Glutathione is a protein that can be found in every cell of the human body, highly concentrated in the liver. This makes a lot of sense be that the liver is the main organ of detoxification. It is made up of three amino acids: cysteine, glutamine, and glycine.
Glutathione is known as a naturally occurring powerful antioxidant some even say “the Mother of Antioxidants” found to protect against chemical, environmental and immune threats.
Glutathione plays a significant role in health and disease prevention. Unfortunately, the importance and beneficial outcomes of supplementing with this powerful antioxidant are not stressed enough. Although the use of this supplement has been on the rise over the past few years with increased research availability.
Reasons you may not be producing enough glutathione
Glutathione production reduces with age and disease states which leads to lower levels necessary for the body to function properly. The number one cause of glutathione deficiency is age, glutathione decreases approximately 10% every 10 years after age 20 (1). In this world today, we are exposed to pollution, toxins, smoke, increased number of viruses and diseases, heavy metals, medications, and other elements present in the air we breathe, the water we drink and bath in, and the food we eat. All of the above issues contribute to a weakened immune system, leaving the body unable to deal with daily load of detoxification.
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Why you would supplement with glutathione
- decrease oxidative stress
- support immune health
- reduce inflammation
- greatly increase ability to detoxify, removal of toxins and heavy metals
- repair DNA
- prevent cell mutations
- strengthen cell membranes
- increase supply of oxygen and nutrients to the cells
- anti-aging protection
Conditions that benefit from Glutathione
Research has shown that almost all chronic conditions are characterized by glutathione deficiency (2) :
- all cancers
- HIV/ Aids
- macular degeneration
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- autoimmune disorders
- all diseases of liver
- digestive system
- flu and colds
- peripheral neuropathy
- as well as non-chronic conditions, such as burns, physical trauma and any type of surgery and more
Glutathione rich foods
Given the state of the environment and our exposure to toxins on a daily basis we may not be producing enough glutathione in the body to support the load of toxins accumulated. When we combine this with the type of diet the majority of people are consuming, malabsorption issues in the gut, and stress we may not be making or consuming enough to counter act the exposure. Even a presumed healthy person may see significant benefits from supplementing with glutathione.
The American diet (SAD) consists of overly processed “food” that lacks adequate nutrients. If it is grown from the ground or come from animal source, we most likely will not benefit from consuming it.
Here are some examples of foods that assist the body in raising glutathione levels:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables:
- especially sulfur-containing foods such as; garlic, onions and scallions, cruciferous vegetables such as; cauliflower, brussels sprouts and broccoli,
- Bioavailable whey protein (from raw non-pasteurized dairy)
Also consider increasing your intake of nutrients that work synergistically with glutathione such as; Vitamins and minerals C, E, CoQ10, n-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), alpha lipoic acid (ALA) and zinc
The different types of Glutathione supplementation
Glutathione can be given intravenously, transdermal injection, orally, topically or as an inhalant.
Intravenous and injection therapy is the most bioavailable. Since IV therapy and injection are delivered directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the stomach, gut, and liver it is 100% available and results have been seen in shorter time periods than other methods of supplementation. Depending on the medical condition, IVs need to be administered regularly – daily or weekly. However, IV and injection therapy can be expensive and not available to everyone so in this case finding an alternative route is beneficial.
Liposomal Glutathione has been supported by many studies in recent years for its bioavailability and absorption (5) (6) (7). Prior to the advent of liposomal glutathione, oral supplementation could not prove efficacy due to low absorption rates. Liposomal glutathione is essentially an extremely small glutathione molecule surround by a fat cell and dissolved in water. The fat protects the molecule from being broken down in the stomach therefore increasing its absorption. One of the issues with using this method is there are a lot of brands on the market and most of them have not performed human trials to verify efficacy. There are other issues with this route of administration including; liposomes degrade quickly and have a short half-life so if the product isn’t made within two weeks of purchase, the less likely it contains active ingredients. There are some products that are made from non-GMO sunflower lecithin versus soy lecithin that may or may not be GMO and may cause allergic reactions in some. Always check the product labels and when in doubt call the company, if they cannot provide adequate info chose another product.
Testing Glutathione (GSH)
GSH is not widely tested yet. There are tests available, please contact your doctor if you feel you may have glutathione deficiency and ask them for an oxidative stress panel.
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- Jones D.P. (Feb 2011) The Health dividend of Glutathione. Natural Medicine Journal, Vol 3 – issue 2
- Ray and Olga Klein entire website http://www.immunehealthscience.com/
- Aebi S, Assereto R et al. Eur J Clin Invest. 1991 Feb;21(1):103-10). High-dose intravenous glutathione in man. Pharmacokinetics and effects on cyst(e)ine in plasma and urine.
- Venketaraman, Lagman, Ly (E-Published July, 2015): Journal of interferon & cytokine research.Liposomal Glutathione Supplementation Restores TH1 Cytokine Response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection in HIV-Infected Individuals.
PubMed ID: 26133750 |
- Lauver, Lucchesi (November 2012): The Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology.Oral pretreatment with liposomal glutathione attenuates reperfusion injury in rabbit isolated hearts. PubMed ID: 23188132
- Zeevalk (October 2010): Neurochemical ResearchLiposomal-glutathione provides maintenance of intracellular glutathione and neuroprotection in mesencephalic neuronal cells. PubMed ID: 20535554
Information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace your physician’s or other medical professional’s recommendations. The products and information contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Nutritional benefits may vary from one person to another. Please always consult your doctor before starting any supplemental regimen or changing your diet.