Microsoft word - glutathione
This article will demonstrate to you why Glutathione is so
important to your health and well-being.
Glutathione (pronounced 'gloota-thigh-own') is the body's essential
health ABC's - Antioxidant, Blood Booster and Cell Detoxifer.
It is a tripeptide composed of glutamic, cysteine and glycine.
Glutathione is found in all cells in the body, including the bile, the
epithelial lining fluid of the lungs, and - at much smaller
concentrations - in the blood.
Glutathione is the smallest intracellular non-protein thiol (molecule
containing an S_H or sulfhydryl group) molecule in the cells. This
characteristic emphasizes its potent antioxidant action and supports
a multifaceted thiol exchange system, which regulates cell activity.
This small protein, produced naturally in the body, maintains these
three crucial protective functions. In fact, your life depends on
glutathione. Without it, your cells would disintegarate from
unrestrained oxidation, your body would have little resistance to
metabolic acids, and your liver would shrivel up from the eventual
accumulation of acidic toxins.
Glutathione is not yet a household word. Even some medical and
holistic doctors who have heard the term may still have only a
vague idea of what it is. However, everyone will soon be talking
about this critical non-nutritive substance.
There was a time when only scientists had heard of cholesterol and
vitamins, but today, everyone knows about them. Now the
magnificence of glutathione is becoming known.
In the last five years, over 25,000 medical articles about this
substance have been published, and the scientific understanding of
glutathione is gradually becoming common knowledge.
Each and every cell in the body is responsible for its own supply of
glutathione and must have the necessary raw materals in order to
Glutathione is always in great demand and is rapidly consumed
when we experience any sort of emotional or physical stress,
fatigue and even moderate exercise.
Some well-known causes of glutathione depletion are as follows:
1) Aidic lifestyle and diet
2) Air and Water pollution
3) Prescription and recreational drugs
4) Ultraviolet and Radiation from cells phones, computers,
electrical cars, power lines, hair dryers, etc.
5) Emotional and physical stress
6) Injury, trauma or burns
7) Heavy metals
8) Cigarette smoke
9) Household chemicals
10) Acetaminophen poisoning
11) Exhaust from motor vehicles
12) Septic shock
All of these above factors lead to a build up of acidic toxins that
cause the loss of glutathione as a non-nutritive buffer leading to
cellular aging, disease and finally death. Why is Glutathione Essential to Health?
Glutathione's three major roles in the body are summarized by the
- Blood Booster
- Cell Detoxifier
These are the three critical processes driven by glutathione. The Master Antioxidant
Over the past thirty years, researchers have explored the role of
antioxidants in good health as well as the treatment and prevention
of diseases involving oxidation or fermentation by metabolic acids.
Well known and widely used antioxidants such as vitamin A, vitamin
E and selenium neutralize acid. They occur naturally in nature, but
not in the body. They must be introduced as part of a balanced diet.
Given the critical role of antioxidants in good health, it is not
surprising that the body itself manufactures its own natural
antioxidants. The most important of these is glutathione. Because
all other antioxidants depend upon the presence of glutathione to
function properly, scientists call it 'the master antioxidant.'
Glutathione binds to toxins, forming a water-soluble complex -
which is ultimately excreted in the urine or bile as waste. Food for the Blood
Elevated glutathione levels enable the body to produce more white
blood cells. White blood cells are the body's garbage collectors and
are the most important cells for maintaining sterility of the body
Glutathione plays a central role in the proper function of the white
blood cells. Dr. Bustavo Bounous, a leading glutathione expert,
says, 'The limiting factor in the proper activity of our lymphocytes
(the white blood cells) is the availability of glutathione.' In other
words, healthy growth and activity of the white blood cells depends
upon glutathione's availability. Put simply, glutathione is 'food' for
the white blood cells. Cellular Detoxifier
Whether we know it or not, we are continually inhaling and
ingesting natural and synthetic acidic toxins. They are unavoidable
in these modern times both in our polluted cities and our poorly
engineered food supplies. When the body has the health and the
nourishment it needs, it works tirelessly to eliminate acidic toxins
and to protect itself. But, increasing levels of environmental
pollution are depleting the body's store of glutathione more and
more rapidly. Our main organ of detoxification of acidic waste
products is the lymphatic system and the liver. This is the body's
most concentrated source of glutathione.
