N-Acetyl Cysteine

Other names NAC, N-Acetyl-L-cysteine, L-cysteine, Acetylcysteine, Cysteine, L-alpha-Acetamido-beta-mercaptopropionic Acid

N-Acetyl Cysteine

N-Acetyl Cysteine is a substance used by some as a cognitive enhancer to increase focus and working memory capacity, but it is primarily used to improve and stabilize mood amongst self-experimenters. But is this nootropic actually safe and effective? Read on to find out what the science says.

This nootropic has no healthy human placebo-controlled studies that meet our inclusion criteria. Negative side effects can occur if used carelessly, so make sure you’re aware of the risks of N-Acetyl Cysteine.


Read about the effects of N-Acetyl Cysteine in relation to the amount of evidence we've found

Can N-Acetyl Cysteine enhance your mood?

There has been no research on the effects of NAC on measures of mood in healthy individuals.

A meta-analysis of several studies on the effect of NAC for depressive symptoms in various psychiatric conditions concluded that NAC was effective for improving mood. [1] It is unclear whether this effect is only present in diseased people or whether NAC can enhance the mood of healthy people as well.

Can N-Acetyl Cysteine enhance your focus and memory?

No research has been conducted on the potential cognitive-enhancing effects of NAC alone in healthy humans.

N-Acetylcysteine has been studied for its potential cognitive-enhancing effects in people with various disorders. A systematic review aimed to answer the question of whether NAC was useful as a cognitive enhancer for people with psychiatric conditions and whether it was effective for healthy people. It was concluded by the authors that there's a need for better-designed studies, but that the preliminary evidence available is promising enough to warrant further investigation. [2]

The cognitive effects of N-Acetyl Cysteine have been examined in placebo-controlled studies on healthy people when combined with other nutraceuticals, and once when combined with an exercise program. All of these studies found beneficial effects from the NAC condition compared with the placebo condition. However, it should be noted that the confounding variables of other supplements or exercise in these studies could be the entire reason for the effects that were found. [3]

Why do people use NAC?

People who self-experiment with NAC often state they use it to improve their:

  • Sociality
  • Mood
  • Energy
  • Nervousness
  • Focus

There is a lack of solid scientific evidence for the effectiveness of NAC for any of these purposes, especially in healthy humans.


The legality and side effects of N-Acetyl Cysteine


Frequently asked questions about N-Acetyl Cysteine


Studies conducted on the effects of N-Acetyl Cysteine in healthy humans

Last updated Saturday, June 10, 2023