The fifth installment of this blog series focusing on supporting your health and wellbeing will discuss Glutathione, one of our most important antioxidant and detoxification factors. The previous posts of other key nutrients can be found here: Vitamin D, Vitamin C, NAC and Oil of Oregano and Garlic.
Dr Mark Hyman (Medical Doctor and 11-time New York Times best-selling author) describes glutathione as, “the most important molecule you need to stay healthy and prevent aging, cancer, heart disease, dementia and more, and necessary to treat everything from autism to Alzheimer’s disease. I called it the mother of all antioxidants”.
Glutathione prevents the cell damage induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS) including peroxides (including lipid), free radicals, and heavy metals. In addition, Glutathione is also central to signal transduction for transcription, hormone metabolism (i.e., estrogens, leukotrienes) and prostaglandins (Pajaud et al., 2012; Rotar et al., 2014). Aquilano and colleagues (2014) have indicated that Glutathione concentration reductions have been linked to adverse health impacts such as dysregulation of cell proliferation, transcription of detoxification enzymes, and apoptosis (programmed cell death).
Of current interest is the potential role of Glutathione in respiratory distress. Glutathione has been previously shown to prevent the clumping together of mucous and with nitric oxide produces a bronchodilator (nitrosoglutathione) (Fitzpatrick et al., 2012). In a recent case report, Horowitz and colleagues (2020) evaluated the effects of using Glutathione in the treatment of 2 patients with shortness of breath secondary to COVID-19 pneumonia. Whilst anecdotal, the author’s point to plausibility of Glutathione supplementation, and improvement of COVID-19 respiratory symptoms.
Optimising Glutathione Status
Classified as a non-essential nutrient, Glutathione can be synthesised in the body from the amino acids such as L-glutamic acid, L-cysteine, and glycine (Lu S et al., 2016). Levels can be significantly depleted in response to a wide range of issues including: poor diet, stress, infections and aging (Pham-Huy et al., 2008). Three strategies can be employed to ensure that we can maximise our Glutathione levels. These are:
1) Ensure we eat a diet containing lean protein sources, brassica vegetables, polyphenol-rich fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, green tea, and omega-3 fatty acid rich-foods such as fish (Minich and Brown 2019).
2) Glutathione is a tripeptide of cysteine, glutamate, and glycine. Ensuring we eat and / or supplement with these key amino acids will help maintain our Glutathione status. Paying specific attention to cysteine as this is the amino acid that degrades the easiest (supplementing NAC circumvents this).
3) Supplementing directly with Glutathione. Richie and colleagues (2015) have shown that supplementing with either 250 mg and 1000 mg each day, increased glutathione status over a six-month period.
Bigvits can provide us with a range of Glutathione products to meet our nutritional needs.
As a prophylactic, a dose of 500 mg per day is likely to improve our status of this important nutrient.
This blog series is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or nutritional advice or act as a substitute for seeking such advice from a qualified health professional. In order to make the blog series easier to read, I have used a conversational tone in many places with personal pronouns, such as “I” and “you.” This is meant only to make it more pleasant to read, and is not meant to imply that the information constitutes any form of advice, whether personal or general.