Studies show that low glutathione levels lead to poor lymphatic and
liver function, causing more and more acidic toxins to circulate
through the body and resulting in damage to individual cells and
Medical doctors today routinely use glutathione- promoting drugs to
detoxify victims of certain types of drug overdose. Glutathione in Natural Medicine
Practitioners of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)
have long advocated the use of milk thistle for liver problems. It
turns out that this herb works by modestly elevating glutathione
levels. The mineral selenium also produces subtle elevations in
glutathione by becoming intregarated into the glutathione
Glutathione in Traditional Medicine
Emergency medical doctors, toxicologists and lung and liver
specialists are well acquainted with glutathione's therapeutic uses.
American physcians seeking ways to raise a patient's glutathione
levels can open the standard Physician's Desk Reference (PDR) and
find two options - the pharmaceutical drugs sold under the names
Parlodex and Mucomyst, and the natural dietary supplement found
in natural foods stores derived from whey protein isolate. Drugs That Raise Glutathione Levels
Pharmaceutical drugs like Procysteine, OTC, OTX, Glutathione
monoesters and Glutathione diesters have been used to raise
glutathione levels. However, they all produce side effects and are
unsuitable for long term use.
This pharmaceutical non-nutritive chemical is used to break up
mucus in lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis, chronic bronchitis
and asthma. It remains the standard treatment for acetaminophen
overdose. Glutathione in Health and Disease
It is believed that glutathione has an important role to play in the
prevention and treatment of disease. It may in the future be
considered as important to health as an alkaline diet, exercise and
alkaline lifestyle. Clinical tests show that raised glutathione levels
may address some of the eight major health issues of our time: 1) Cardiovascular
- Prevents heart disease - Shimizu H, Kiyohara Y, Kitazono T, Kubo
Ibayashi S, Fufishima M, Lida M.
Relationship Between Plasma Glutathione Levels and Cardiovascular
a Defined Population: The Hisyama Study. Stroke. 2004 Sep;
- Prevents stroke - Paterson PG, Juurlink BH.
Nutritional Regulation of Glutathione in Stroke.
Neurtox Res. 1999 Dec; 1(2): 99-112.
- Prevents atherosclerosis - Coppola L, Grassia A, Giunta R.
Improves Hemostatic and Hemorrheological Parameters in
Subject. Drugs Exp. Clin Res 1992
- Reverses artherosclerosis
- Prevents reperfusion injury 2) Cancer
Cancer causing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been found
to alter levels of glutathione compounds in experiments, which may
alter the body's resistance to certain types of cancer.
Glutathione deficiencies have been linked to many forms of cancer.
- Prevents cancerous tissue
- Suppresses tumor growth
- Eliminates carcinogen - acids
- Retards oxidative stress
- Prevents wasting disease
- Eases side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy 3) Pulmonary
Glutathione is the most efficient free radical (acid) scavenger in the
airways, and dozens of studies have confirmed that free radical
(acid) damage is a primary player in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary
Disease. Rahman I, MacNee W. Oxidative Stress and Regulation of
Glutathione in Lung Inflammation. Eur Respir J. 2000 Sep;
- Breaks up mucus - Rahman I, MacNee W.
Oxidative Stress and Regulation of Glutathione in Lung
Respir J. 2000 Sep;
- Cystic fibrosis - Glutathione neutralized harmful oxidants
introduced into the lungs or those released by cells. Exotoxins from
bacteria can overload the endobronchial terrain and feed the fires of
acidic inflammation. This staggering burden increases the oxidative
sensitivity of the CF lung, resulting in further injury of lung
parenchyma. Data supports evidence of a decrease in the
anitoxidant tri-peptide glutathione (Roum JH, Buhl R, McElvaney
NG, et al.
Systemic Deficiency of Glutathione in Systic Fibrosis. J Appl Physiol
- Chronic bronchitis
- Emphysema - Lamson, David, MD, Grignall, Matthew, ND. The
Nebulized Glutathione in the Treatment of Emphysema: A Case
Med Review. 5(5);429-431, 2000 Oct.
