When the subject of cysteine and what it is comes up, people are usually talking about N-Acetyl-Cysteine, which is chemically altered version one of the bodies nonessential amino acids. It is actually a precursor to glutathione is an essential amino acid which destroys free radicals in the body. Cysteine is also called NAC. Cysteine is beneficial to the body because it removes harmful toxins and protects and preserves liver functions and prevents cell damage. Cysteine can also protect the liver and brain from being damaged by certain pollutants and toxins like cigarette smoke, alcohol and acidic matter in the air. Cysteine is formed from the essential amino acid methionine and also from serine which is a nonessential acid.

The liver is the organ that neutralizes toxins in the body and it needs to use large amounts of the essential amino acid glutathione to do it. There are certain pharmaceutical products that can deplete the liver from the necessary glutathione levels that it needs to protect the cells and to remove toxins. These products include such ones as acetaminophen, food additives, chlorinated water, and pesticides, etc that we are all exposed to every day. These toxins all can quickly use up the amount of glutathione in the liver. Not only do the toxins use the glutathione, but as we age the levels of glutathione decline also. So it is important to make sure we have normal blood levels of glutathione in the body.

People may think that they can increase it and should supplement their nutrition by taking glutathione. However, instead of supplementing a person’s nutrition by taking the actual amino acid glutathione, researchers have found that taking oral NAC works better at elevating blood serum levels of glutathione and is much better to supplement with. If a person wants to boost their blood serum levels of glutathione they can take 750 mg of NAC, also known as cysteine, everyday.

Cystine will also help the body burn fat more efficiently and it can help build up the muscles and for this reason it is taken by many who are into bodybuilding. Cysteine is also used to treat certain conditions and can rid the body of excess copper through it to chelation effect. It may also remove zinc which the body needs too however. Many people take copper and zinc supplements when they are taking cysteine. Cysteine is used often to treat bronchitis and asthma and other respiratory diseases. Supplementing with cysteine capsules every day can also help improve the body’s natural immune system by increasing its white blood cell count. Cystine also helps the body use sugars and starches properly and can help aid metabolism.

Even though cysteine is safe to take in capsule form it does have a few known side effects and there are some precautions that you should be aware of before you take start taking cysteine. Most people can take it without any problems at all. Some of the less serious and common side effects include increased lung mucus, clammy skin, sore mouth or throat or irritation in the lungs. Some cysteine side effects may require medical attention like breathing difficulties in asthmatics and those who experience in a tightness in the chest or wheezing. You should consult your doctor before taking cysteine supplements if you have any health conditions and are on any prescribed medications.

Sources of natural cysteine include high protein foods like meat and eggs. You can also find it in certain fruits and vegetables like avocados, asparagus, watermelon, strawberries, oranges, tomatoes, broccoli, okra, cantaloupe, peaches, zucchini and spinach. People can eat as much of these foods as they want without worry of any side effects.

Last updated on Nov 29th, 2009 and filed under Nutritional Information. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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