Glutathione: Master Antioxidant, Detoxifier, and Immune Booster

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Glutathione: Master Antioxidant, Detoxifier, and Immune Booster

In recent years, there has been increasing interest in glutathione (GSH) and the role it plays in the progression and treatment of a wide variety of illnesses and conditions.

Glutathione is the most abundant and arguably the most important antioxidant in the body. Several biological processes rely on it to perform optimally, but levels diminish as we age, opening the door to premature cell death, aging, and age-associated diseases and conditions.

Glutathione is critical for the detoxification process. Low glutathione compromises liver function, which works to flush the body of damaging free radicals. Free radicals, like reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS), are naturally occurring, toxic compounds that are formed when the body converts food to energy. They roam freely, targeting and altering different types of molecules in the body through an exchange of electrons. In ideal circumstances, free radicals are kept in check by antioxidants that prevent them from causing damage. However, when the scales tip in their favor free radicals can cause significant damage to our cells and our DNA. The result is oxidative stress (OS) which is linked to numerous disease processes including cognitive decline (Alzheimer’s disease) and other age-related conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

Studies confirm the link between low GSH and cognitive impairment:
Oxidative stress predicts cognitive decline with aging in healthy adults: an observational study
Glutathione relates to neuropsychological functioning in mild cognitive impairment

Closely tied to this is glutathione’s role in mitochondrial survival. Mitochondria are responsible for creating cellular energy and they are directly linked to the pathways of cellular death. Without adequate levels of glutathione cellular health and longevity are compromised.

Over time, toxins, poor diet, medications, infections, and stress all contribute to depleting levels of glutathione. Without enough of it in our cells we become “unbalanced” in terms of inflammation and anti-inflammation. When the body’s normal cycle of destruction and repair tips more towards destruction and moves away from repair we see disruptions in the proper functioning of the immune system, we see an increase in inflammation, and we see an increase in neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, depression, ME/CFS, and fibromyalgia.

Optimizing Glutathione Levels

Vitamin and mineral IVs are a wonderful way to deliver and replenish vital nutrients to the body. By bypassing the digestive system, you get maximum absorption into the bloodstream and maximum bioavailability. Glutathione has shown it can cross the blood brain barrier (BBB) and can therefore be an important tool in preventing and treating neurodegenerative conditions.

Some of the benefits of glutathione IV supplementation include:

  • Encourages cellular health
  • Lowers inflammation
  • Boosts immune system function
  • Helps maintain the body’s detoxification process
  • Improves cognitive function (clarity, focus, executive function)
  • Improves muscle repair and muscle development
  • Improves muscle endurance and energy

Bottom line: Increasing glutathione is one more way to slow down the aging process, encourage recovery, prevent disease, and maintain optimal health.

References:

Ballatori N, Krance SM, Notenboom S, Shi S, Tieu K, Hammond CL. Glutathione dysregulation and the etiology and progression of human diseases. Biol Chem. 2009;390(3):191–214. doi:10.1515/BC.2009.033

Mol Neurobiol. 2014 Dec;50(3):1059-84. doi: 10.1007/s12035-014-8705-x.

Forman HJ1, Zhang H, Rinna A. Glutathione: overview of its protective roles, measurement, and biosynthesis. Mol Aspects Med. 2009 Feb-Apr;30(1-2):1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.mam.2008.08.006.

Ribas V, García-Ruiz C, Fernández-Checa JC. Glutathione and mitochondria. Front Pharmacol. 2014;5:151. Published 2014 Jul 1. doi:10.3389/fphar.2014.00151

Mytilineou C1, Kramer BC, Yabut JA. Glutathione depletion and oxidative stress. Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2002 Sep;8(6):385-7.

Aoyama K1, Nakaki T. Impaired glutathione synthesis in neurodegeneration. Int J Mol Sci. 2013 Oct 18;14(10):21021-44. doi: 10.3390/ijms141021021.

Hirrlinger J1, Gutterer JM, Kussmaul L, Hamprecht B, Dringen R. Microglial cells in culture express a prominent glutathione system for the defense against reactive oxygen species. Dev Neurosci. 2000 Sep-Dec;22(5-6):384-92.

Kannan R, Kuhlenkamp JF, Jeandidier E, Trinh H, Ookhtens M, Kaplowitz N. Evidence for carrier-mediated transport of glutathione across the blood-brain barrier in the rat. J Clin Invest. 1990;85(6):2009–2013. doi:10.1172/JCI114666

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