L-cysteine is a conditionally essential amino acid, one of only three sulfur-containing amino acids, the others being taurine (which can be produced from L-cysteine) and L-methionine (from which L-cysteine can be produced in the body by a multi-step process). L-cysteine is an important amino acid that protects stomach lining and the intestines and helps in the absorption of essential nutrients from foods. It is naturally occurring and can be found on most protein rich foods ranging from dairy to poultry products.
Glutathione (GSH) is manufactured from three amino acids, and they are: cysteine, glutamine, and glycine.
Of these three, cysteine is the rate limiting factor in our diet today. Of all the methods listed below, two are the best studied and involve getting cysteine into the cell for glutathione production. These two methods are the pharmaceutical over-the-counter drug N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) and bonded cysteine. N-acetyl-cysteine is used in emergency medicine for acetaminophen overdose
L-cysteine is a protein amino acid that maintains stomach lining health. It can be found in most protein food sources like meat from chicken, turkey, and pork, yoghurt, whey protein, and in some dairy products such as eggs, milk, and a variety of cheeses. L-Cysteine does not come from these rich food sources alone. Vegetables such as onion, broccoli, and garlic could also provide additional L-Cysteine in the body.
White blood cells, especially T-cells, that are responsible for healthy immune system, need glutathione to multiply and remain at optimal level in the blood.
One of its most important functions is being a precursor of the supplement NAC. NAC (N-acetyl-L-cysteine) , a supplement derivative of L-cysteine, is sold as a dietary supplement that helps in the protection of the liver, acts as an antioxidant and helps detoxify harmful substances in the body. Healthy people, however, do not need to take N-acetyl cysteine supplement. It is also considered a rate-limiting amino acid, used in the production of the tripeptide glutathione, which is an antioxidant, and helps in protecting cells from oxidative stress.
People who will benefit from the intake of NAC are chronic smokers because it may help prevent damages caused by smoking in the respiratory passages. HIV patients can also benefit from cysteine because it may help strengthen their immune system. It can also enhance cognitive functioning of people with Alzheimer’s disease, prevent development of cataracts and slow down motor impairment in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
L-cysteine is also an important amino acid because it aids in body functions. It produces an organic acid called taurine, a substance that is important in the central nervous system and is needed for the proper functioning of the skeletal muscles.
In Japan, taurine from L-cysteine can also treat ischemic heart disease in the amount of 3-5 grams per day. It also regulates blood pressure, and helps in muscle buildingwhile protecting the lining of the stomach and intestines caused by aspirin and drugs of the same kind. L-cysteine is also occasionally converted into glucose and used as a source of energy.
While a healthy person may not need to have a lot of L-Cysteine, some may need to. Infants and the elderly need a good supply of L-Cysteine because more often than not, this age group’s nutritional statuses are compromised by the limited kinds of food they can take in. While an infant rely on his mother’s milk or from milk formulas for his nutritional needs, the elderly on the other hand don’t have the strength to chew and masticate solid foods well, and could only tolerate softened, often highly processed foods that lack proteins and other essential nutrients.
As infants, stomach linings are not yet fully developed to absorb the nutrients from their milk. During adulthood however, unhealthy stomach linings are common because of years and years of being used to absorb everything that the body needs from the food eaten. Both cases are classified as malabsorption syndromes wherein L-Cysteine is the only way to aid in the absorption of all vitamins and minerals that they need to live healthily.
While we understand that our body can produce glutathione from nutrients that we consume, the problem arises when we cannot supply adequate nutrients to your body to synthesize it. The level of glutathione in the human body needs to be maintained for health reasons, nevertheless the scarcity of proper nutrients (due to unhealthy eating routine, pollution, etc.) and the consequences of stress along with aging cause reduced glutathione quantities of this antioxidant within the body.
In kids with severe malnutrition, this has consistently been proven that the concentration of reduced glutathione (or GSH) in plasma and whole blood is gloomier than usual in those with edema but not in those without edema. Because the GSH redox cycle is a significant element of your body’s overall antioxidant defenses, a lower concentration of GSH is indicative of impaired antioxidant capacity.
Glutathione itself is for sale in many supplements, but extensive studies have revealed that stomach acids destroy the lone molecule, making the body unable to absorb it. So chose a high quality product, whenever you decide to purchase a Glutathione/l-cysteine supplement.
If the body is overburdened by toxins such as Mercury, pesticides, VOC’s, Reactive Oxygen Species (free radicals), or the chronic utilization of pain medications such as Vicodin and Tylenol (acetominophin conjugates with GSH, sulfate, along with other sulfur amino acids (SAA’s) so strongly that the Liver is completely stripped of GSH as well as other Sulfur containing binding proteins, which leads to Liver cirrhosis and hepatic failure), our Liver’s stores of Glutathione becomes greatly depleted.
Glutathione plays a key role or is involved in: 1) Neutralizing free radicals and prevention of these formation both enzymatically and non-enzymatically, 2) Reducing oxidized Vitamin C and Vitamin E to their unoxidized states, 3) Phase I and II detoxification reactions, 4) Nucleic acid synthesis, 5) DNA repair, 6) Maintaining cellular redox potential, 7) Cellular differentiation and retarding the process of getting older, and 8) Maintaining normal brain function.
A scientific research identifies 2 novel findings in older HIV-infected patients: 1) diminished synthesis due to decreased option of cysteine and glycine plays a role in GSH deficiency and can be rapidly corrected by dietary supplementation among these precursors and 2) correction of GSH deficiency is connected with improvement of mitochondrial fat and carbohydrate oxidation both in fasted and fed states along with improvements in insulin sensitivity, body composition, and muscle strength.
Keep in mind though, the ultimate way to increase cellular Glutathione levels is through supplementing with N-Acetyl Cysteine, because Cysteine is the limiting component into the production of Glutathione. We investigated whether diminished quantities of a key mitochondrial antioxidant, glutathione (GSH), was contributing to defective fatty acid oxidation in older HIV-infected patients, and if so, the metabolic mechanisms contributing to GSH deficiency in these patients. It functions as a precursor to glutathione peroxidase, a key antioxidant enzyme, which protects against lipid peroxidation (fats turning rancid).
It is digested & converted to its component amino acids, and even though it could potentially increase glutathione in the body secondary to providing L-cysteine (in superdoses) this is merely an indirect and expensive way to complete the same stuff N-acetylcysteine supplementation would do as NAC more efficaciously increases glutathione.
Glutathione supplementation is definitely something to consider contributing to your diet. Acetylcysteine happens to be studied as a good supplement for raising glutathione levels but there are many others that never have been studied but are more likely to have similar benefits.MORE INFORMATION