Some interesting facts about cysteine:
- Cysteine is a conditionally essential amino acid
While cysteine is not an essential amino acid most of the time (essential amino acids are required in the diet as the body cannot manufacture them), there are certain special circumstances which makes it conditionally essential; this means cysteine becomes an essential amino acid under special conditions, especially when intake of the essential amino acid methionine is very low.
- Cysteine functions as a building block of protein in the body
Cysteine, just like all the other amino acids, is one of the building blocks of all proteins in the body, which not only include muscles, but also all the other proteins required for normal function of the body.
- Cysteine is a key component of glutathione
Cysteine helps to make the amino acid glutathione, which regulates many cellular functions in the body and is a potent antioxidant
Cysteine is a sulphur-containing amino acid, in a form that inactivates free radicals and protects the cells from oxidative damage which can lead to heart disease, cancer and premature agein
- Cysteine is created from methionine
Methionine and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B12 (cobalamin) and folic acid combine together to form cysteine.
- Cysteine is a sulphur-containing amino acid
Cysteine is a sulphur-containing amino acid, in a form that inactivates free radicals and protects the cells from oxidative damage which can lead to heart disease, cancer and premature ageing. Cysteine also provides protection against the oxidative damage of pollutants such as cigarette smoke, pollution, environmental toxins and alcohol.
- Cysteine is in the form of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)
The form of cysteine that is used by the body is N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) and this is the same form which is usually used in supplements too.
- Cysteine is closely related to cystine
Cystine consists of two cysteine molecules joined together. Cysteine can be unstable, but can be converted into cystine by the body when required (and vice versa).