Most people do not need to supplement with cysteine. Almost nothing is known about appropriate supplemental levels, in part because almost all clinical research has been done with N-acetyl cysteine and not cysteine itself.
Adequate amounts of methionine are needed in the diet, as the precursor to cysteine, to prevent cysteine deficiency.
1. Eck HP, Gander H, Hartmann M, et al. Low concentrations of acid-soluble thiol (cysteine) in the blood plasma of HIV-1 infected patients. Biol Chem Hoppe Seyler 1989;370:101-8.
2. Droge W, Eck HP, Mihm S. HIV-induced cysteine deficiency and T-cell dysfunction—a rationale for treatment with N-acetylcysteine. Immunol Today 1992;13:211-4.
3. Droge W. Cysteine and glutathione deficiency in AIDS patients: a rationale for the treatment with N-acetyl-cysteine. Pharmacology 1993;46:61-5 [review].
4. Kleinveld HA, Demacker PNM, Stalenhoef AFH. Failure of N-acetylcysteine to reduce low-density lipoprotein oxidizability in healthy subjects. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 1992;43:639-42.
5. Olney JW, Ho OL. Brain damage in infant mice following oral intake of glutamate, aspartate or cysteine. Nature 1970;227:609-10 [letter].
Last Review: 07-01-2014
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