The Importance of Glutathione and Oral Glutathione Supplement

As the natural course of life continues, millions of biochemical events occur in our body. Some molecules harmful to the body can also be formed during these chemical reactions. These toxic substances, which occur especially during the use of oxygen for respiration, are called oxidative or oxidant substances. Oxidative substances can cause damage to all cells, as they can disrupt their structures by interacting with almost every biochemical molecule in the body. This situation can lead to the occurrence of various ailments from cancer to diabetes, from arthritis to heart diseases. In addition, oxidative substances are also responsible for a significant part of the aging effects that occur in the body.

We need to fight against these oxidant molecules for our health. Our body can produce some antioxidant substances to protect itself, and the antioxidant substances we take with food help us in this war. In this context, one of the most powerful antioxidant substances produced in our body is glutathione molecule.

What is Glutathione?

Glutathione is a peptide molecule consisting of three amino acids, produced mainly by liver cells. Since it contains glycine, cysteine and glutamate amino acids in its structure, it ends its harmful effects by binding oxidative molecules in its environment, especially thanks to the sulfur bonds in the cysteine amino acid. In addition, glutathione is used by the body to bind and excrete other toxic substances that may be harmful. In this sense, it is indispensable for antioxidant effect in cells exposed to high oxidative stress caused by oxidant molecules such as liver, red blood cells and neurons.

Why is glutathione important?

Oxidative substances, called reactive oxygen radicals, are widely produced in a wide variety of chemical reactions, especially biochemical events associated with respiration, in which oxygen is actively used in the body. In cases where these substances cannot be controlled with antioxidant molecules, various diseases occur. These include:

  • Cancer: Oxidative substances can initiate the development of cancer cells by disrupting the genetic structure of the cells. Therefore, oxygen radicals play an important role in cancer development.
  • Diabetes: As a result of damage to beta cells in the pancreas by oxidative substances, insulin production may be impaired and diabetes may develop.
  • Heart diseases: Following the blockage of the heart vessels by clot, the amount of oxidative substance in the tissues increases rapidly and the heart muscle cells are damaged. As a result, serious heart diseases such as myocardial infarction (heart attack) may develop.
  • Fatty liver (Steatorrhoeic hepatosis) : The liver is one of the organs that play an important role in removing oxidative substances from the body. For this reason, liver cells may be damaged and leave their place to fat and fibrotic tissues because they are exposed to intense oxidative substances. As a result, fatty liver and long-term cirrhosis develop.
  • Autoimmune diseases: Oxidative substances produced by immune system cells play an important role in autoimmune diseases such as joint rheumatism, which can be characterized as the immune system attacking the body.
  • Infections: The body's immune system cells produce oxidative substances while fighting various infections and can cause damage to surrounding tissues.
  • Dermatologic disorders (Skin diseases): Oxidative substances are effective in the development of various skin diseases such as acne, psoriasis, eczema. In addition, as oxidative substances accumulate in the cells with aging and the amount of antioxidant substances decreases, the cells are damaged. As a result, skin deterioration occurs due to aging.

In the light of all these reasons, it is very important to increase the amount of powerful antioxidant substances such as glutathione in the body, to protect from these ailments and to lead a healthy life.

When glutathione is kept at high levels in the body, cell damage caused by oxidative stress is largely prevented. In this way, the occurrence of diseases that will seriously affect life is prevented. In this sense, glutathione has the following positive effects:

Anti-cancer effect: Oxidative substances have an important role in the occurrence of cancer disease. Therefore, taking antioxidant substances such as glutathione is very effective in preventing cancer formation. (1)

Improvement in peripheral vascular diseases: It has been reported that the use of glutathione provides a decrease in symptoms by relieving the vascular passage, especially in peripheral vascular diseases caused by the narrowing of the arteries in the thighs and legs due to clot formation. (2nd)

Anti-insulin resistance effect: Studies have found an inverse relationship between fat breakdown and glutathione levels in the body, and observed that as glutathione levels decrease, fat storage, hence insulin resistance, increases. In this sense, increasing the amount of glutathione is protective against diabetes by reducing insulin resistance. (3)

Anti-aging effect: Scientific studies have shown that oral glutathione supplements reduce negative effects such as wrinkles on the skin with aging and increase the healthy properties of the skin. (4)

