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NAC Update Issue: New Information

October 6, 2000


Much new research (some published only this year) suggests that N-acetylcysteine (NAC), or other treatments to restore abnormally low blood levels of glutathione, may be helpful in HIV infection and a number of other illnesses as well. For years NAC has been one of the most popular "alternative" treatments; the new information suggests that it deserves more medical and research attention, and might be an important treatment for some persons with HIV or AIDS:
  • This year two research groups have reported three placebo-controlled trials showing that oral NAC raises glutathione in persons with HIV. One group found substantial improvements in several immune measures; the other found indications, but no proof, of improved survival.

  • Low glutathione may be especially important in HIV, as there is evidence that the Tat protein produced by this virus can abnormally reduce glutathione levels.

  • It has become increasingly clear that the once-widespread impression that NAC is not orally bioavailable is incorrect.

  • Researchers are learning more about the mechanism of action. NAC is not an antiviral, and probably not an immune modulator either. Instead it helps to correct a specific nutritional deficiency which occurs in many patients with HIV or AIDS, and can have many adverse health consequences.

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This update was prompted by the publication last week of the full report of a trial conducted several years ago in San Francisco, by the Stanford University group led by Drs. Leonard A. and Leonore A. Herzenberg, both Ph.D., in the Department of Genetics. We were surprised at how much new information is available, and published this issue to inform our readers.



ISSN # 1052-4207

Copyright 2000 by John S. James. Permission granted for noncommercial reproduction, provided that our address and phone number are included if more than short quotations are used.


Back to the AIDS Treatment News October 6, 2000 contents page.




  
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This article was provided by AIDS Treatment News. It is a part of the publication AIDS Treatment News.
 

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