What should you know about cysteine (NAC)?

  1. What is a cysteine

Cysteine, N-acetylcysteine or -amino-ß-thiolopropionic acid is a substance that in biochemical terms belongs to the group of 22 fundamental  amino acids. Cysteine is endogenous, and that means two main properties. First, the human body is capable of its own production, which to some extent allows it to maintain its necessary concentration. Secondly, cysteine due to its affiliation to biogenic amino acids is at the same time an inherent element of the human system, necessary to maintain the proper operation of metabolism and a number of physiological processes.

The mechanism of cysteine synthesis takes place with the participation of two other important compounds, which are methionine and serine. The transfer of the sulfur group from the first substance to the second through the active participation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) leads to the formation of a cysteine molecule. So boldly you can say that in addition to its biogenic character, cysteine is also a compound included in the group of so-called sulfur amino acids.


  1. Cysteine – operation

One of the most characteristic features of N-acetylcysteine is the presence of the thiol group, which is extremely important for human metabolism and its proper functioning. This fraction is involved in the production of specific connections, which are professionally referred to as “disulphide bridges”. These bridges are extremely important for protein molecules, including muscle proteins, due to their tertiary structure. This, on the other hand, affects the stabilization of the structure of our proteins, increasing their resistance to degradation resulting, for example, from too high temperature, harmful oxidation processes or harmful catabolic reactions.

However, -amino-ß-thiolopropionic acid is considered primarily as a powerful detoxification compound. The cleansing properties of cysteine are dictated by a number of factors. One of the examples is its necessary participation in the production of glutathione – a substance considered to be the basic antioxidant of the human body. It is worth noting, however, that the maintenance of an adequate amount of glutathione is associated not only with the appropriate level of cysteine, but also glycine and glutamine. Another example is the use of N-acetylcysteine as an effective remedy for the removal of harmful heavy metals from the body or accumulated alcohol during poisoning.

The detoxic nature of cysteine is particularly evident in both the heart and the entire circulatory system. Most pharmaceutical preparations for cardiac patients contain this sulfuric amino acid. This is due to the direct effect of cysteine on the functionality of vessels (membranes, arteries and veins), which in the case of hypertension or atherosclerotic lesions are particularly vulnerable. What’s more, the cysteine itself is used as a preventive supplement for people struggling with abnormal heart work.

Nevertheless, the cysteine is not only responsible for “detoxifying” the human body. -amino-ß-thiolopropionic acid is an element of many creative processes, whose products are extremely needed. An example of this is chondroitynoszarkowy acid – a chemical compound that is one of the elements forming the popular cartilage and connective tissue. They in turn determine the structure and durability of our skin, hair and nails.

What’s more, the cysteine undergoing decarboxylation and oxidation processes is transformed into the form of taurine – a sulfuric amino acid that is one of the basic ingredients of dietary supplements for exercising people. Taurine is responsible for many important processes, such as improving cellular metabolism, improving the transfer of creatine to the muscles, and improving the conductivity of information within the nervous system.


  1. Cysteine – dosage

Supplementation with cysteine is usually based on doses that oscillate in the range of 50 to 500 mg of this sulfuric amino acid. Scientific research confirms that the highest efficacy in the constant use of cysteine is achieved with the simultaneous supply of vitamin C. Both formulations are recommended to mix with each other in a ratio of 13, which in practice translates into portions of 50 mg of n-acetylcysteine and 150 mg of ascorbic acid. The -amino-ß-thiolopropionic acid is usually in the form of easy-to-swallow tablets.


  1. Cysteine – reviews

Although a cysteine in the form of a pure food supplement is still a kind of novelty, it is worth taking care of the proper content of this amino acid in our body. Its deficiency brings with it serious consequences. Too low level of -amino-ß-thiolopropionic acid will be manifested, among others, by the weakened condition of the skin and its products, increased chance of dangerous oxidative stress, disturbance of the proper environment to the functioning of metabolism or excessive accumulation of unnecessary and harmful metabolic products.

Cysteine as a stand alone preparation is still new on the market of dietary supplements, but nothing is lost – the sulfur amino acid most often can be found in the composition of substance conglomerates aimed at improving the regeneration or intensity of muscle anabolism. Therefore, the best choice is to reach for amino acid matrices, such as popular BCAA, EAA or SAA complexes. It is also worth mentioning that a large number of dietary supplements aimed at improving the condition of the skin, as well as a part of cosmetics has in its formula n-acetyl-cysteine.


  1. Cysteine – price

Cysteine, as previously mentioned, is still a novelty on the Polish market of dietary supplements and nutrients for athletes. This means that its price largely depends on the preparation in which it occurs. Mixtures of amino acids and supplements that strengthen the condition of the skin and its products oscillate in a wide range of prices. This is dictated by a number of factors, the form of the product, the basis weight, the content of individual ingredients or the brand itself. In order to buy a cysteine, it is worth checking the sales outlets of dietary supplements as well as our online store.