between acetylcysteine and Covid-19?

Let's start by saying that the NAC it does not help prevent contagion. To avoid contracting the virus, the guidelines to follow are those now known to all and available on the website of the Ministry of Health, such as the use of the mask indoors, frequent disinfection of the hands, etc. 

So theacetylcysteine what can it be useful for? Some recent studies have highlighted the ability of NAC to cleave disulfide bonds (also called disulfide bridges). These bonds are formed within the proteins between two sulfur atoms and serve to keep the structure of the same firm. 

Applying this concept to the proteins of the SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) virus, the NAC is therefore able to modify its structure, reducing the infectivity of the virus.

The two studies under consideration, N-acetylcysteine as a potential treatment for COVID-19 is Rationale for the use of N-acetylcysteine in both prevention and adjuvant therapy of COVID-19however, they are based on laboratory studies. The conclusions highlighted so far are therefore to be verified in the field. Although promising, before being able to affirm the effectiveness of NAC against Covid-19, it is therefore necessary to carry out tests on patients affected by the virus SARS-CoV-2.

NAC against bacterial biofilms

Pending further scientific evidence with respect to Covid-19, the NAC it is certainly effective in combating the formation of the so-called bacterial biofilms

This term indicates a set of bacteria that attack a surface, such as the mucus that remains in the respiratory tract. The main feature of this bacterial biofilm is its surprising resistance to the immune system. The bacteria present inside it are in fact protected from external attacks by an envelope of self-produced substances. 

Approximately 60% of all chronic infections originate from a bacterial biofilm. In fact, it provides protection to bacteria even against common antibiotic therapies, forcing the doctor to prescribe numerous courses of antibiotic therapy, up to the complete removal of the biofilms. 

This study, in particular, highlights how “… the NAC alone or in combination with antibiotics can reduce the risk of exacerbations of chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and rhinosinusitis "(source).

To sum up, the NAC it is therefore effective in cases of severe respiratory tract infections and in the prevention of chronic pathological forms. 

NAC as an antioxidant

A final aspect of interest concerns the antioxidant function ofacetylcysteine

Without going into detail (for a more in-depth discussion, refer todedicated article), the NAC restores the correct levels of glutathione, a process useful for keeping any local inflammations under control. 

This, combined with its mucolytic and anti-bacterial properties, make NAC a perfect product for fighting flu symptoms.


Waiting for more in-depth studies on the effects of NAC for the treatment of Coronavirus, we can say that theacetylcysteine it is certainly effective in dissolving and removing phlegm present in the respiratory tract, in fighting bacterial infections (including chronic ones) and in reducing inflammation.

Precisely because of these characteristics, Bioline Supplements has created, starting fromacetylcysteine, NAC 600 Powder in Sachets, a supplement based on N-Acetyl Cysteine, with vitamin C and thyme plant extract. For the well-being of the nose and throat.

Visit the shop to discover all the products Bioline Supplements.

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