Is there a difference in pharmaceutical quality NAC and other NCA supplements?

by Susie M

Hi Wray,

I have asked other questions on this site but still have one more before I want to start on progesterone therapy with Natpro. This question is about choosing a good NAC supplement.

I started doing an internet search for NAC supplements. I found a site that had the following information on it.

"All NAC supplements are NOT the same. The problem I have run into with most over the counter NAC supplements is their packaging. NAC is a strong thiol-bearing compound prone to air oxidization. Once you open the bottle you bought on the Internet, the product has likely degraded since the time it was on the manufacturing line. Bioavailabilty (the amount that actually gets into your body) is likely low."

"There is a company called BioAdvantex in Canada that makes a pharmaceutical grade NAC supplement that comes in an effervescent tablet form (see photo). Think of an Alka Seltzer with a wild berry flavor. Each PharmaNAC fizzy tablet is individually wrapped in a special paper/plastic/foil material to keep moisture and air from entering the package. The manufacturing process is very well controlled to produce the most bioavialable form of NAC on the market today. Each tablet comes in 900mgs which I like."

What do you think of this information? Do you agree with it?

I found that the price is in the neighborhood of $25 for a 32 tablet box. Each tablet is 900 mg. You recommended I take 2000 mg/day for my particular bleeding problem. So I am also asking if I take 2 tabs/day equaling 1800 mg's if that would be enough? I realize that this brand of pharmaceutical NAC is twice the cost than standard supplements. Most NAC's are 500 to 600 mg's and the bottles contain around 60 capsules. At 2000 mg/day, I would need to take 3 caps (600mg)to equal 1800 mg's and at 4 caps I would be ingesting 2400 mg's.

I am more interested in taking a better absorbed/assimilated quality product that does not contain other possible harmful ingredients than the cost. That is why you, others and I choose Natpro over progesterone creams.

I really need your opinion on this before I can choose a NAC supplement. I am confused as what to believe about this pharmaceutical version.

Comments for Is there a difference in pharmaceutical quality NAC and other NCA supplements?

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Aug 31, 2012
by: Anonymous

The reason the NAC is so hard to get a good viable one is because of the double bond in cysteine. You would be better to take something called Immunocal, it holds all the patents you can possibly immagine - plus I worked with the physician that developed this product. Immunocal is the only product that has proven to raise glutathione levels intracellulary. This is why you want NAC - to clean out your liver probably. Glutathione contains glutamate, glycine and cysteine (double bond). I have watched it kill cancer cells, help people with liver problems, immune problems and on and on.

Sep 01, 2012
Is there a difference in pharmaceutical quality NAC and other NCA supplements?
by: Wray

Hi Susie M I believe I have answered your query on NAC on your other pages. Let me know if not. Take care Wray

Sep 02, 2012
Is there a difference in pharmaceutical quality NAC and other NCA supplements?
by: Wray

Hi Susie M I take a powder NAC every day, plus I put some in my water bottle and have for years, and have found it works well. I use it for disinfecting wounds and burns, it's excellent for washing and cleaning them, although it does sting. There seems to be so much hype around about so many supplements, I take no notice of them. NAC is manufactured as a powder in bulk, it's certainly not done under an oxygen free environment. It's transported around the world as such, then repackaged by wholesalers and sold on to vitamin complex manufacturers. This is how I get mine, in repackaged form to make up the complexes we have. A good brand is LEF. Take care Wray

Sep 06, 2012
found this information on NAC
by: Susie M


I found this information while searching for a study on this subject. I was looking because I had jumped the gun out of excitement and ordered these sealed effervescent NAC tables before I waited for a recommendation on what brand NAC to buy. I was trying to find something that would make me feel better and less foolish for purchasing 6 boxes.

I will paste the information on the next post because of the 300 character limit per post. I tried to do it here and it was apparently too long. I will put the pasted information in quotes.

The quotation area including additional comments are not my comments, just what I copied.

I did however, feel better and less foolish in purchasing the sealed effervescent NAC after reading this information since it was backed in the linked study.

Sep 06, 2012
pasted information/not my comments included
by: Susie M

"There was a study done by Leonore Herzenberg at Stanford with the finding that NAC tends to degrade and destabilize in the presence of air, and therefore was of inconsistent quality and dosage. The link I had is broken, but I found a patent application from the same researchers stating the same thing. It's very long, but I've copied the relevant passage:

NAC Packaging: Stability

[0082]Over-the-counter NAC can be produced variably and packaged. Because production and packaging methods generally do not guard against oxidation, NAC can be significantly contaminated with bioactive oxidation products. These may be particularly important in view of data indicating that the oxidized form of NAC has effects counter to those reported for NAC and is bioactive at doses roughly 10-100 fold less than NAC (see Samstrand et al (1999) J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 288: 1174-84).

[0083]The distribution of the oxidation states of NAC as a thiol and disulfide depends on the oxidation/reduction potential. The half-cell potential obtained for the NAC thiol/disulfide pair is about +63 mV, indicative of its strong reducing activity among natural compounds (see Noszal et al. (2000) J. Med. Chem. 43:2176-2182).

[0084]It therefore is highly desirable that the APAP-NAC formulation is prepared and stored so that oxidation of the reduced form of NAC is minimized. When in solution. NAC containing formulations may be stored in a brown bottle that is vacuum scaled. In some embodiments, storage is in a cool dark environment. In some embodiments, NAC containing formulations in solid form are blister packed under gas. In some embodiments, APAP:NAC formulations are formulated as a tablet, wherein the tablet comprises antioxidants. In some such embodiments, the tablet is uncoated. In some such embodiments, the tablet is coated with a coating that acts to, for example, limit oxygen transfer or photolability. According to another embodiment, the composition further comprises stabilizing agents. Stabilizing agents may include, but are not limited to, antioxidants. Such agents may act to, for example, but not limited to, inhibit oxygen transfer or photolability.

[0085]The determination of reduced and oxidized species present in a sample may be determined by various methods known in the art, for example, with capillary electrophoresis, HPLC, etc. as described by Chassaing et al. (1999) J Chromatogr B Biomed Sci Appl 735(2):219-27.

In the original article, it concluded that individually wrapped in foil effervescent tablets were the highest quality delivery system. If you've smelled that sulphur smell when opening a bottle of pills, that is the oxidizing effect. When you take them out of the foil, that smell is not there."

Sep 08, 2012
found this information on NAC
by: Wray

Hi Susie Thanks for the research. This study here also conducted by Leonore Herzenberg, says.... "Chemically NAC is similar to cysteine. The presence of the acetyl moiety, however, reduces the reactivity of the thiol as compared with that of cysteine. Thus as compared with the cysteine, NAC is less toxic, less susceptible to oxidation (and dimerization) and is more soluble in water, making it a better source of cysteine than the parenteral administration of cysteine itself." She does give a number of brands you could choose from too. Take care Wray

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