Commonly known as NAC, N-acetylcysteine is an amino acid that supports critical functions and helps fight infection. Our body manufactures NAC using the cysteine from the foods we ingest. Sources include most meats and certain plants, including broccoli, red pepper and onion. Bananas, garlic, soy beans, linseed (aka, flax seed) and wheat germ also contain cysteine.
NAC does many good things in the body (boosts the antioxidant glutathione, liver and kidney protection, muscle performance, supports respiratory function), as well as fights persistent ear infections. Researchers have found NAC to be beneficial both as an added treatment to conventional antibiotics (outcomes were improved) and as a stand alone treatment. This is most likely because NAC has both mucolytic (breaks down mucus) and antimicrobial properties.
As a supplement, NAC comes in a variety of forms, including capsules, loose powder and liquid so it makes it easy to add it to something like apple sauce, pear sauce or a smoothie for picky little eaters. Whether you increase foods high in cysteine or you take NAC as a supplement, it is important that you first consult your holistic healthcare professional.
May, E. R., Conklin, K. A., & Bemis, D. A. (January 01, 2016). Antibacterial effect of N-acetylcysteine on common canine otitis externa isolates. Veterinary Dermatology, 27, 3, 188.May, E. R., Conklin, K. A., & Bemis, D. A. (January 01, 2016). Antibacterial effect of N-acetylcysteine on common canine otitis externa isolates. Veterinary Dermatology, 27, 3, 188.
Lea, J., Conlin, A. E., Sekirov, I., Restelli, V., Ayakar, K. G., Turnbull, L., Doyle, P., … Westerberg, B. D. (January 01, 2014). In vitro efficacy of N-acetylcysteine on bacteria associated with chronic suppurative otitis media. Journal of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery = Le Journal D’oto-Rhino-Laryngologie Et De Chirurgie Cervico-Faciale, 43.
Mokhtari, V., Afsharian, P., Shahhoseini, M., Kalantar, S. M., & Moini, A. (January 01, 2017). A Review on Various Uses of N-Acetyl Cysteine. Cell Journal, 19, 1.)