Glutathione, the mighty antioxidant 

Glutathione is necessary during the aging process 

Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant manufactured within the body’s cells and is found in either reduced glutathione (GSH) or oxidized glutathione (GSSG) forms. Structurally it is made up of 3 amino acids: cysteine, glutamine and glycine. It is found in various foods, but the problem is that during the cooking and pasteurization process the glutathione levels decline. 

Glutathione has great value in the aging process because its levels influence mitochondrial function effecting energy production (Sekhar R et al, 2018). Scientific investigation has shown that dysfunction of mitochondrial fat oxidation could limit lifespan (Sekhar R et al, 2018). 

Glutathione’s antioxidant system is strong against problem cells that have higher than normal reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels (Lv H et al, 2019). These cells need a greater defense system against free radicals, which glutathione provides. 

Glutathione levels decrease with age, but also because of a poor diet, stress and toxins from the environment. 

Glutathione known benefits: 

  • Has strong antioxidant properties to quench free radicals and operates in the detoxification of the body (Honda Y et al, 2017) 
  • Helps support the liver, in turn helps to reduce cellular damage
    The liver’s cells may not function well because of lack of antioxidants. 
    Glutathione helps improve blood levels of bilirubin, protein and enzymes. Oral administration of glutathione has been shown to benefit the liver (Honda Y et al, 2017). 
  • Supports aging skin and also has been shown to help prevent scaly, itchy dryness, which effects the immune system.
    A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel, study with 3 different arms was done that used glutathione and also an oxidized form (Weschawalit S et al, 2017). The study showed that both forms improved the condition of aging skin.

Whey protein has been shown to increase glutathione levels. A pilot study was performed with whey protein demonstrating that it helped with scaly, itchy dry scalps (Prussick R et al, 2013). More research needs to be performed to determine dose and benefits. 

  • Supports blood sugar levels 
  • Aids the gastrointestinal system 

Research shows that the deficiency of glutathione during the aging process may be reversed by consuming the supplement N-acetylcysteine (NAC). An animal study demonstrated that by supplementing with NAC significantly improved glutathione levels and its effect on mitochondrial fat oxidation and oxidative stress (Sekhar R et al, 2018). 

In addition, NAC has been used for the respiratory tract to help improve glutathione levels and help to normalize mucus levels and support the inflammatory response. 

The flavonoids, fisetin and quercetin have also been shown to maintain glutathione levels when increased cellular oxidative stress occurs (Maher P, 2017). Fisetin is known to promote longevity and help destroy senescent damaging cells that secrete inflammatory chemicals that harm the body (Yousefzadeh MJ et al, 2018). 

In summary, glutathione is a powerful antioxidant made in the body and necessary to help longevity helping preserve mitochondrial function. It is also available as a supplement. Besides antioxidant protection it has been shown to have multiple benefits including support to the liver, the skin, the respiratory tract and has other properties. Whey protein, NAC, flavonoids such as fisetin and quercetin have all been shown to increase glutathione levels in the body. 

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. It is not for advertising purposes. 

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