NAC is technically classified as a mucolytic due to its effective adjunctive use in respiratory disorders that have excessive secretions. It is also hepatoprotective and used to protect the liver from damage due to overuse of acetaminophen. But as a neurologist, and not a hepatologist or a pulmonologist, I like it for its remarkable antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects as well as actions on important neurotransmitters such as glutamate and dopamine.
NAC is a necessary precursor for the synthesis of glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant in its own right. Both NAC and glutathione can scavenge free radicals that are formed when there is damage to the cells in the body. Free radicals can be particularly toxic to the walls of our blood vessels, our peripheral nerves, the neuronal cells of our brain, and our mitochondria. NAC can be effective adjunctive treatment for neuropathy, mild cognitive impairment, concussion, headaches, and autoimmune disorders. It may help to protect the brain from impaired blood flow and delivery by supporting vessel dilation and may modify the progression of some neurodegenerative diseases as well.