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  Glutathione  
 
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The body produces L-glutathione from the amino acids cysteine, glutamic acid and glycine. It is a powerful antioxidant, necessary for carbohydrate metabolism, has anti-aging properties and breaks down oxidized fats. L-glutathione, in its reduced form is a master antioxidant and detoxifier. It protects tissues by neutralizing free radicals, and improves the immune system by promoting antigen presentation and stimulating CD8 cells. Glutathione is involved in various liver detoxification processes. Alpha lipoic acid, selenium, vitamin C, TMG, NAC, Milk Thistle (silymarin), coffee enemas, cold-processed whey proteins, colostrum, certified raw milk and L-glutamine support increased glutathione levels.

Supplementation with reduced glutathione does not necessarily raise tissue levels of glutathione, and it can be expensive. While the unreduced form is much cheaper, it is not metabolically active. Doctors often report that clinical benefits achieved with intravenous reduced glutathione are not seen when it is taken orally. Riboflavin and niacinamide are essential cofactors for generating reduced glutathione.

Common toxins that glutathione may help protect against are car exhaust, cigarette smoke, heavy metals, aspirin and alcohol, as well as many pesticides and industrial chemicals.

Glutathione status can be evaluated by labs such as Metametrix, Antibody Assay Labs, Great Smokies and Diagnostechs - see our links page.
 

 
 

Glutathione can help with the following:
 
 
Aging  Parkinson's Disease / Risk
 Since the discovery more than a decade ago that Parkinson's patients suffer from a profound deficiency of the powerful brain antioxidant glutathione, medical researchers have been actively exploring techniques to administer this naturally-occurring chemical. It is currently used intravenously.

Environment / Toxicity

  Heavy Metal Toxicity
 One of the body's normal mechanisms for dealing with heavy metals involves glutathione and normal levels of this protein should thus be ensured. The rate-limiting precursors are the amino acids cysteine (or N-acetyl-cysteine) and glutamine.

  Mercury Toxicity / Amalgam Illness
 One of the body's normal mechanisms for dealing with heavy metals involves glutathione and normal levels of this protein should thus be ensured. The rate-limiting precursors are the amino acids cysteine (or N-acetyl-cysteine) and glutamine.

Immunity

  Immune System Imbalance (TH2 Dominance)
 Glutathione levels in antigen-presenting cells determine whether Th1 or Th2 response patterns predominate [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1998 Mar 17;95(6): pp.3071-6]. Increasing glutathione levels helps reduce a Th2 dominance.

Organ Health

  Macular Degeneration
 Researchers have found that age-related macular degeneration correlates with low glutathione levels. When taking into consideration other variables such as smoking, age, cardiovascular disease and multivitamin use, depletion of glutathione by itself was thought to be a major contributing factor behind macular degeneration. [British Journal of Ophthalmology, 1994; 78 [10], pp.791-4)]

  Hepatitis
 Glutathione (500mg twice a day) or N-acetyl cysteine (200 mg two to three times per day) provide liver cleansing and antioxidant support.
 
 


KEY
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended







GLOSSARY

Antibody:  A type of serum protein (globulin) synthesized by white blood cells of the lymphoid type in response to an antigenic (foreign substance) stimulus. Antibodies are complex substances formed to neutralize or destroy these antigens in the blood. Antibody activity normally fights infection but can be damaging in allergies and a group of diseases that are called autoimmune diseases.

Antigen:  A substance, usually protein or protein-sugar complex in nature, which, being foreign to the bloodstream or tissues of an animal, stimulates the formation of specific blood serum antibodies and white blood cell activity. Re-exposure to similar antigen will reactivate the white blood cells and antibody programmed against this specific antigen.

Antioxidant:  A chemical compound that slows or prevents oxygen from reacting with other compounds. Some antioxidants have been shown to have cancer-protecting potential because they neutralize free radicals. Examples include vitamins C and E, alpha lipoic acid, beta carotene, the minerals selenium, zinc, and germanium, superoxide dismutase (SOD), coenzyme Q10, catalase, and some amino acids, like cystiene. Other nutrient sources include grape seed extract, curcumin, gingko, green tea, olive leaf, policosanol and pycnogenol.

Carbohydrates:  The sugars and starches in food. Sugars are called simple carbohydrates and found in such foods as fruit and table sugar. Complex carbohydrates are composed of large numbers of sugar molecules joined together, and are found in grains, legumes, and vegetables like potatoes, squash, and corn.

