Question: Hi, I wanted to know if Cysteine helps prevent hair loss by increasing the blood circulation at the scalp level. I want to try N-Acetyl Cysteine 600 mg.
Answer: N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is a modified form of cysteine, a non-essential amino acid that can be manufactured in the liver, which helps the body make the antioxidant enzyme glutathione. Several studies have found that it is beneficial to people with chronic bronchitis and there is preliminary evidence to suggest that it may help prevent colon cancer.
It is believed by some that NAC may help to promote hair growth and prevent hair loss. However, although cysteine is a necessary part of a well-balanced diet, the extent of its effect on hair loss is limited to providing some essential nutrients your hair needs for healthy growth. It is highly unlikely and definitely not proven to individually stop hair loss or re-grow hair that’s already been lost. There are only two clinically proven treatments for hair loss but good nutrition is helpful for enhancing the health of the hair follicles and certain hair growth boosters may provide extra support for those treatments.
Cysteine is readily available in a variety of foods such as beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, dairy products, eggs, fish, garlic, meat, nuts, onions, red peppers, seafood, seeds, soy, whey, and whole grains. You should be able to get enough cysteine your body requires from a healthy, well-balanced diet but if you have a deficiency, you may notice symptoms such as loss of pigmentation in hair, lethargy, liver damage, muscle loss, weakness and fat loss.
Optimal levels of NAC and cysteine have not been determined but 250 to 1,500 mg of NAC per day has been used in clinical studies with no adverse effects. The supplements you mentioned should be safe to use but always check with your doctor first. People with diabetes or who are allergic to eggs, milk, or wheat should not take supplementary cysteine and the danger with people taking supplements without checking with their doctor first is that they may overdose of certain nutrients. Studies have found extremely high doses of NAC could cause liver injury and daily doses of 1.2g or more increase oxidative stress.