- Pulmonary fibrosis - Ishii T, Fujishiro M, Nakajima J, Teramoto S,
Y, Matsuse T. Depletion of Glutathion S-Transferase P1 Induces
Huamn Lung Fibroblasts. Exp Lung Res. 29(7);523-36, 2003 Oct-
Nov. 4) Aging
Glutathione is critically important to our brain as it is one of the
most important brain antioxidants. Glutathione helps preserve brain
tissue by preventing damage from free radicals (acids).
In addition to quenching dangerous acids, glutathione also acts to
recycle vitamin E which also has the ability to reduce acidity in the
brain. (Perlmutter D., BrainRecovery.com July 2004, 5th ed:13)
- Autism - Medical literature documents that an out-fection can lead
to a lowering of glutathione which participates in detoxification,
interacts with metallothioneins, and supports many crucial aspects
of immunity. A link between glutathione and autism regression
may derive from the fact that transient or chronic intestinal
problems can impair an infant's or toddler's nutritional status,
thereby minimizing the levels of amino-acids required for the
production of glutathione (McCandless, J. Children With Starving
Brains. 2003, 2nd ed; 252)
- Parkinson's Disease - Glutathione helps to preserve brain tissue by
preventing damage from free radicals (acids) and destructive
chemicals formed by the normal processes of metabolism, toxic
elements in the environment, and as a normal response of the body
to challenges by acidic agents or other stresses. With the
understanding that glutathione is important for brain protection and
that this protection many be lacking in the brains of Parkinson's
clients due to glutathione deficiency, it can be seen as very
(Di Monte DA, Cahn P, Sandy MS. Glutathione in Parkinson's Disease: A Link Between Oxidative Stress and Mitochondrial Damage? An Neurol. 32 Suppl; S111-115, 1992.) - Alzheimer's Dis-ease - Woltjer, R.L., Hgheim W., Maezawa I., Vaisar T, Montine K.S., Montine T.J., Role of Glutathione in Intracellular Amyloid-Alpha Recursor Protein/Carboxy- Terminal Fragment Aggregation and Associated Cytotoxicity. J Neurochem. 2005 May; 93 (4): 1047-56. - Huntington's DisEase - Choo Y.S., Mao Z, Johnson GV, Lesort M. Increased Glutathione Levels In Cortical Striatal Mitochondria of the R6/2 Huntington's Disease Mouse Model. Neuroscience Letter. 2005 Sep 23; 386(1): 63-8. - Multiple Sclerosis - Calabrese V, Scapaginini G, Ravagna A, Bella R, Butterfield DA, Calvani M, Pennisi G, Giuffrida Stella AM. Disruption of Thiol Homeostasis and Nitrostative Stress in the Cerebrospinal Fluid of Patients with Active Multiple Sclerosis: Evidence for a Protective Role of Acetylcarnitine. 2003 Sep; 28(9): 1321-8. Mann CL, Davies MB, Aldersea J, Fryer AA, Jones PK, Ko Ko C, Young C, Strange RC, Hawkins CP. Glutathione S-Transferase Polymorphisms in MS: Their Relationship to Disability. Neurology. 2000 Feb 8;54(3):542-7. - ALS - Tohgi H, Abe T, Yamazaki K, Murata T, Ishizake E, Isobe C. Increase in Oxidized Products and Reduction in Oxidized Glutathione in Cerborospinal Fluid From Patients with Sporadic Form of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Neurosci Lett. 1999 Feb 5; 260(3):204-6. - Cataract formation - Macular degeneration - Cancers of aging - Prostate problems
- Osteoarthritis - Hammarqvist F, Luo JL, cotgreave IA, Andersson
K, Wernerman J. Skeletal Muscle Glutathione is Depleted In
Patients. Crit Care Med. 25(1):78-84 1997 Jan. 5) Digestive
- Inflammatory bowel dis-ease
- Peptic ulcer 6) Toxicology
- Detoxifies certain drug overdoses - Acetaminophen has been
shown to reduce glutathione production, thus paving the way for
enhanced brain destruction by metabolic acids. (Perlmutter D. July
2004, 5th ed:108)
- Detoxifies substances in cigarette smoke and auto exhaust -
Rahman I, MacNee W.