Cofactor:  A substance that acts with another substance to bring about certain effects, often a coenzyme.

Colostrum:  The first (immunologically rich) milk produced by lactating mothers after giving birth. Usually collected within 24 or 36 hours. Usual sources are cows.

Cysteine:  A nonessential amino acid but may be essential for individuals with certain diseases or nutritional concerns. Cysteine is a sulfur-bearing amino acid with antioxidant properties. It is important for keratin synthesis, a protein found in skin, hair and nails and is a component of coenzyme A and glutathione.

Free Radical:  A free radical is an atom or group of atoms that has at least one unpaired electron. Because another element can easily pick up this free electron and cause a chemical reaction, these free radicals can effect dramatic and destructive changes in the body. Free radicals are activated in heated and rancid oils and by radiation in the atmosphere, among other things.

Glutamic Acid:  Involved in the synthesis of DNA, glutathione and some amino acids. Helps remove excess ammonia from the body. Interconverted by the body into glutamic acid and gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA).

Glutathione:  A natural sulfur-bearing peptide formed from the linking of three amino acids: glutamic acid, cysteine and glycine. Glutathione acts as an antioxidant and detoxicant and is involved with the selenium-containing enzyme glutathione peroxidase. Glutathione is also involved in amino acid transport across cell membranes.

Glycine:  The simplest amino acid which is a constituent of normal protein and an inhibitory neurotransmitter, used as a dietary supplement. A natural antacid and sweetener, it is involved in the syntheses of DNA, phospholipids and collagen.

Immune System:  A complex that protects the body from disease organisms and other foreign bodies. The system includes the humoral immune response and the cell-mediated response. The immune system also protects the body from invasion by making local barriers and inflammation.

Lipoic acid:  A sulfur-containing coenzyme used in the energy process and is also a powerful antioxidant. Has been used therapeutically in the treatment of AIDS and diabetes because of the synergy between alpha-lipoic acid and vitamin E and the interlocking cycles which lead to better optimization of antioxidant nutrients.

Metabolism:  The chemical processes of living cells in which energy is produced in order to replace and repair tissues and maintain a healthy body. Responsible for the production of energy, biosynthesis of important substances, and degradation of various compounds.

NAC:  (N-acetyl-l-cysteine): A sulfur compound that is a precursor of glutathione.

Niacin:  (Vitamin B-3): A coenzyme B-complex vitamin that assists in the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Essential for the health of the skin, nerves, tongue and digestive system. It is found in every cell of the body and is necessary for energy production. Niacin is also needed for DNA formation.

Protein:  Compounds composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen present in the body and in foods that form complex combinations of amino acids. Protein is essential for life and is used for growth and repair. Foods that supply the body with protein include animal products, grains, legumes, and vegetables. Proteins from animal sources contain the essential amino acids. Proteins are changed to amino acids in the body.

Riboflavin:  (Vitamin B-2): A B-complex vitamin that acts as a coenzyme that activates the breakdown and utilization of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It is essential for cellular oxidation and necessary for healthy skin and eyes.

Selenium:  An essential element involved primarily in enzymes that are antioxidants. Three selenium- containing enzymes are antioxidant peroxidases and a fourth selenium-containing enzyme is involved in thyroid hormone production. The prostate contains a selenium-containing protein and semen contains relatively large amounts of selenium. Clinical studies show that selenium is important in lowering the risk of several types of cancers. In combination with Vitamin E, selenium aids the production of antibodies and helps maintain a healthy heart. It also aids in the function of the pancreas, provides elasticity to tissues and helps cells defend themselves against damage from oxidation.

TMG:  Tri-methyl-glycine. After supplying a methyl group, TMG becomes di-methyl-glycine. DMG, a natural component of animal and plant metabolism, positively influences the immune response in laboratory animals and humans and boosts physical and mental performance.

Vitamin C:  Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant vitamin essential to the body's health. When bound to other nutrients, for example calcium, it would be referred to as "calcium ascorbate". As an antioxidant, it inhibits the formation of nitrosamines (a suspected carcinogen). Vitamin C is important for maintenance of bones, teeth, collagen and blood vessels (capillaries), enhances iron absorption and red blood cell formation, helps in the utilization of carbohydrates and synthesis of fats and proteins, aids in fighting bacterial infections, and interacts with other nutrients. It is present in citrus fruits, tomatoes, berries, potatoes and fresh, green leafy vegetables.