Glutathione is perhaps the most important molecule that you need to stay healthy and prevent disease. The body uses glutathione to defuse toxins that we are exposed to. But glutathione has more important functions in the body. In this article we explain what glutathione is, how it works and what it does.
What is glutathione?
Glutathione is a combination of three amino acids: cysteine, glycine and glutamine – and is naturally produced in the body. To stay healthy, improve your performance, prevent disease and age well, it is important to keep glutathione levels high in the body. How can glutathione cause this? Glutathione is known for its anti-aging ability, it protects our cells and allows our energy metabolism to go well. It is crucial for immune function and the fight against inflammation.
In addition, it is the most important detoxifier and the most powerful antioxidant in the body. Glutathione is called “the mother of all antioxidants” or “master antioxidant” by scientists because it can regenerate itself in the liver after catching free radicals and resume work. Free radicals can lead to autoimmune diseases, different types of cancer and even heart attacks and glutathione has the ability to combat this. Through the antioxidant cascade, the body tries to recycle (reduce) spent (oxidized) glutathione.
As mentioned earlier, one of the most important functions of glutathione is detoxification. Glutathione binds to fat-soluble toxins such as heavy metals, solvents, pesticides and makes them water-soluble so that they can be excreted via urine. The liver is the largest glutathione reservoir and also protects the liver function itself.
2. Antioxidant recycling system
Glutathione is crucial for one simple reason: it recycles antioxidants. Glutathione is the most powerful endogenous free radical catcher and is the only antioxidant that constantly regenerates to neutralize free radicals. Glutathione also contributes to the reuse of other antioxidants that have become oxidized, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, alpha-lipoic acid and coenzyme Q10, greatly increasing the capacity of the antioxidant system.
3. Immune modulating
Glutathione strengthens the immune system and is involved in almost all of the body’s own healing and protective measures. Healthy growth and activity of the immune system depends on glutathione. The speed of lymphocyte production upon contact with a pathogen, and also the production of interleukins and antibodies, is partly made possible by the supply of available glutathione. It helps the immune system to prevent and fight infections, cancer, heart disease, dementia and other chronic diseases. It is also important for the treatment of many diseases, autism and Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, asthma, kidney problems, liver disease and more.
4. DNA protecting
Glutathione protects cells and DNA. When the glutathione content is sufficiently present, our cell nuclei and DNA are protected. Glutathione protects all cell activity and ensures optimal functioning of the cells and therefore the health of the body as a whole.
Research has shown that elevated glutathione levels reduce muscle damage, shorten recovery time, increase strength and endurance, and shift metabolism from fat production to muscle development. Studies have also shown that glutathione can be effective in the treatment of fatty liver, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. It is especially effective for people who change to a healthy lifestyle.
In the body there is often a great need for glutathione and it is consumed quickly in times of illness, stress, fatigue and physical exertion. Other factors that affect the body’s reserves of glutathione are (ionizing) radiation, bacterial or viral infections, environmental toxins, smoking, medication use, poor nutrition, (top) sport, chemical pollution and heavy metals, an excess of iron, operations and burns . The production of glutathione also decreases as we age. If the body is no longer able to produce or recycle sufficient amounts of glutathione, glutathione deficiency occurs. This leads to cell damage and the loss of the ability to function optimally, with the result that our energy decreases and the number of inflammations increases. Illness is easier or the aging process is accelerated.
Glutathione exists in three forms: the reduced form (GSH), the oxidized form (GSSG) or as S-Acetyl Glutathione (SAG). Glutathione becomes inactive (oxidized) when it becomes saturated by collecting free radicals, but regenerates itself again into active (reduced) glutathione in a healthy liver. The reduced (active) form therefore has a protective effect, but this GSH form is not properly absorbed when administered orally with food supplements. With the S-Acetyl Glutathione, scientists have now developed the first stable form of glutathione. This active form of glutathione is well absorbed and remains stable in the gastrointestinal tract. S-Acetyl Glutathione is completely absorbed in the blood and is absorbed intact in the cells of the body, where it can unleash its full protective effect. The use of (gastric acid-resistant) vegetable capsules further increases the stability of S-Acetyl Glutathione.