Deficiency Symptoms: Cysteine deficiencies identified by inherited metabolic disorders or reduced levels in body fluid have been associated with: 1) impaired antioxidant defenses; 2) decreased ability to metabolize drugs or toxic compounds; 3) depressed immune functions; 4) some psycoses; and 5) homocystinemia. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, and smokers have reduced levels of cysteine in fluids and tissues. Clinical trials of cysteine supplementation have shown benefits for skin disorders, hair loss, asthma, bronchitis, allergies, cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heavy metal toxicity, iron deficiency, diabetes & diabetic nephropathy, seizure disorders, reducing cytoxic treatment side effects, HIV infection, and alcoholism.
Repletion Information: Cysteine is found in all proteins. However, some cysteine is oxidized to cystine and other compounds during cooking and storage, and is less available to the body. Regardless of dietary protein intake, cysteine supplementation with N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine has been found to be safe at doses up to 2000 mg daily. Supplementation with cysteine is not recommended as it is not well tolerated by many patients. In addition, it may be rapidly oxidized to cystine which is less available for utilization.
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