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Cysteine

A important amino acid, formed in the body from methionine (with vitamin B6), and a major supplier of the body's metabolic sulphur. It's primary source is eggs.

It has some remarkable properties - forming the enzyme reduced glutathione, one of the best free radical destroyers. As such, it can help prevent age-related diseases such as atheroscler-osis, heart attack, cancer and skin wrinkles.

It's also thought tp protect the body from radiation, especially when taken in conjunction with selenium and vitamin E; plus protecting the liver and brain from some of the harmful effects of alcohol and smoking.

Hair is 8 per cent cysteine by weight and supplements can enhance hair growth. Supplements are sold by health food shops, and are best taken with vitamin C, to inhibit their oxidation to cysteine.

Cysteine supplements shouldn't be taken by diabetics.

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