What is L-cysteine?
L-cysteine is a non-essential amino acid for the body can produce it but still it needs supplementation. L-cysteine, like any other amino acids like methionine (where cysteine is made from) and taurine (produced from l-cysteine), consists of sulphur which is used by the body for biochemical processes for it is necessary as part of protein. Furthermore, sulfur is very important in detoxification and inflammatory conditions. Besides, sulfur works with glutathione, the most important antioxidant produced by the body which also helps in eradicating toxins while protecting the cells, for without sulfur; glutathione can’t work.
L-cysteine is also called as cysteine or Half-cystine and it is already found in the nutritional supplements market labeled as N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC), D-Cysteine and many more. Furthermore, a lot of food establishments are already using l-cysteine as dough conditioner which was approved by FDA to be generally recognized as safe though originally it was made from human hair and dissolved in acid which undergo a lot of processes but nowadays, its sources are from animals like duck’s feather and hog hair for some religious reasons.
What are the benefits of L-cysteine?
- It is important in lipid metabolism (closely connected to the metabolism of carbohydrates that is convertible to fats) for which it build fatty acids allowing the production of membranes and protective covers of nerve endings.
- Due to the presence of sulfur in l-cysteine, it has anti-inflammatory properties. If L-cysteine supplementation is being done, it can lessen the inflammatory reactions in the human body.
- Due to the work force of sulfur and glutathione, issues of detoxification are well-addressed and it even protects the cells from the effects of free radicals which slow down the aging process.
- Though limited evidence, some researchers say that l-cysteine can help prevent chronic conditions, cataract, arthritis, intestine illnesses for these conditions need high supply l-cysteine.
- Furthermore, it can also serve as an aid in preventing dementia, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis for it helps in toxic reduction and serves as axon protection from environmental damage.
- It is also good for people with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis characterizes low-bone density which is connected to low L-cysteine concentration in the plasma. The osteoclasts activity (bone breakdown leading to new bone formation but as people age, bone resorption intensifies leading to osteoporosis) can be lessen when L-cysteine supplementation is being done.
- It is also widely used as food additives and even to extend shelf-life of food specifically bread. Most international food establishments use L-cysteine in their products.
- Medically speaking, it can also help in the following diseases but with insufficient evidence
*Diabetes for it can decrease insulin resistance
*Colitis which is an inflammatory bowel disease
* Angina (severe chest pain)
* Cardiovascular disease
* Helps maintain gastrointestinal tract lining
- Has also the ability to improve muscle recovery after strenuous activities or even in the recovery of soft tissue after a surgery.
As a non-essential amino acid, a lot of foods can be a source of l-cysteine like protein-rich foods but only in small amount, meat and soy products, pork and chicken which have high amount, raw salmon, chicken eggs, eggs, dairy products, legumes while for the vegetarians, they can have it from sunflower seeds, walnuts and soy beans.
What are the Side Effects of L-cysteine?
As food ingredients, FDA has given its approval as generally safe products. As for the L-cysteine supplementation, some reported that it can cause allergic reaction like rash, swelling of face and throat, irregular heartbeat and difficulty in breathing. It is strongly recommended to always consult a physician before trying this product.
- It should not be taken when you are under medication specially prednisone, cyclophosphamide and other immune system suppressant for it may cause adverse effects
- It is not allowed for pregnant and lactating women and children.
- Some forms of L-cysteine can be toxic so it is not allowed for ingestion.