Lung Glutathione and Oxidative Stress: Implications In Cigarette
Smoke-Induced Airway Disease. Am J Physiol. 277(6 Pt 1);1067-
88, 1999 Dec.
- Detoxifies pollutants including heavy metals and pesticides -
Elevated glutathione levels have been shown to protect tissue form
lipid peroxidation created by exposure to certain metals. Consider
infusions of glutathione to relieve the body burden of both
neurotoxins and metal toxicity, including mercury. (Foster, JS.
Kane PC, Speight N. The Detoxx Book. 2002;90)
- Prevents hearing loss from noise pollution
- Detoxifies many well-known carcinogens 7) Immunology
- Anti-viral for AIDS, hepatitis, herpes, etc. - Low glutathione levels
in HIV clients may contribute to their immune deficiency since
glutathione plays an important role in the function of lymphocytes.
Some lymphocytes require adequate levels of glutathione in order
to function normally, and HIV induces oxidative stress that depletes
the cells of glutathione.
Townsend DM, Tew KD, Tapero H.
The Importance of Glutathione in Human Disease. Biomed
Pharmacother. 2003 May-June;57(3-4):145-55. Droge W, Holm E.
Role of Cysteine and Glutathione in HIV Infection and other
Diseases Associated with Muscle Wasting and Immunological
Dysfunction. FASEB J, 11(13):1077-89 1997 Nov.
- Lyme Dis-Ease - Lyme dis-ease is a seriously complex multi-
system acidic inflammatory condition that is triggered by bacterial
exotoxins. Glutathione helps to remove exotoxic and/or mycotoxic
acids by forming a soluble compound with them, which can then be
excreted through the urine or gut. (Can Glutathione Help Lyme
Disease Suffers? Excerpt from: The Glutathione Report: Opitmal
Health with the Master Antioxidant, Issue 4, Volume 1, May 2004).
- Natural antibiotic
- Chronic fatigue syndrome - An article in the journal of Medical
Hypothesis proposed that glutathione, an anitoxidant essential for
lymphocyte function, may be depleted in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
patients. Glutathione is needed for both the immune system and
for aerobic muscular contraction. The authors proposed that
glutathione depletion by an activated immune system also causes
the muscular fatigue and myalgia associated with Chronic Fatigue
Syndrome (Bounous et al. 1999). 8) Metabolic
- Athletic enhancement
- Decreases recovery time from physical stress
- Supports hemoglobin in kidney failure
- Diabetes - The blood and tissues of diabetics are marked by
critically low glutathione levels. Glutathione depletion may have
adverse consequences in diabetic clients independent of glycemic
control, and it may weaken the defense against oxidative stress. De
Mattia G, Bravi MC, Laurenti O, Cassone-Faldetta M, Armiento A,
Ferri C, Falsano F. Influence of Reduced Glutathione Infusion on
Glucose Metabolism in Patients with Non-insulin Dependent
Diabetes Mellitus. Metabolism. 1998 Aug;47(8):433-8.
Glutathione provides the body with tools to fight off these threats
naturally. Healthy people also benefit from elevated glutathione
levels through an enhanced ability to fight off acidic toxins, dis-
ease, pre-cancerous cells and the aging process itself. Diminished
glutathione levels are a symptom of aging and are particularly
evident in such aliments as Parkinson's dis-ease and Alzheimer's
Glutathione is also important to physically active people. Many
world-class athletes are discovering that well-maintained
glutathione levels gives them the edge over their competitors,
bringing greater strength and endurance, decreased recovery time
from injury, less muscle pain and fatigue, and muscle-promoting
activity. Putting It All Together
1) Medical science is still ascertaining all the critical roles played by
glutathione in dis-ease resistance and general good health. Clinical
evidence links low glutathione levels to the most common illnesses
of our time as well as newly emerging dis-eases.
2) As an essential aid to health, glutathione works as the master
antioxidant in our body, optimizes the white blood cells and
detoxifies a long list of pollutants and carcinogens or acids. The best
way to raise glutathione levels is by eating foods that are high in
glutathione such as avocados.
