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ANTIAGING NUTRITION: ANTIOXIDANTS

GLUTATHIONE

 

Glutathione

Glutathione is a small protein composed of three amino acids: cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine. It is a naturally occuring antioxidant, antitoxin, and enzyme cofactor. This means it helps prevent the production of free radicials, cleans the body of toxins and boosts the immune system.

Glutathione is needed to maintain normal function of the immune system. It also plays a role in protecting the lungs against damage from germs and pollutants.

Enzyme systems synthesize it, utilize it, and regenerate it. Glutathione is produced in the liver and is dependent upon the bodys reserves of key source ingredients.

 

Physiology

Glutathione is involved in detoxification. It binds to toxins, such as heavy metals, solvents, and pesticides, and transforms them into a form that can be excreted in urine or bile.

 

Benefits

In preliminary research, dietary glutathione intake from fruit and raw vegetables has been associated with protection against some forms of cancer.

Other benefits of using intravenous or intramuscular glutathione include:

  • preventing clot formation during operations
  • reducing the side effects and increasing the efficacy of chemotherapy drugs (particularly cisplatin in women with ovarian cancer)
  • treating Parkinson’s disease
  • reducing blood pressure in people with diabetes who had high blood pressure
  • increasing sperm counts in men with low sperm counts.
  • A glutathione nasal spray has also reduced symptoms in people with chronic rhinitis

 

Studies

Insufficient studies exist to confirm the dosage, safety, and effectiveness of glutathione.
The effectiveness of oral preparations, the extent to which oral glutathione can be absorbed, are also unknown at this time.
Studies that have been completed include:

  • Seven healthy people were given a single oral application of up to 3,000 mg of glutathione, there was no increase in blood glutathione levels. Further study suggested that absorption of glutathione can occur in the mouth when glutathione tablets are placed between the teeth and the inner cheek.
  • A small study of liver cancer patients using 5,000 mg oral glutathione showed modest benefits in women, but not in men.
  • An unpublished preliminary study of eight colon cancer patients found that oral glutathione appeared to have anticancer activity.


These study results suggest that oral forms are less effective than intravenous or intramuscular forms. Further researchers suggest that supplements other than oral glutathione may be more effective in raising blood levels of glutathione.

In one trial, blood glutathione levels rose nearly 50% in healthy people taking 500 mg of vitamin C per day for only two weeks.

Vitamin C helps the body manufacture glutathione. Other nutritional compounds that may help increase glutathione levels include:

Vitamin B6, riboflavin, and selenium are required in the manufacture of glutathione.

NOTE: The extent to which any of these nutrients effectively increases glutathione levels in humans remains unclear.

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Sources

Dietary glutathione is found in fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, fish, and meat.26 Asparagus, avocado, and walnuts are particularly rich dietary sources of glutathione.

 

Symptoms of Deficiency

A deficiency in glutathione my result in other amino acid deficiencies, leading to: diabetes, low sperm counts, liver disease, cataracts, and HIV infection, respiratory distress syndrome, cancer, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

 

Dosage

There is very little evidence that taking glutathione supplements provides any benefit.
Therapeutic Dosages – for those with a proven glutathione deficiency, glutathione may be administered intravenously, intramuscularly, or by aerosol. Dosage and administration should only be done by a health professional.

 

Side Effects

  • No side effects or interactions are known with oral administration of glutathione.
  • Cigarette smoking is also associated with low glutathione levels because it increases the rate of utilization of glutathione.
  • Certain medicines may interact with glutathione. Refer to drug interactions for a list of those medicines.


IMPORTANT: more work needs to be done to determine the dosage, safety, and effectiveness

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