Cysteine is a sulphur containing non-essential amino acid, which is formed from methionine. It is necessary in the detoxification of the body from harmful toxins. Cysteine helps protect the liver and brain from damage. It is required in the manufacture of taurine and is a component of glutathione. Skin nails and hair contain cysteine – and it is not only important in collagen production but also assists in skin elasticity and texture.
Cysteine and Cystine are closely related; each molecule of cystine consists of two molecules of cysteine joined together. Cysteine is very unstable and is easily converted to L-cystine; however, each form is capable of converting into the other as needed. Both are sulfur containing amino acids that aid in the formation of skin and are important in detoxification. Cysteine is present in alpha-keratin, the chief protein constituent of the fingernails, toenails, skin, and hair. Cysteine aids in the production of collagen and promotes the proper elasticity and texture of the skin. It is also found in a variety of other proteins in the body, including several of the digestive enzymes.
Function and Benefits of Cysteine
- It acts as precursor to glutathione which is an antioxidant. It therefore detoxifies the body from the free radical produced in the body which damages the cell membrane and DNA. The presence of these free radicals also results in number of disease like heart diseases or even cancers. So these needs to be eliminated which is done by cysteine.
- Cysteine is closely related to cystine, as cystine consists of two cysteine molecules joined together
- Cysteine is critical to the metabolism of a number of essential biochemicals – coenzyme A, heparin, biotin, lipoid acid, and glutathione
- Cysteine is an unstable nutrient and easily converts to cystine, but this does not cause a problem, since both can convert into the other – as required by the body
- Cysteine is needed for the skin and it performs detoxification action in the body as it is present in keratin which is the main protein found in the nails, hairs and skin.
- Cysteine helps to detoxify harmful toxins and protect the body from radiation damage. It is one of the best free radical destroyers, and works best when taken with selenium and vitamin E.
- Cysteine is also precursor to glutathione, a substance that detoxifies the liver by binding with potentially harmful substances there. It helps to protect the liver and brain from damage due to alcohol, drugs, and toxic compounds in cigarette smoke.
- Stomach protection – cysteine has been found to help strengthen the protective lining of the stomach as well as intestines, which may help prevent damage caused by aspirin and similar drugs
- Since cysteine is more soluble than cystine, it is used more readily in the body and is usually best for treating most illnesses. This amino acid is formed from L-methionine in the body. Vitamin B6, vitamin12 and folate are necessary for cysteine synthesis, which may not take place as it should in the presence of chronic disease.
- Foods of animal origin These are chicken, meat, turkey, eggs, meat, yogurt, cottage cheese, and whey proteins etc
- Foods of plant origin: These include onion, broccoli, garlic, red pepper, sprouts, wheat, granola, lentil and leafy greens etc.
- No direct deficiencies have been reported, but in chronic diseases it seems the formation of cysteine from methionine can be prevented, resulting in a deficiency.
- People on low protein diets – people who are not eating enough protein foods may not get enough cysteine in their diet
- Methionine : The essential amino acid which assists with metabolic function, breaks down fat, and is the primary source of sulfur in the body. (blissreturned.wordpress.com)
- Threonine : The essential amino acid that helps to maintain the proper protein balance in the body. (blissreturned.wordpress.com)
- Taurine : The amino acid that is Is needed for fat digestion, absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, the control of cholesterol serum levels in the body, maintaining cell membrane integrity. (blissreturned.wordpress.com)