Nac supplements: Good evening all. Has... - British Lung Foun...

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Nac supplements


Good evening all. Has anyone used nac supplement for COPD & if so did you find it helped with your breathing. I've just been reading about this & how it's supposed to help. Was there any side affects while taking it. You'd think with all the tax the government makes on Tobacco & the income the makers make on Smoking a cure could be found for this dreadful disease.

15 Replies


Some night time reading for you.


NAC is a mucolytic agent. Check with a medical practitioner. Especially if you also have asthma.

Hi Jansy, you make a really good point regarding all the money governments have made out of peoples addictions. The sad part for me is that it was known years ago just how much damage cigarettes were causing. Did governments ban cigarettes in order to protect the people - of course not - they just increased the taxes year on year and pretended it was done for our benefit.

Anyway after that little rant 🙈 i know absolutely nothing about NAC supplements, so i was really helpful SORRY. 😡 .

The US tried a ban on alcohol in the 1920s. All it did was encourage illegal alcohol, gangsters and murder on the streets. Nobody is forced to smoke and the risk has been known since the fifties. Street drugs are banned, but there are still users who risk their lives every day.

I understand where you are coming from with this, of course you are correct in-that we all have choices, the problem is that we are human and some of us are weak. My problem is with the way our governments were very happy to make money from this situation. To me they are hypocrites. True also that the dangers have been known for years, they were also known years earlier to the tobacco companies who chose to keep their findings quiet. Shameful greed.

I may be weak (not by smoking, never done that) but I do not want a controlling government!

NAC is an over-the-counter supplement - usually for our (COPD) purposes as a mucolytic - helps thin mucous making it easier to 'move'.

You may be able to get it on prescription but the usual GP prescribed medication for this purpose is Carbocisteine, so free to you if you don't pay.

Maybe try that first if you haven't already, note its effect takes a few days to build up.

NAC is not as effective in my experience, although it has its fans on BLF.

Both may help thin mucous which in turn may help keep your lungs clear.

Neither works for everyone.

Is your COPD due to smoking related emphysema? If so, do you have a lot of mucous and have difficulty with expectoration? If yes, then it could be worth trying carbocysteine capsules because they loosen up the phlegm and make it easier to cough up. Some people find it useful whereas some don’t. The dose is two capsules up to three times a day.

Hidden in reply to Bella395

I stopped using carbocysteine as it make me vomit.....projectile vomiting with no warning. 🙃

BronchX sufferer here but we use mucolytics for the same reason as do those with COPD. I spent 6 months self-testing the difference between "NAC Long" (acetylcysteine) and "Mucex" (carbocysteine) - 6 week rotating usages of each.

I concluded they were indistinguishable in effect (but both useful and both zero side effects for me). I prefer the one dose soluble tablet approach of the particular acetylcysteine I take to the 3 (x2 x375g) dosage of carbocysteine so I've plumped for that even though it's a bit more expensive.

People have varying views and occasionally some find one or other has a side effect they can't tolerate. The medicinal guidance indicates few side effects or contraindications for either of the two. My Thai pulmonologist made reference to a study (of Western origin) that had concluded that carbocytsteine was more effective but my internet searching had not found it.

You can ask a pharmacist if you like but IMO you'll only find out whether its beneficial for you by trying one or both out.

Carbocisteine is much more effective for me than NAC for me.


Hi Jansy16,

I've been taking NAC since March 2018 when I was first assessed as having Emphysema, and noticed the improvement in mucous reduction/clearance within a week. I now only take 1 X 600 mg a day, literally enduring no episodes of coughing at all! I did study the two "cysteines", finding in favour of NAC after progressing beyond an article which describes it as "the mother of all anti-oxidants", which led me to another relating to its promotion of lung health in children born with specific deficiencies. Its benefits have been well documented over some 30 years, but I find/found nothing similar relating to 'carbocystein'

One of the best relative publications in recent times is here:

One particular paragraph is particularly positive: "improve imbalance of oxidant-antioxidant and further prevent airway injury.25 The thiol group in NAC reduces the activity of elastase, decreases plasma myeloperoxidase (MPO) and the capacity of elastic protease, as well as decreasing the production of lactoferrin and eosinophil cationic protein in BALF, neutrophil chemoattractant activity26 and neutrophil chemoattractant release in sputum of COPD patients.27 It also attenuates the lung injury induced by oxidative stress, lung inflammation and airway remodeling."

Stay strong & Positive, & don't be a stranger here :-)

I've been taking NAC since diagnosis. Clinical tests prove that when 600mg is taken twice a day by those with moderate to severe copd, exerbations are reduced by 30%.

I've no idea if it works, I just know there doesn't seem to be any side effects so at the very worst. It's doing me no harm

Please help .... what is meant with NAC ? Thanks fir enlightening me 😀

If you read through the thread you will see that NAC is N-acetylcysteine. It is classed as a mucolytic, a drug that is usually taken orally to loosen mucous. This should make the sputum easier to cough up. It is availability over the counter.

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