Glutathione - Why It Is So Critical
the many benefits and functions of glutathione in the body
Date: 2/1/2009 10:48:36 AM ( 11 y ) ... viewed 2972 times
Immune Depressed individuals have lower GSH levels when fighting disease. Lymphocytes, cells vital for your immune response, depend on GSH for their proper function and replication. Immunology 61: 503-508 1987. Cellular depletion of Glutathione has been implicated as a causative, or contributory factor in many pathologies including Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, cataracts, arteriosclerosis, cystic fibrosis, malnutrition, aging, AIDS and cancer (Bounous et al., 1991). In addition, Glutathione is essential in supporting the immune system, including natural killer cells (Droege et al., 1997) and in the maintenance of T-lymphocytes (Gutman, 1998).
Glutathione and the Liver
Regarding the safety of glutathione in the liver, it is said that the levels of glutathione in the liver is critically linked to the liver s capacity to detoxify. This means that the higher the glutathione content, the greater the liver s capacity to detoxify harmful chemicals. Typically, when we are exposed to chemicals like alcohol which can damage the liver, the concentration of glutathione in the liver is substantially reduced. This reduction makes the liver susceptible to damage.
GSH plays a role in eliminating many carcinogens as well as maintaining immune function towards providing stronger anti-tumor defenses. Cancer Letters 57: 91-94 1991
Cancer, chemotherapy and radiation therapy all deplete Glutathione. In one study several cancer cells lines including small cell carcinoma (lung), colon carcinoma, neuroblastoma (brain), mammary (breast) carcinoma, and one acute myelocitic leukemia line were tested with either 5FU which is a chemotherapy drug or Glutathione. Apoptosis (programmed cell death) occurred in the Glutathione cells after four applications while those in the 5FU group did not show any apoptosis. This shows that Glutathione helps cancer cells die in a shorter period of time that the chemotherapy drug.
Unfortunately research in cell lines does not always translate into the same action in the human body.
In another study with glutathione ovarian cancer patients were given glutathione with cisplatin, a chemotherapy drug. This study found that more cycles of treatment with cisplatin could be given to the patients because less toxicity occurred. Other side effects of cisplatin including depression, nausea, peripheral neurotoxicity, hair loss and shortness of breath were significantly improved.
In another study with cancer patients glutathione was administered 15 minutes before cisplatin in 51 patients with 229 courses of therapy. No patient developed toxicity and all tolerated the high dose regimen. Kidney toxicity was minimal. The most common side effect was slight nerve damage to the ears. 30 of these patients had ovarian cancer and of these 59% achieved complete remission. 22 of 26 were clear of cancer on a second laparoscopy. This is a high rate of effectiveness as ovarian cancer survival rates are low.
It is known that as we age, there is a precipitous drop in GSH levels. Lower Glutathione levels are implicated in many diseases associated with aging, including Cataracts, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's, arteriosclerosis and others. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 47: 1021-28 1994
Strong muscular activity generates oxyradicals leading to muscle fatigue and poorer performance. GSH neutralizes these radicals. Whey proteins promote muscular development. Sports Medicine 21; 213 - 238, 1996. Recent research indicates that propensities toward many degenerative diseases and aging itself are related to the capacity of the cell to robustly recover from oxidative insult. The capacity of a cell to recover from such insult can be determined by measuring the intracellular stores of Glutathione. (Noelle et al., 1981)
Antioxidants are well documented to play vital roles in health maintenance and disease prevention. GSH is our cell's own major antioxidant. Why not use what is natural? Biochemical Pharmacology 47:2113-2123 1994
Low GSH has been demonstrated in nuerodegenerative diseases such as MS (Multiple Sclerosis), ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's, among others. The Lancel 344: 796-798 1994
Toxins, Pollution, Radiation
GSH detoxifies many pollutants, carcinogens and poisons, including many in fuel exhaust and cigarette smoke. It retards damage from radiation such as seen with loss of the ozone. Annual Review of Biochemistry 52 : 711-780 1983. The liver is the main detoxification organ of the body. In the liver we find very high concentrations of GSH, as it is a major factor in numerous biochemical detoxification pathways. Numerous studies have demonstrated that patients with compromised liver function due to alcohol abuse have significant reduction of GSH in the liver. (Lamestro, 1995)
Low Glutathione levels with poor survival in AIDS patients. Much literature has been written demonstrating the role of enhancing GSH levels in AIDS. Proc. National Acad. Science USA 94: 2967-72 1997
Diabetes is a disease process that depletes glutathione. Glutathione administered IV was found to lower sorbitol levels in the red blood cells of Diabetics. This indicates that glutathione helps diabetics metabolize sugars in a healthier way. Sorbitol is a by product of certain metabolic pathways that can lead to diabetics developing organ damage.
Glutathione administered IV decreased blood pressure in patients who had high blood pressure and diabetes, and patients who just had high blood pressure. It had no blood pressure lowering effect on healthy individuals. This suggests glutathione may help dilate the vessels and restore healthy nitric oxide function.
Glutathione improved insulin secretion from the pancreas in response to increased blood sugar in older patient with impaired glucose tolerance. Because of this effect glutathione may show in the future to help restore normal blood sugar metabolism and prevent progression to DM.
A study was performed in patients who had chronic fatty liver from many different causes including: alcohol and non alcohol related, or HBV, HCV, HDV. This study found that glutathione was reduced in the liver cells of these patients which reduced the cells ability to detoxify the blood. IV administration of glutathione significantly improved hepatic function test during treatment and for several months after it was stopped.
Another study done on rats showed that when glutathione was depleted in their livers the flow of bile was significantly reduced. Without bile flow the liver cannot properly detoxify and the body cannot digest fats. Bile flow was restored when the rats were given IV glutathione.
Studies have shown that Parkinson’s patients have decreased glutathione levels in the substantia nigra region of the brain. The amount of glutathione depletion seems to parallel the severity of the patients symptoms so people with lower levels of glutathione have more severe symptoms. In a study of patients with early Parkinson’s disease who were treated with IV glutathione for 1 month all patients improved significantly with a 42% decline in disability.
These improvements in symptoms lasted for 2-4 months after the IV glutathione was stopped. Glutathione may retard progression of this disease.
In patients with Atherosclerosis IV Glutathione was shown to significantly decrease blood viscosity and significantly increase blood filtration.
Glutathione has been shown to be significantly lower in patients who are older than in patients who are younger. Glutathione levels were significantly lower in diabetics and patients with age related macular degeneration.
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