3) Pharmaceutical medicine has created drugs that do this very
effectively. They have their uses in critical situations. But they also
have side effects and repeated use is clearly inadvisable.
It is well known that aging is accompanied by a preciptous fall in
gluathione levels. Lower glutathione levels are implicated in many
dis-eases associated with aging including cataracts, Alzheimer's,
Parkinson's atherosclerosis and others.
Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 47:1021-26, 1994. Antioxidant Functions
Antioxidants are well documented and known to play vital roles in
health maintenance and dis-ease prevention. Glutathione is your
cell's own major antioxidant. Maintaining elevated glutathione
levels aids the body's natural antioxidant function.
Biochemical Pahrmacology 47: 2114-2123, 1994.
Low glutathione levels have been associated with nuero-
degenerative dis-eases such as MS (Multiple Sclerosis), ALS (Lou
Gehrig's Dis-ease), Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. The Lancet 344:
Glutathione plays a role in eliminating many carcinogens/acids and
also maintains and optimizes white blood cell function while
providing stronger anti-acidic/anti-tumor defenses.
Cancer Letters 57: 91-94, 1991. Athletic Performance
Raised glutathione levels help increase strength and endurance.
Those interested in physical fitness can benefit from a definite
Journal of Applied Physiology 87: 1381-1385, 1999.
Toxins, Pollution and Radiation
Glutathione detoxifies a variety of pollutants, carcinogens and
poisons including many found in fuel exhaust and cigarette smoke.
It also retards damage from radiation exposure due to the eroding
Annual Reviews of Biochemistry 52: 711-760, 1983 AIDS
Glutathione levels correspond to poor survival of AIDS patients.
Much documentation demonstrates the role of enhanced glutathione
levels in AIDS.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA 94: 1967-72,
1997. Heart Dis-Ease, Stroke and Cholesterol
Raised glutathione levels fight the oxdiation of fats circulating in the
bloodstream including cholesterol, retarding the process of plaque
formation in the arteries leading to most heart attacks and strokes.
Nutrition Reviews 54: 1-30, 1996.
Diabetics are more prone to 'out-fections' and circulatory problems
leading to heart dis-ease, kidney failure and blindness. Glutathione
protects against the complications of diabetes.
Clinical Science 91:575-582, 1996 Lung Disease
Doctors have used glutathione-promoting drugs to treat many lung
diseases including asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphasema.
New and potentially therapeutic roles can be found for cigarette
smoke damage, pulmonary fibrosis and other illnesses.
American Journal of Medical Science 307:119-127,
1994 Digestive Disorders
Glutathione protects the body from inflammation of gastritis,
stomach ulcers, pancreatitis and inflammatory bowel dis-ease
including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's dis-ease.
Gut 42: 485-492, 1998 Hepatitis
The liver is a major storehouse for glutathione. Glutathione is
impaired in alcohol hepatitis as well as in viral (acidic) hepatitis
including hepatitis A, B, and C. Raisied glutathione levels help
restore liver function. Americal Journal of gastroenterology 91:
2569-2573, 1996 Kidney Dis-Ease
Those with kidney failure or on dialysis suffer from high levels of
oxidative (acidic) stress and decreased glutathione levels. Raised
glutathione levels help prevent anemia.
Nephron 61: 404-408, 1992
Pregnancy, Lactation and Childbirth
Glutathione's role in fetal and placental develoment is critical. It
also acts in the placenta to detoxify pollutants before they can
reach the developing child. Many complications of pregnancy have
been linked with poor glutathione levels.
Early Human Development 37: 167-174, 1994
Genetic diversity in Australian canola and implications for future breeding Wallace A. Cowling School of Plant Biology, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, AUSTRALIA Email: Abstract Australian canola breeders have made excellent progress in developing blackleg resistant and high quality canola varieties in approximately 5 breeding cycles fro
Experimental and clinical results with Avemar (a dried extract from fermented weath germ) in animal cancermodels and in cancer patientsMICHELE NICHELATTI, M.D., MÁTÉ HIDVÉGI, M.D. Avemar Research Group, Limbiate (MI), Italy and Biromedicina Co., BudapestINTRODUCTION Relationships between food and health todayand some nonnutrient substances like echinacea, saw palmetto,must be studied by tak