A sulfur-containing amino acid. Its sulfhydril group
is very effective at binding free radicals
and prevent their toxic effects. It is not one of the essential amino acids
, but blood levels can easily be raised above baseline by supplementation. Cysteine's antioxidant
function is similar to that of glutathinone
, but cysteine is less expensive and more bioavailable
Cysteins is particularly effective at preventing the cross-linking
damage done by ethanol
's toxic metabolite, acetaldehyde
. Many sources recommend taking up to several grams of cysteine while drinking to prevent hangover
(my personal experience supports the idea).
The biologically active isomer
of cysteine is L-cysteine. It is often sold in the form of N-acetyl
-cysteine, or NAC, which is a more stable molecule.
Information is from an article by Dr. Steven Fowkes at http://www.ceri.com/alcohol.htm, though I've confirmed much of it elsewhere.