Do you know why your blood needs cysteine? Cysteine is necessary for our blood health. This amino acid containing sulfur helps to make red blood cells, boost immunity, and protects against oxidative of stress.
In this blog, we will explain why your blood needs cysteine and it’s benefits for a healthy body.
What is cysteine and what does it do?
Table of Contents
Cysteine is a sulfur-containing amino acid that is involved in the formation of proteins in the body. It is a source of sulfhydryl (-SH) groups, which are important for the formation of disulfide bonds in proteins.
Cysteine serves as a precursor for the synthesis of compounds, participating in detoxification processes, and functioning as an antioxidant.
Benefits and functions of cysteine
In the blood, cysteine plays several roles, including:
- Neutralizing harmful free radicals
- Protecting cells from oxidative damage
- Glutathione synthesis
- Eliminates harmful compounds and metals such as lead and mercury
- Immune system response
- Production of collagen for wound healing
- Metabolism of other amino acids
- Formation of hormones and neurotransmitters
Is cysteine good for your blood?
Yes. Cysteine is a useful amino acid for the body. A sufficient intake of this nutrient from protein-rich diet can help the blood perform it’s specific functions and processes. Here are the reasons why your blood needs cysteine.
Cysteine is the building block of hemoglobin, the protein responsible for carrying oxygen to the body’s cells.
A study published in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition in 2012 found that cysteine improves hemoglobin levels in patients with anemia due to chronic kidney disease.
Another study published by nephron clinical practice in 2010 also found that oral NAC supplementation may offer promising results in treating uremic anemia and oxidative stress for those with hemodialysis.
Without enough cysteine, the body may not be able to produce enough hemoglobin, leading to anemia and other blood disorders.
Cysteine, has been shown to have blood pressure-lowering effects in some studies.
A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2015 found that oral supplementation with cysteine reduces blood pressure in patients with metabolic syndrome.
However, more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between cysteine and blood pressure to determine if it can help reduce hypertension.
Cysteine contributes to the body’s detoxification process by serving as the building block for glutathione, an antioxidant that neutralizes toxic substances and protects red blood cells.
Increasing cysteine intake may increase glutathione levels, improving the body’s ability to detoxify and protect against oxidative stress.
Cysteine affects the immune system by helping in the creation of glutathione. This could improve the body’s immune response and it’s capacity to fight off infections and illnesses.
A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry in 2010 found that supplementation with cysteine improves the function of immune cells in older adults.
What foods provides cysteine?
Protein-rich foods contain lots of cysteine, here is a list of foods that contain high levels of this nutrient:
- Wheat germ
Are cysteine dietary supplements available?
Yes, cysteine dietary supplements are available. Some are in the form of capsules and tablets, they include:
- N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC)
- L-Cysteine HCL
These supplements are used to support respiratory health and help to thin mucus in the lungs.
Which specific groups of people don’t get enough cysteine?
Some specific groups of people who may not get enough cysteine include:
- People with cystinuria. A genetic disorder that affects the body’s ability to process cysteine.
- Vegetarians and vegans. People who do not consume enough sources of cysteine such as eggs and dairy products.
- People who have had surgery on their intestines. This may affect their ability to absorb cysteine from food.
- People with chronic kidney disease. Their kidneys may not be able to process cysteine properly leading to a deficiency.
- Alcoholics. Alcohol can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb and utilize cysteine.
What is the daily recommended intake for cysteine?
There is no recommended daily intake for cysteine because it is not an essential amino acid.
Cysteine can be produced by the body from other amino acids such as methionine, so the body does not require it to be consumed from food.
However, it is included in the recommended daily intake for protein, which varies depending on factors such as age, sex, weight, and activity level.
According to the Institute of Medicine, the recommended daily intake for protein is as follows:
- Infants: 9-13 g/day
- Children: 19-34 g/day
- Adolescents: 34-52 g/day
- Adult men: 46-56 g/day
- Adult women: 46 g/day
- Pregnant women: 71 g/day
- Breastfeeding moms: 74 g/day
Which medications interferes with cysteine in the blood?
Certain medications can interact with cysteine levels in the blood, including:
- Nitrogen mustard
- Valproic acid
Is cysteine harmful to the blood?
No. Cysteine is not harmful to the blood but consuming excessive amounts of cysteine can lead to the formation of kidney stones.
Conclusion: Why your blood needs cysteine
To wrap it up, cysteine has a significant impact on your blood health. It helps produce red blood cells, combat oxidative stress, improves blood circulation and detoxifies harmful substances in your blood.
To get enough cysteine, aim to include protein-rich foods like meat, eggs, dairy, and legumes in your diet
However, if you want to increase your cysteine levels in the blood, it is best to consult a doctor before taking any supplement.
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