Why glutathione is important to us

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 One important protein that appears in every human cell is a tripeptide known as glutathione.

Found in the highest concentrations in the liver, it consists of three amino acids: glutamic acid, L-cysteine and L-glycine.

The first record of glutathione was in 1888, but it was not until 1984 that its function in the body began to be researched in detail.

It turns out that glutathione serves as an antioxidant and detoxifier that protects cells from free radicals and oxidative stress, thus, improving the immune system.

But glutathione levels in human cells begin to decline after you turn 20. In order to produce more glutathione, supplementation of L-cysteine is recommended.

In the absence of glutathione, the body will experience several things. All the cells in the body would face premature death, causing the liver, which cleanses your body of toxic materials, to malfunction.

Worse, the entire immune system will break down – in other words, without glutathione, humans would cease to exist.

How glutathione works

Glutathione is the only antioxidant that is intracellular, meaning that it acts inside the cells. This helps to resist disease by neutralising free radicals and keeping other antioxidants like vitamins C and E in their active form.

Many scientists believe there is a link between low glutathione levels and cell death, which could be why the levels of glutathione in patients with serious diseases such as AIDS and cancer, are typically very low.

On the other hand, clinical observations of people aged 100 and more in various countries like Poland, Italy and Denmark, have found very high levels of glutathione in their cells.

Other functions of this protein include helping to process toxins in the liver; DNA and protein synthesis; and regulating the nitric oxide cycle and the metabolism of iron.

Key benefits of glutathione

Decreased levels of glutathione have several consequences that are linked to a number of age-related illnesses. This includes:

Alzheimer’s disease and macular degeneration – A University of Alabama study in the United States revealed that the red blood cells in male Alzheimer’s patients indicated a significant lack of glutathione.

Heart disease – A study of patients with heart disease found that the lower their levels of glutathione, the higher the likelihood of them experiencing a heart attack.

Cancer – While glutathione is not able to cure cancer, several studies suggest that the growth of new cancer cells may be reduced. Its strong antioxidant properties make it suitable as a supplement.

This is why some doctors recommend it as a supplement to treat cancer, as it improves the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs and reduces their side effects.

Psychiatric illnesses, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and depression – These have been linked to low levels of glutathione. The lack of antioxidant abilities in the brain can cause oxidative stress.

Glutathione has also been used to treat Parkinson’s disease, sickle cell anaemia, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and poisoning, as it is able to cleanse the body of unhealthy metals such as mercury.

Glutathione has been found to improve the quality of the human male sperm. This is achieved by the lowering of blood pressure and decreasing oxidative stress on the sensitive sperm cells, hence, minimising damage to their DNA cargo.

Couples who are trying to conceive should look for micronutrient supplements, especially n-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), which is used in the body to produce L-glutathione.

The aspiring father could also benefit from consuming scientifically-proven nutrients such as arginine, carnitine and pine bark extract.

Because it is a protein, a fair amount of glutathione that you ingest is broken down in your gut and eliminated before reaching the cells.

 

Article Source: http://www.star2.com/living/viewpoints/2016/05/29/why-glutathione-is-important-to-us/#v9QZZBkX3X5BqJzk.99

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Reducing Age-Related Decline by Boosting Glutathione

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A research team at Oregon State University has determined that glutathione may help ward off toxins that are an underlying cause of aging. Glutathione levels decline with age, which opens the door for a wide range of age-related health issues. A recent study, published in the journal Redox Biology, also highlighted a compound – N-acetyl-cysteine, or NAC – which is currently in use in high doses for the purpose of medical detoxification emergencies. The researchers stated that at much lower levels, NAC may help maintain glutathione levels and prevent the usual metabolic decline that occurs with aging. Looking at it from this angle, research offers not only some profound insights into why animals health declines with age, but also reveals a specific compound that could help prevent some of the toxic processes involved.

The researchers believe that the decline of these detoxification pathways is incidentally linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, which are some of the primary causes of human mortality. Tory Hagen, lead author on the research and the Helen P. Rumbel Professor for Health Aging Research in the Linus Pauling Institute at OSU, states that the importance of glutathione as a strong antioxidant has been known for some time. He goes on to say “What this study pointed out was the way that cells from younger animals are far more resistant to stress than those from older animals,” Hagen is also a professor of biochemistry at the OSU College of Science. “In young animal cells, stress doesn’t cause such a rapid loss of glutathione. The cells from older animals, on the other hand, were quickly depleted of glutathione and died twice as fast when subjected to stress. “But pretreatment with NAC increased glutathione levels in the older cells and largely helped offset that level of cell death.”

Hagen said that glutathione is such a vital antioxidant that its existence seems to date back as far as oxygen-dependent, or aerobic life itself. Or, in other words, about 1.5 billion years. Glutathione is a principal compound that detoxifies environmental stresses, heavy metals, air pollutants, pharmaceuticals and various other toxins.

In the current study, the researchers attempted to pinpoint the resistance to toxins of young cells, as compared to older cells. They utilized a toxic compound called menadione to stress the cells. As a result of that stress, the younger cells lost significantly less glutathione than older cells did. The levels of glutathione in the young rat cells never dipped to lower than 35 percent of its initial level. However, the older rat cells glutathione levels fell to 10 percent of their original level.

The researchers state that NAC iboosts the metabolic function of glutathione as well as increasing its rate of synthesis. It is currently used in emergency medicine to assist patients in a toxic crisis, for example ingestion of poisonous levels of heavy metals. It is known to be a very safe compound to utilize even at particularly high levels. Furthermore, the scientists believe that it may have significant value at much lower doses for maintaining glutathione levels and improving health. “I’m optimistic there could be a role for this compound in preventing the increased toxicity we face with aging, as our abilities to deal with toxins decline,” Hagen stated. “We might be able to improve the metabolic resilience that we’re naturally losing with age.”

Hagen believes that there appears to be a wide range of detoxification potential offered by glutathione. High levels of it in conjunction with NAC may help reduce the toxicity of cancer chemotherapies, certain prescription drugs, and treat other health problems. The researchers concluded that “Using NAC as a prophylactic, instead of an intervention, may allow glutathione levels to be maintained for detoxification in older adults,”

Article Source: http://www.worldhealth.net/news/reducing-age-related-decline/

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