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The Benefits of Glutathione


• Glutathione enables lymphocytes to function properly. Lymphocytes are small white blood cells that are responsible for immune system responses to fight infection and foreign antibodies. By increasing glutathione production you can assist your body in improving and maintaining a healthy immune system.

• Glutathione helps us reach peak mental and physical function. Raised glutathione levels decrease muscle damage, reduce recovery time, increase strength and endurance and shift metabolism from fat production to muscle development.

• Low levels of glutathione lead to inflammation and oxidative stress which results in damage to cell membranes, cellular proteins and DNA. These issues have been linked to many chronic and age related diseases.

Physicians evaluated the health of hundreds of the elderly in these cities and discovered that those with arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease had lower levels of glutathione than those who were disease free. (J Clin Epidemiol 94;47[9]:1021-6.)

Higher glutathione levels were also associated with less illness, higher levels of self-rated health, lower body mass index and lower blood pressure. Physicians also found that those in the oldest age group (80-95) all had high levels of glutathione. This last finding may at first seem somewhat contradictory until you look a little deeper. From this and other similar studies, it appears that the ability to maintain high levels of glutathione is essential for optimal health and survival into the 80′s, 90′s and older. Apparently, high levels of glutathione are also necessary to help us survive severe chronic and infectious diseases. Even though patients suffering from conditions like polio and MDS have lower glutathione levels than healthy subjects, those who are able to survive these diseases somehow manage to maintain higher levels of glutathione than those who succumb to the disease.

Studies at the Louisville School of Medicine have shown that Glutathione possesses a unique ability to slow the aging process. While Glutathione aids in the protection of all cells and membranes, a study at Harvard Medical School found that glutathione is especially able to enhance immune system cells, protecting against damage from radiation and helping to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, x-rays, and alcohol.


Glutathione and DNA Repair


Aging


Your ability to repair damaged DNA is essential in helping to retard the aging process. And glutathione levels play an extremely important role. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the master molecule of all body functions. This complex molecule resides in every cell of your body and provides both the blueprint and the instructions necessary for each cell to replicate and repair itself. It determines the particular build of your body, your height, skin color, hair texture and color, blood type and to which diseases and ailments you are most susceptible. DNA damage is a primary cause of aging.

Studies have shown a direct relationship between the life span of a species and its ability to repair damaged DNA. (Man and elephant have roughly the same life span and ability to repair DNA. Man lives about twice as long as chimpanzees and has twice the ability to repair DNA.)

DNA can be damaged in thousands of ways. This includes everything from breathing polluted air to lying in the sun too long. When a strand of DNA is damaged, researchers believe two things can occur. If glutathione (or possibly another antioxidant) is available, it can attach to the damaged area and the DNA strand can be repaired. If glutathione is not immediately available, then oxygen attaches to the area and the damage will become irreversible. (Biomedicine 81;35[1]:35-7.)

Increasing the levels of glutathione in the body have been shown to both decrease the frequency of DNA breaks and aid in their repair when necessary. Whenever you increase your ability to repair or protect DNA, you are in effect retarding the aging process. Glutathione has the ability to do both.


Glutathione’s Antioxidant Activity


The Brain


Glutathione may be one of the granddaddies of antioxidants, right up there with Microhydrin. Many of the newly discovered substances found to exhibit antioxidant properties actually work by increasing the production of glutathione enzymes. Melatonin is a good example.

Melatonin is a very powerful antioxidant. It has the unique property of being both water- and fat-soluble. Not only can it protect against free radicals that develop in the water-filled interior of your cells, much like vitamin C, it can also protect the fat-containing cell membranes like vitamin E. What many don’t realize, however, is that the effectiveness of melatonin is increased because it also stimulates the production of glutathione peroxidase. Laboratory studies have shown that administering melatonin causes a twofold increase in glutathione peroxidase within the brain in just 30 minutes. (Neurochem International 95;26[5]:497-502.) This would make sense because melatonin induces sleep so the body can repair itself. The test proves proper sleep is very important.

Glutathione peroxidase is considered to be the principle enzyme for controlling free radical damage in the human brain. Dr. Lang, among others, have found that glutathione levels in the brain are highest during the growing years and plateau during maturity, then will decline as much as 30% as we age. This decline could help explain the numerous age-related brain and nervous system diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s that have become so commonplace.

Melatonin isn’t the only newly discovered antioxidant that achieves some of its success by increasing glutathione levels. Pycnogenol (pine bark extract), grape seed and bilberry extracts, and turmeric all elevate glutathione levels


Glutathione’s Anti-Viral Activity


Recent reports in two prestigious medical journals indicate that glutathione is effective at decreasing viral activity, which is particularly important for AIDS patients. Several studies in both Italy and this country have shown that AIDS patients with normal to high levels of glutathione live far longer and experience fewer AIDS-related symptoms than patients with low levels. (JAMA 97;277(8):630) (The Lancet 97;349:781) Glutathione also interferes with the reproduction of the herpes virus, and as such could be a big help in treating herpes problems.

Documented Research of Glutathione in Rats (click here) Showed that when a liver cancer-causing agent was introduced to the animals, IV glutathione administration caused regression of the tumors, resulting in the animals surviving.

Disclaimer:

The information contained in this publication is for educational purposes only, and is in no way a substitute for the advice of a qualified medical doctor, registered dietitian, certified nutritionist, or exercise physiologist. When you ask any health care professional to help you make decisions about your personal healthcare, I recommend that you show them the information you find here because they may not be aware of it and the scientific studies that support it. Appropriate medical therapy and the use of pharmaceutical or nutritional compounds should be tailored for the individual as no two individuals are alike. I do not recommend self-medicating with any compound as you should consult with a qualified medical doctor, preferably one who is knowledgeable about nutrition and complementary/functional medicine who can determine your individual situation. Any use of the information presented in this publication for personal medical therapy is done strictly at your own risk and no responsibility is implied or intended on the part of the contributing writers, or the publisher.


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