N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) is an acetylated form of the amino acid L-cysteine. It has antioxidant, mucolytic and anti-inflammatory properties. NAC reduces levels of proinflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress. When ingested, NAC converts to glutathione and increases the levels in the bird's body. This is beneficial because glutathione levels are decreased during stress, illness, or drug toxicity. Because of its role in preventing oxidation, NAC is potentially useful for cases of chronic inflammation involving the kidneys and spinal cord. NAC's mucolytic properties also make it useful for the treatment of respiratory diseases involving heavy mucus production. Recent research showed its potential application towards the treatment of Mycoplasma infections in chickens.
NAC is also used in the treatment of acute acetaminophen (Tylenol) poisoning. These heptoprotective properties make it potentially helpful in the treatment of hepatic lipidosis and aflatoxicosis due to mycotoxin contamination in poultry feed.