Cysteine's Antioxidant Effects May Help Reduce Stroke Risk

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Consuming a diet with a high intake of cysteine, an amino acid, may reduce the risk of stroke, according to a study published in Stroke.

Other studies have linked a high-protein diet to a reduced risk of stroke and lower blood pressure. The researchers hypothesized that cysteine, which is commonly found in high-protein foods, could decrease the risk for stroke through its antihypertensive and antioxidant effects.

The study included data on 34,250 women from the Swedish Mammography Cohort. The women had no history of cardiovascular disease or cancer and had completed a food-frequency questionnaire about diet and other stroke risk factors in 1997.

After 10.4 years of follow up, the researchers noted 1,751 reported cases of stroke. They found that participants with the highest intake of cysteine had a stroke risk that was 21% lower than the risk of those with the lowest cysteine intake.

The researchers also looked at the intake of other amino acids, but they did not find any other associations between amino acids and stroke risk.

High levels of cysteine can be found in foods such as poultry, eggs, beef, and whole grains. However, the researchers warn that red meat and processed meat actually raise the risk of stroke; thus, people looking to lower their stroke risk through cysteine intake should seek out other sources of the amino acid.

amino acid
Cysteine's Antioxidant Effects May Help Reduce Stroke Risk

Cysteine could potentially lower the risk of stroke through antihypertensive and antioxidant effects. Our aim was to evaluate the hypothesis that cysteine intake is inversely associated with stroke incidence.

We used data from the Swedish Mammography Cohort, a population-based prospective cohort of 34 250 women who were free of cardiovascular disease and cancer and had completed a food-frequency questionnaire about diet and other risk factors for stroke in the autumn of 1997. Stroke cases were identified by linkage of the study population with the Swedish Inpatient Register and the Swedish Cause of Death Register. Relative risks (RR) with 95% confidence intervals, adjusted for potential confounders, were estimated by using Cox proportional hazards regression model.

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