More than 10,000 published scientific studies came up when I did a search on PubMed for N-Acetyl Cysteine. You just can't say using NAC is useless or irrational, in all due respect to the MD columnist. I couldn't find anything that said it was harmful either. Rather, I found that it was very helpful for a very wide range of ailments and also for the prevention of some major illnesses.
'An eye opener'
Obviously, I didn't read every one of the 10,000 plus listings on PubMed but just listing the first two pages was an eye opener.
NAC has been shown to have benefit for reducing tissue damage to the heart, radiation damage, surgical complications, X-ray contrast dye damage to the kidneys and for what's called pathologic gambling.
To me, if it helps reduce pathologic gambling then it should reduce most other compulsions like smoking, spending, eating, etc.
PubMed showed NAC beneficial for emphysema (COPD), bronchitis, cocaine abuse, lead and cadmium detox and overdose of Tylenol (R), aka acetaminophen.
In terms of disease, malaria, hepatitis C and HIV had studies done showing a profound impact. For instance, one study I read said that people exposed to HIV who had enough NAC and selenium in their systems didn't get the disease.
This is important. NAC has anti-cancer benefits, too. I take two capsules (1,200 mg/day) with selenium and molybdenum. I'm 56 almost 57 ... just try to keep up with me.
MDs across the globe are aware of NAC. Many of the studies were done of people as well as in laboratories. The studies were not done with the intention of proving NAC as a prescription as it is a natural supplement and frankly wouldn't make big pharma much money.
NAC is in the amino family group of natural health supplements. After digestion, it does create glutathione in our liver. If we supplement with glutathione it has to be "reduced" and it isn't as effective as taking NAC and producing our own in our own system.
Eliminate the negatives
NAC becomes a powerful antioxidant that our bodies need in order to stay healthy and to reduce the negative consequences of living. Especially, the negatives of living that come with excess.
Deciding to take action to improve our lives and health with supplements isn't useless, necessarily harmful and certainly isn't irrational. In fact, taking care of yourself with good supplement choices may be one of best things you can do.