Protective effect of N-acetylcysteine (NAC)

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The use of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) 7 days after drinking alcohol: 1) reduced lipid peroxidation, 2) elevated the reduced glutathione level in the liver and in red blood cells, 3) and increased the activity of reduced glutathione-related enzymes in the blood, red blood cells and in the liver. Without NAC, drinking alcohol increased the concentration of the lipid peroxidation products, decreased the liver glutathione activities, and reduced the glutathione concentration and total antioxidant status. Alcohol is oxidized to formaldehyde and then to formate. This process is accompanied by formation of superoxide anion and hydrogen peroxide (both causing potential free radical damage). These results suggest that NAC exerts its protective effect by acting as a precursor for glutathione, the body's natural antioxidant, and as a free radical scavenger.

DRUG AND ALCOHOL DEPENDENCE, 1999, vol 57, Iss 1, pp 61-67

Life Extension Foundation.

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