A new understanding of COVID is emerging, suggesting the disease attacks the immune system rather than the lungs, yet the government is threatening supplements like NAC that could help.
COVID is widely considered to be a respiratory disease (it is formally known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2). But a new study out of Israel has cast COVID disease in a new light, suggesting that immune dysfunction may come before respiratory issues associated with COVID disease. This adds to evidence that immune boosting antioxidants like NAC and other supplements would be of great use for COVID prevention and treatment, which is exactly why Big Pharma, with the help of their friends in the government, is working to create a monopoly over this nutrient.
The respiratory damage caused by COVID infection has received much attention through the pandemic, but the new study adds to research emphasizing the damage done by the virus to the immune system. The Israeli researchers found that the mitochondria, the power center of cells due to their role in cell respiration and energy production, were particularly damaged in the immune systems of COVID patients—not in the lungs or respiratory tract. We know that the immune system relies heavily on mitochondrial activity. The damage to mitochondria in the immune system helps explain the cytokine storm—the excessive, pro-inflammatory response in COVID patients that leads to severe outcomes like lung injury and multi-organ failure.
The researchers go on to note that, if this proves correct, patient outcomes could be improved with existing antioxidant supplements. A number of readily available supplements help support mitochondrial function, including CoQ10 and ubiquinol, L-carnitine, arginine, alpha-lipoic-acid, niacin, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, B vitamins, selenium, and NADH.
Unfortunately, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is threatening precisely the kind of antioxidant that could help with COVID, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), by declaring that it is not a dietary supplement. The FDA’s declaration was challenged by two Citizens Petitions from the supplement industry. We’ve reviewed some of the arguments against the FDA’s position in previous coverage.
In a Constituent Update released last month responding to the Citizens Petitions, the FDA said it “is requesting information on the past use of NAC in products marketed as dietary supplements,” specifically data on the earliest date that NAC was marketed as a supplement or food, since the FDA’s contention that NAC is not a supplement is based upon the assertion that NAC was approved as a drug before it was sold as a supplement. In response, the Natural Products Association has filed a lawsuit against the FDA alleging the agency is engaging in an unlawful application of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
Which brings us to why the FDA is attacking NAC in the first place. In previous coverage, we noted that there are 17 trials looking at NAC, in both drug and supplement form, for the treatment of COVID. Additionally, there are over 50 trials looking at NAC for a variety of other conditions. Given these facts, it seems obvious that the FDA is setting the stage for a new NAC drug to come to market by removing the competition from much cheaper NAC supplements.
It is encouraging to see science supporting the use of everyday supplements like NAC to prevent and treat diseases like COVID. It is equally maddening to witness the government’s dogged commitment to suppress this kind of evidence for affordable treatments that can help people as we continue to deal with this pandemic.
The Alliance for Natural Health USA (ANH-USA) is the largest organization working to promote and protect natural approaches to regenerating health.
This story originally published on the Alliance for Natural Health USA (ANH-USA) Blog.