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SPECIAL REPORT: NUTRITION & IMMUNITY UPDATE! Important Research Finding!

Brian Turner

Posted on August 25 2020

By Steve Blechman

 

 

A most recent report on August 11, 2020 published in the Federation of American Society of Experimental Biology (FASEB) was entitled “Rationale for the use of N-acetylcysteine in both prevention and adjuvant therapy of COVID-19.” FASEB is a lead organization in Washington DC for recommending federal funding for research including the National Institutes of Health (NIH). FASEB members represent a total of greater than 80,000 scientists. The Federation also provides the FASEB journal a monthly scientific publication.

This was a very exciting report in the FASEB journal on the potential of the amino acid n-acetylcysteine (NAC) and COVID-19. The report said, “NAC may be proposed both in the prevention and in the therapy of COVID-19. In particular, the oral administration of NAC, at the dose of 600mg twice daily, may be proposed for preventive purposes aimed at attenuating the risk of developing COVID-19 and its severity during epidemic periods.” The conclusion of the report further says clearly, “The potential anti-COVID-19 mechanisms and properties of this thiol have to be substantiated in controlled clinical trials, some of which are now in progress!”

The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is where one of those clinical trials is underway, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) U.S. National Library of Medicine, ClinicalTrials.gov website entitled “A study of N-acetylcysteine in Patients with COVID-19 infection.” The sponsor of this study is Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The principal investigator is Santosha Vardhana, MD, Ph.D. Memorial Sloan Kettering and researchers are a leading cancer institution and research center in the world studying how the immune system responds to cancer. Also, the role of the immune system, coronavirus and COVID-19. This report was last updated June 1, 2020. The official title of the clinical trial is: “Phase II study of N-acetylcysteine in Severe or Critically Ill Patients With Refractory COVID-19 Infection,” according to the website. The clinical trial started on May 1, 2020 and the estimated primary completion date is May 2021. A brief summary of the study on the website says, “The study researchers think that a medication called N-acetylcysteine can fight the COVID-19 virus by boosting a type of cell in your immune system that attacks infections, by helping your immune system fight the virus. The researchers think that the infection will get better, which could allow the patient to be moved out of the critical care unit or go off a ventilator, or prevent them from moving into a critical care unit or going on a ventilator.” This study is the first to test N-acetylcysteine in people with severe COVID-19 infections. The researchers involved in this important new clinical trial are looking to see if N-acetylcysteine can repair lung tissue damage in COVID-19 patients.

N-acetylcysteine may be used in the future to improve T-cell therapeutic benefits (Cancer Res, October 15, 2015). Reactive oxygen species (ROS) free radicals cause DNA damage of T-cell lymphocytes (Immunity & Aging, February 21, 2013). T-cells (also called t-lymphocytes) are an important component of the immune system. T-cells recognize and kill virus-infected cells. “Now two studies reveal infected people harbor T-cells that target the virus – and may help them recover,” researchers said. N-acetylcysteine may supercharge T-cells in COVID-19 patients but also lower inflammation at the same time! (Journal Science, May 14, 2020). Research has shown that young children are less likely to get sick from the coronavirus. It might be because their immune systems can produce more T-cells faster than they are destroyed and depleted.

It was reported on April 21, in the journal Respiratory Medicine Case Reports, that a 48-year-old woman with COVID-19 pneumonia at NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn, NY made an amazing recovery with oral and intravenous glutathione plus oral N-acetylcysteine. This was very encouraging but remember this is only a case report and does not prove cause and effect! Further randomized controlled trials are needed and published in peer-reviewed journals to prove safety and efficacy in COVID-19 patients.

N-acetylcysteine is clearly the most effective and important antioxidant, anti-inflamatory and precursor of glutathione in the lungs! I was first to launch glutathione and N-acetylcysteine as a dietary supplement to the American market over 20 years ago, during my 27 years as Head of Product Development for Twin Laboratories, Inc. (TwinLab).

