The perks of using L-cysteine in your diet

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Earlier Nutrafol talked about what scientific research on L-cysteine says, and here is a recap of the study made:

A German research study from 2000 examined the role of this amino acid in hair loss and hair regrowth. Researchers divided people who were suffering from massive hair loss into two groups. One treated with a combination of L-cysteine, millet seed extract, and pantothenic acid, while the other group received a placebo.
After four weeks of continuous treatment, researchers observed the initial results with a microscope. Three months in it was observed that the group treated with L-cysteine combination therapy showed a decrease in hair loss and their natural hair growth was restored. Whereas there was no improvement in hair loss in the control group that received placebo.

But how does it work in terms of hair loss…?

L-cysteine is an amino acid which means that it is one of the building blocks of proteins in your body, which also plays a key role in the synthesis of new protein. This is why it is so important in terms of hair loss and hair treatment – protein is simply an essential component.

Food sources that contain a good amount of L-cysteine

Your body does manufacture L-cysteine on its own, beginning with another essential amino acid called methionine. But there are a number of food sources which contain cysteine, that are high in protein as you might have guessed. And those are:

  • Pork
  • Poultry
  • Turkey
  • Duck
  • Cottage cheese
  • Ricotta
  • Yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Red peppers
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Oats
  • Granola
  • Wheat germ
With the right amount L-cysteine, studies show that your hair will get thicker and have more volume.

How does L-cysteine work?

L-cysteine helps your body synthesize new protein tissues by serving as an ingredient in those tissues. When it is included in a supplement as N-acetyl L-cysteine, you body is able to convert it into cysteine and glutathione, an antioxidant with powerful benefits. When you feed your body with antioxidants, you help your body to fight free radicals, compounds which cause damage to cell membranes and DNA. Which mean that many of the effects we perceive of as aging are actually the result of this kind of damage. So by taking the right amount of cysteine, you are keeping your body looking and feeling young.


The effect of L-cysteine

  • L-cysteine is doing wonders to your skin, besides from eliminating those free radicals mentioned above. It helps your body to create new skin tissue called collagen. Collagen is what is keeping your skin young and as you get older, your body has a more difficult time replacing lost skin cells. And since collagen is a protein tissue, it is easier for your body to make more when you include L-cysteine in your diet.


  • L-cysteine is doing wonders for your hair as well. Healthy hair is made out of keratin, which is another type of protein. Cysteine helps your body to make many different types of protein, which is also helping your hair out. This does not only give your hair more volume, but also helps against hair thinning and hair loss.

Vitamins and minerals are good for our body, but they are not all we need. Many forget that amino acids, the building blocks for proteins, are also necessary. With cysteine in your everyday diet, your body can synthesize new collagen and keratin, giving you luxurious hair and radiant skin. Choose a supplement that contains L-cysteine and other protein building blocks to support good looking and luminous hair.

Photos by: Jake Turner and Dhara Shah via Flickr.

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