The best thing about amino acids is that some of them are made into supplements to give the body some extra boost. It is also great that humans can reap a lot of benefits from most amino acids that are turned into supplements. A good example of this is the amino acid L-cysteine which is a very important component when it comes to the body’s production of glutathione.
Other than being a building block of the antioxidant glutathione, L-cysteine also has many other health benefits for the body. But since it is well known for being connected to glutathione, lets first get to know about the supposed “mother of all antioxidants”.
Glutathione: A Byproduct of L-Cysteine
In most cases, glutathione is often associated with ideas of beauty and skin whitening; however, it is not what this antioxidant is all about.
The name given to glutathione, which is being called “the mother of all antioxidants” by the American physician Mr. Mark Hyman, already gives us an idea regarding the antioxidant. Glutathione is indeed one of the most powerful and helpful antioxidants that can give the body a lot of benefits. Thus, the additional amounts of L-cysteine is starting to make sense; because when we get more of the amino acid, it can help in the increase of glutathione levels in the body.
The popularity of the antioxidant resulted to thousands of studies and reviews that proves how amazing glutathione is. Because of these studies, researchers have also detected the sudden increase of people who are suffering from glutathione deficiency. Thus, they started to suggest a few ways on how to get the glutathione levels back, or better yet their can also benefit if they add a little more than what they need.
Importance of Glutathione
Glutathione is also important in helping with the proper functioning of body organs like the lungs and the brain, the liver can also benefit from it by directly aiding the organ in its detoxification process. The benefits of glutathione does not end here, there is a reason why it is hailed as the best antioxidant to ever exist.
As previously mentioned, there will always be possibilities that a person can experience lack of glutathione in their body; and it can result to a lot of problems and dangers that they may face as time goes by. So, this is where the L-cysteine enters the scene; it is a very good source that can help restore the lost glutathione in the body plus it can offer a lot more benefits other than that.
The L-Cysteine Amino Acid
In order to get your additional doses of L-cysteine, specialists have decided to make the amino acid into consumable supplements called N-acetylcysteine or NAC.
First of all, the glutathione-producing properties of the amino acid is what it is best known for. Most of the time, its value is based on its connection to glutathione. However, everyone should be aware of what else the amino acid can do; because it’s supplement form is actually used as medications for different health conditions.
Is L-cysteine an essential or non-essential amino acid? Actually, it is none of the above. There are certain amino acids that scientists called as the semi-essential amino acids which are those that can be produced and made by the body (although in small quantities). But they can still be derived from other sources such and foods and supplements in order to get more of the benefits that it can offer.
The cysteine amino acid is actually created by the body from the combination of two other amino acids (methionine and serine) together with a few amounts of specific B vitamins (folate and vitamins B6 and B12). In case there is lack of any of the following mentioned amino acids and vitamins, it will be impossible for the body to create the needed quantities of cysteine.
Benefits of L-Cysteine
Other than being a major contributor to the body’s glutathione production, cysteine is actually one of the best amino acids that can help in many medical conditions; which is why it is also made into supplements.
The amino acid creates the most powerful antioxidant.
The free radicals are in danger once they get to face the antioxidants in our bodies. The amino acid cysteine, fortunately, can help in situations like this. Free radicals are the main cause of most damage in our cells, and this is how the additional glutathione can actually help. Through this benefit, the body becomes lesser exposed to even the most severe health conditions.
It helps in the body’s detoxification process.
The liver will be really thankful for the additional cysteine from supplements, because it can actually help the organ boost its function in detoxifying and cleansing the body from harmful and unwanted toxins. Also, it is because it can assist in preventing the possible side effects of most medications that the body can be cleansed of the potential toxic chemicals from the reaction.
Cysteine can be used as a treatment for respiratory problems.
The supplement form of the L-cysteine, which is the NAC, are also specifically made for the purpose of serving as a medication for respiratory problems that involves excessive mucus production.
Balance in the central nervous system can be attained.
Glutamate levels in the central nervous system, once disturbed, may cause problems. That is why most of the time it is suggested that a patient suffering from imbalanced glutamate levels to get more cysteine into the system. Through this, the levels are regulated and it results to healthier neurons and a healthier nervous system.
Where Can We Get L-Cysteine
As a semi-essential amino acid, cysteine is normally formed and produced by our bodies. So there are only special cases wherein a person encounters deficiency. But in such cases, the easiest way to get the required dose of the amino acid is from the supplement NAC.
There are also foods that contain amounts of cysteine. This includes most protein-rich foods such as:
- poultry meat like chicken and turkey
- lean cuts of pork meat
- dairy products like yogurt and cheese
- sunflower seeds
- some legumes
- oat bran
It is good to incorporate those foods in your diet. But be mindful that they can only offer a few amounts of the amino acid. If you want more, it is better to stick with the supplements.