Research has shown that N-acetylcysteine (1200mg/1800mg daily) is much more cost effective and efficacious than oral glutathione for raising glutathione in the lungs, liver and other tissues, and therefore the preferred dietary supplement! I have been taking N-acetylcysteine daily for over 20 years.

Research has shown that N-acetylcysteine is also a donor and activator of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in the body. It was reported in a review in the American Journal of Physiology, Cell Physiology, June 19, 2020 that, “Hydrogen sulfide (H²S) as a novel gasotransmitter has been shown to protect against lung damage via its anti-inflammation, anti-oxidative stress, anti-viral, pro-survival, anti-aging effects.” This review proposed, “H2S as a potential defense against COVID-19. It is suggested that H2S may block SARS-CoV-2 entry into the host cell by interfering with ACE2 and TMPRSS2, inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication by attenuating virus assembly/release, and protect SARS-CoV-2 induced lung damage by suppressing immune response and inflammation development.” Also, “it is proposed that NAC may protect COVID-19-assoicated cytokine storm and acute respiratory distress syndrome.”

N-acetylcysteine is a precursor of glutathione and as the body’s master antioxidant can improve lung function by decreasing inflammation in the lungs.

Air pollution, smoking, or vaping is a major source of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and free radicals in the lungs. The ROS can damage the lungs and can cause chronic obstruction pulmonary disease (COPD). A meta-analysis found that N-acetylcysteine can raise glutathione in the lungs and offers benefits in the treatments of COPD (Heart, Lung, March-April 2017). Air pollution and smoking can all increase the expression of the ACE2 receptor in the lungs that make it easier for the virus to enter the cell. “People with COVID-19 who live in the U.S. region with high levels of air pollution are more likely to die from the disease than people who live in less polluted areas, according to a new nationwide study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (May 5, 2020). People that exercise outdoors especially when exposed to air pollution from automobile exhaust may benefit from NAC supplements. NAC should be taken with vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and acts as a reducing agent and enhances the stability and function of NAC.

The Cleveland Clinic published a scientific review (June 2, 2020, Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine) entitled, “What is the role of supplementation with ascorbic acid, zinc, vitamin D, or N-acetylcysteine for prevention or treatment of COVID-19?” The review mentioned that zinc, vitamin D, and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) can lower proinflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF). The authors outline “the biological plausibility, applicable clinical data and potential role of each of these agents.” The Cleveland Clinic Investigators continued that, “Several agents intended to supplement dietary intake or indigenous molecules may have a theoretical role in preventing or treating COVID-19.” Based on their scientific review, the authors further acknowledge that “ascorbic acid, zinc, vitamin D, and N-acetylcysteine have biologic plausibility for prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and are candidates for clinical trials evaluating patients with these indications.”

In conclusion, if you have shortness of breath especially during exercise, or tested positive for COVID-19, you can have your physician prescribe a simple ultrasound of your lungs to see if you have any damage or fibrosis. Unlike CT scans, ultrasound does not expose you to radiation. Research on N-acetylcysteine and other antioxidants and immune supplements discussed and reviewed in this article is very encouraging and promising, but more well-designed, randomized and controlled trials published in peer-reviewed journals are needed.

We need to learn to live with the virus, but we can’t let it control our lives. As always, I am eating very healthy, following the Mediterranean diet, and taking my immune support supplements (N-acetylcysteine, vitamin C, polyphenols, zinc, selenium, and vitamin D). As always, I am exercising daily, and coping better when dealing with daily stress with meditation and relaxation techniques. I also practice social distancing, use a face mask, and properly wash my hands. Why take a chance at my age of 67? Better safe than sorry!

There currently are no products or dietary supplements that are scientifically proven to treat or prevent the coronavirus, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). By law, companies are not allowed to make claims on their product labels or ads that the product is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

©Published by from Advanced Research Media, Inc. 2020

©Reprinted with permission from Advanced Research Media, Inc.

 

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