L-Cysteine in Food vs. Supplements: Pros and Cons
L-Cysteine is a non-essential amino acid that our body routinely gets from a variety of animal and vegetable sources. A variety of meats like chicken, turkey, pork and beef along with dairy products are all good sources of L-Cysteine in food. Red, peppers, onions, garlic and wheat are excellent choices for obtaining L-Cysteine in food.
L-Cysteine benefits a number of essential functions in the body, namely, nutrient absorption, maintaining healthy intestinal lining, muscle tissue repair after strenuous activities, potent antioxidant activity counteracting acetaminophen toxicity on the body and many more. L-Cysteine and hair loss connection is believed to significantly improve the texture and growth of new hair.
Healthy individuals eating a wholesome diet and not suffering from especially stressful lifestyles or physical exhaustion do not require any additional supplementation of L-Cysteine. On the other hand, people with compromised immune systems due to a major illness, serious athletes, elderly individuals or somebody at a high risk of drug toxicity might require additional L-Cysteine supplementation beyond L-Cysteine in food. Vegetarians might not be getting enough L-Cysteine from vegan-based sources and might need supplemental L-Cysteine to maintain proper nutrient absorption from a fiber rich diet.
N-Acetyl L-Cysteine supplements are considered generally safe and more readily absorbable by the body compared to L-Cysteine in food. However, due to lack of FDA regulation on supplemental products risk of purchasing a contaminated N-Acetyl L-Cysteine supplement is very high, it’s recommended you buy your supplements from a highly reputable source to avoid major L-Cysteine side effects like gastrointestinal disturbances and allergic reactions especially in asthmatic individuals. Talk to your doctor before attempting L-Cysteine supplementations in case you are taking any prescription medications.