Saturday, May 17, 2014

Glutathione - Redox To Detox

Glutathione has been hailed the mother of all antioxidants. 

The more we learn about this powerhouse the more we realize how life sustaining it is. Glutathione is a simple tripeptide made from the amino acids glycine, glutamate and cysteine. Glutathione is the most abundant and important intracellular antioxidant that helps support health aging by supporting crucial detoxifying process. Glutathione’s major ‘duty’ is to help cells rid themselves of toxins and other intracellular debris that are associated with chronic disease such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Autism. Glutathione is sticky and grabs on to toxins and helps escort them out of the body.

Glutathione: What Does It Do

Under optimal conditions, glutathione recycles antioxidants (chemicals that block the activity of other chemicals known as free radicals that may seriously damage cells). Glutathione also helps support tissue building and repair and plays a huge role in supporting and maintaining a functional immune system. Healthy levels of glutathione help us sustain optimal physical and mental function by controlling dangerous inflammatory processes that lead to chronic disease. Of note, research has shown that glutathione may be helpful in reducing the side effects of several chemotherapeutic medications.

Glutathione: Where Is It Made

In healthy tissue, glutathione is produced in every single cell and is concentrated in the liver. It is found in abundance in the retina and other ocular tissues.

Glutathione: Redox to Detox

Every living cell participates in the metabolic process known as “redox” (reduction-oxidation). Redox reactions are chemical reactions where atoms oxidative states change due to a transfer of electrons (redox = gaining electrons; oxidation = loss of electrons) between species (atoms and other molecules). Species in this context may sound like the next “Cosmic Thriller” and in one way it is because this transfer of energy makes life as we know it possible! A good example of redox signaling involves glutathione peroxidase, which plays a crucial role in oxidative signaling, protecting the cell against the threatening effects of extreme oxidation.

Glutathione: When Levels Drop

Low levels of glutathione are associated with cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, arthritis, cancer and autism. Research has shown that depleted levels of glutathione correlate with reduced levels of dopamine, the neurotransmitter which may contribute to the neurodegenerative and  cognitive changes observed in Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's.

Glutathione: Why Levels Drop

A poor diet, chronic illness, certain medications, stress, infections and radiation can deplete glutathione stores. Repeated exposure to toxic elements (mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, manganese, iron) can also deplete glutathione levels because the body cannot keep up with the toxic overload. Remember, glutathione grabs onto toxins and escorts them out of the body. When glutathione levels are depleted, the body becomes overwhelmed with toxins and the immune system loses a healthy grip on our health. So begins a dangerous cycle spinning out of control towards a myriad of chronic diseases.

Glutathione: What's Your Level

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High Blood Glutathione Levels Accompany Excellent Physical and Mental Health in Women Ages 60 to 103 Years.

Effect of Zinc Deficiency on Blood Glutathione Levels

Glutathione Redox State Regulates Mitochondrial Reactive Oxygen Production

Mitochondrial Redox Signalling at a Glance

The Effects of Redox Controls Mediated by Glutathione Peroxidases on Root Architecture in Arabidopsis thaliana

Glutathione, Oxidative Stress and Neurodegeneration

Statistical Evaluation of Preventive Use of Glutathione Against Side-Effects of Surgical Adjuvant Chemotherapy in Gastric Cancer Patients

Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention (National Institutes of Health)

Glutathione: In Sickness and in Health