What is glutathione and why are researchers so excited about the benefits of taking this powerful supplement?
The important role that glutathione plays in many processes throughout the body is what sets this tripeptide apart from other supplements.
Glutathione is found in high molecular concentrations within most cells. Such concentrations are found in other vital components to cell structure like glucose, potassium, and cholesterol.
What Are The Top Benefits Of Taking Glutathione?
The benefits of glutathione are plentiful. New areas of research that are studying the effects of the supplement on other systems within the body are showing promising results.
It’s been noted that possibly the best indication of the importance of glutathione is that its cellular levels are directly and highly associated with health and longevity. Higher levels of glutathione correlated with better health and an increase in lifespan.
Many studies have found that reduced levels of glutathione have been implicated in a large number of degenerative chronic diseases including:
- Pulmonary disease (COPD, asthma, and acute respiratory distress syndrome)
- Neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Friedreich’s ataxia)
- Immune diseases (HIV, autoimmune disease)
- Cardiovascular diseases (hypertension, myocardial infarction, cholesterol oxidation)
- Chronic age-related diseases (cataracts, macular degeneration, hearing impairment, and glaucoma)
- Liver disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Aging process itself
Here are the ways that glutathione has been shown to help combat these chronic and degenerative diseases as well as persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
Glutathione For Immunity
Researchers have found that glutathione is an effective immunity booster. After one week of receiving liposomal glutathione supplements (the most effective oral delivery method for glutathione), patients saw an enhancement in immune function markers and a decrease in oxidative stress biomarkers.
Doctors are even studying how glutathione can be used to treat patients who are diagnosed with pneumonia-related to COVID-19.
Researchers have seen promising results in treating a small sample group of patients with glutathione to disrupt “cytokine storm syndrome” and respiratory distress in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia.
Protection From Oxidative Stress And Free Radicals
Glutathione protects cells from the overproduction of free radicals that lead to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is what causes damage to cells, tissues, and organs. The damage to DNA that is caused by free radicals is thought to promote the growth of cancer cells.
Glutathione helps to combat oxidative stress by directly neutralizing many oxidative chemicals and facilitating the excretion of those chemicals from cells and the body.
The programmed death of cells (apoptosis), is also largely regulated by glutathione levels. Apoptosis is an important function of the immune system and studies show that glutathione plays a potentially pivotal role in signaling molecular activity to initiate apoptosis.
Protection From Mercury
Glutathione For Alcohol Damage
Prolonged and heavy alcohol use causes damage to the liver and has been linked to increased susceptibility to oxidant stress. This susceptibility has been connected to lower levels of glutathione (the free radical fighter).
When lower levels of glutathione are persistent, there is an increased likelihood of developing alcoholic liver disease and increasing the progression of preexisting liver damage.
In one study, patients who were treated with glutathione for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) saw an improvement in their symptoms. They showed an improvement in levels on an alanine aminotransferase or ALT (a blood test that indicates liver damage).
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are pollutants that humans are exposed to in various forms, mostly through the foods that we consume, the air we breathe, and the products that we are in close contact with daily.
The World Health Organization states that “human exposure - for some compounds and scenarios, even to low levels of POPs - can lead, among others, to increased cancer risk, reproductive disorders, alteration of the immune system, neurobehavioural impairment, endocrine disruption, genotoxicity and increased birth defects.”
Glutathione protects cells against damage caused by POPs. Lower levels of glutathione have been linked to higher levels of cellular dysfunction due to long-term exposure to low doses of POPs.
How Glutathione Fights Inflammation
Inflammation has been linked to everything from cancer to heart disease.
Researchers have found that glutathione is not just an inhibitor of inflammation but also a regulator of innate immunity. When glutathione levels are found to be lower, higher incidents of inflammation have corresponded with the decrease.
Studies concluded that not only is glutathione an essential molecule acting as an antioxidant but also as a signaling molecule for processes like apoptosis, autophagy (removal of damaged portions of cells), and other immune system-related functions.
Glutathione For Anti-Aging
Spots caused by UV light were also reduced in the patient cohort who received glutathione as opposed to those who were administered a placebo.
How To Take Glutathione
Glutathione has been found to be absorbed more efficiently when administered through liposomes as opposed to standard oral administration. The absorption rate increases associated with liposomal glutathione can be attributed to the protective qualities that liposomes offer as a drug or supplement delivery method.
Liposomes act as barriers that protect drugs that they encapsulate from damage caused by the GI tract while supplements are en route to the small intestine for absorption. The strong stomach acids that break down food also break down supplements which lead to decreased absorption rates.