From Lead to Cocoa, the Cysteine Connection

From Lead to Cocoa, the Cysteine Connection

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Today is one of those “Connect the Dots” pages out of an activity colouring book. I normally begin my articles with what caused the trail around the page, but today, I’m going to share the dots, and then connect them instead. Very similar to some of my puzzle piece research articles I share from time to time.

In Mercola’s article: Omega-3 and Vitamin D May Reduce Heart Failure Complications, he states:

Glutathione keeps many other antioxidants performing at peak levels and cysteine availability is thought to be a rate-limiting factor for glutathione synthesis.

Cysteine is known as a sulfur-containing amino acid, and the article quoted from above, states that Glutathione is a storehouse for sulfur. Cysteine would be that storage center.

Mercola adds:

You get most of your sulfur from certain proteins in your diet, specifically, those that contain the amino acids methionine, cysteine, cystine, homocysteine, homocystine and taurine. 19 Of these, the two most important are methionine and cysteine.

One of my textbooks: Natural Health and Nutrition by Dr. Lawrence DeSantis, introduces cysteine this way:

“Cysteine functions as a powerful antioxidant in detoxifying harmful toxins; protects the body from radiation damage; protects the liver and brain from damage due to alcohol, drugs, and toxic compounds found in cigarette smoke; has been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and hardening of the arteries; promotes the recovery from severe burns and surgery; promotes the burning of fat and the building of muscle; slows down the aging process. Skin and hair are made up of 10-14% cystine.”

Earlier in this textbook, DeSantis writes:


“Glutathione is a small protein composed of three amino acids: cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine. Nutrition researchers have regarded it as the most valuable detoxifying agent in the human body. Glutathione has also been called the “master antioxidant” that regulates the actions of lesser antioxidants such as vitamin A and vitamin E within the body.”

Sulfation and glutathione conjugation are two of six methods used by the liver’s phase two detoxification routine to keep the body free of toxins. Phase two detoxification is when the liver converts toxins to a water-soluble nature that can be flushed out of the body via your colon or kidneys. This is why any liver cleanse must also be accompanied by a kidney cleanse and why both structures need support at the same time. As noted above, cysteine is obtained from the food you eat, and some foods even contain glutathione itself.

Today, Mercola released an article once again praising the benefits of the supplement: NAC, saying;

“N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), a precursor to glutathione, which your body requires for efficient detoxification.”

He was sharing a 2016 study that found NAC can guard the body against lead poisoning. Well, if you follow my articles and/or follow my groups at all, you’ll know that if a supplement claims to do something, I’m looking for the wholefood that does the same thing! This is because we get crazy claims that various compounds can’t be found in food! If it can’t be found in food, where did they get it to make the supplement??!! Well, I had memories of making entries in my nutritional/medicinal wholefoods database about heavy metal removal and lead. I also had entries for foods containing cysteine and glycine two of the building blocks of glutathione as mentioned above.

Many doctors and researchers act as if glutathione is it’s own anti-oxidant and not the multi-part compound it is. While it too can be found in various foods in its multi-part compound form, it is this multi-part nature that we need to be aware of so that we can choose the foods that boost it if our body’s appear to be lacking glutathione’s functionality.

Foods that contain Magnesium for example. In an article Mercola wrote back in May of 2022, he said:

Your levels of powerful antioxidants like glutathione are directly dependent on your magnesium status.

Cocoa for example, contains Magnesium, and an article in the journal Nutrients had this to say about the flavinols present in cocoa powder:

“Cocoa polyphenols are expected to activate Nrf2, which induces the transcription of antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, and heme oxygenase 1, thus blocking the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide synthase (NOS), and attenuating oxidative stress, as well as a number of cellular kinases, including the
mitogenactivated protein kinases (MAPKs).”

Nitric oxide is a good thing, but too much of a good thing is bad, so the body keeps it in check.

So we need foods that contain magnesium, cysteine, glycine, and yes, even the tri-part compound, glutathione itself. An article I read on maintaining eye health says that if you want to get more glutathione into your diet, look for sulfur-heavy foods such as eggs, garlic and asparagus. Cysteine is important to prevent vision loss. It’s already been shown that foods containing sulfurophane, namely your cruciferous vegetables, help to boost glutathione levels in the blood and brain.

deepfreeze and pumpkinsBased on the definition of cysteine by Dr. Lawrence DeSantis, and based on the descriptions of what Glutathione and Glycine do by Mercola, Seneff, and others, my database now has more whole foods listed for anti-radiation, detoxing glyphosate, and chelating lead from the body.

A whole food approach ensures your body is able to make use of nutrients in their phytochemically-balanced form, allowing for greater synergy among the various compounds found in the food you eat, than what you’ll get by taking those compounds isolated into supplement form.  Secondly, if the supplements you have relied on in the past become unavailable, it’s important to know what foods you can turn to instead, to feed your body the same nutrients.

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