Fatty liver (Steatorrhoeic hepatosis): Since the liver is our main organ fighting against oxidative substances, it is also exposed to intense oxidative stress and is exposed to fatty and long-term development of cirrhosis. Oral glutathione use has been shown to prevent fatty liver by reducing oxidative stress. (5)

Decrease in Parkinson's symptoms: In Parkison's disease, limited body movements and tremors are observed as a result of damage to neurons in certain areas of the brain. Studies have shown that glutathione intake leads to a significant reduction in these symptoms in Parkinson's. (6)

Fighting autoimmune diseases: Intense oxidative stress occurs in autoimmune-based diseases such as joint rheumatism or lupus. It has been shown that glutathione supplementation may be beneficial in autoimmune diseases by limiting this effect. (7)

Skin diseases (Dermatologic disorders) such as psoriasis: Research has shown that increasing the level of glutathione in the blood leads to a decrease in the symptoms of skin diseases such as psoriasis. (8)

How to supplement the body with glutathione?

Glutathione is a molecule that is naturally synthesized in the body. However, under various conditions, the amount of glutathione produced in the body may decrease. These include:

  • Malnutrition
  • Presence of chronic diseases such as kidney and heart diseases,
  • diabetes 
  • Infections in the body
  • Stressful lifestyle
  • Insufficient and poor quality sleep
  • Old age

In addition to these, it is very important to supplement glutathione in healthy individuals to prevent various diseases in the body. In this way, our body can deal with oxidative substances more effectively.

Glutathione supplements are administered by healthcare professionals in two different ways, orally in capsule form or directly into a vein. Another parameter that determines the effectiveness of the supplement is the glutathione dose given. In this sense, giving glutathione to the body with an appropriate dose and method is very important in terms of benefiting from the health effects of glutathione.

Glutathione given intravenously is an invasive option, although it works faster. It requires it to be applied with special equipment by healthcare professionals and it creates a risk for various diseases such as infection as it disrupts the skin and vascular integrity of the body.

Oral ingestion of glutathione in capsule form enables each individual to individually supplement glutathione without being invasive. If used appropriately, glutathione can be delivered into the body in such an effective and sufficient amount as its intravenous form.

Is oral glutathione effective enough?

There are various studies showing that oral glutathione intake is as effective as intravenous intake. In this sense, it will be useful to pay attention to the following situations in order to benefit from glutathione supplementation at maximum efficiency and effectiveness:

The absorption of oral glutathione is significantly reduced when taken with different nutrients. Therefore, its use on an empty stomach is important to increase its absorption (9), (10).

The amount of glutathione is closely related to the presence of other substances in the body. Supplementing other substances with antioxidant properties such as glutathione together with glutathione is necessary to obtain maximum  efficiency from glutathione. One of these substances is vitamin C. Vitamin C limits its oxidant properties by binding oxidative substances. In this way, it keeps the amount of glutathione in the blood high.

Likewise, the intake of selenium, which has high antioxidant properties, positively affects the yield from glutathione. Consumption of selenium-containing foods or selenium supplements significantly increases glutathione intake.

The cysteine amino acid is another ingredient to consider in supplements. The cysteine amino acid, which increases glutathione intake thanks to its antioxidant properties, also contributes to the amount of glutathione in the blood by increasing glutathione production since it is in the glutathione structure.

Scientific studies have shown that oral intake of glutathione at an appropriate dose is as effective as intravenous administration. (4), (5) In this sense, studies have shown that oral intake of 250-300 mg of glutathione per day is effective and sufficient.

In light of all this, you can live a healthy life by preventing various ailments before they even occur by supplementing your body with glutathione correctly. Wishing you happy and healthy days ...

References

(1) https://www.healthline.com/health/glutathione-benefits#glutathione-benefits

(2) http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(11)62019-3/abstract

(3) https://www.bcm.edu/news/geriatrics/glutathione-deficiency-fat-insulin-aging

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5413479/

(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28789631

(6) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26230671/

(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19393193

(8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24155989

(9) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20524875/

(10) https://www.healthyhabitsliving.com/blogs/be-healthy/yes-lipoceutical-glutathione

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