Health Issues: Glutathione

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By Dr. Michael Miles

Special to the Crier

Glutathione is arguably the best antioxidant our bodies have. Antioxidants protect us against damage from free radicals. Free radicals break up cells. They are responsible for cancer, hardening of the arteries, aging and almost all of our ailments. So, antioxidants are very, very important.

Chemistry: Glutathione is a tri-peptide – meaning that it is a molecule composed of three amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein which, in turn, provides the physical structure of our bodies. There are only 20 amino acids that humans use for the majority of our structures.

Glutathione is a naturally occurring substance in our bodies. We produce it in many places, though most of it is produced in the liver. There are many factors that adversely influence its production including aging, pollution and stress.

Glutathione has many uses in medicine. Besides being probably the strongest antioxidant in the body, it has also shown benefits in treating Parkinson’s Disease and other neurodegenerative processes and has had good effects in treating lung conditions.

Glutathione has a very difficult time being absorbed through the digestive system. It also has a difficult time getting into cells where most of its protective work takes place. Because of its difficulty in getting absorbed orally, other methods of delivery have been used to deliver it where it is needed. For instance, in the treatment of Parkinson’s it has been administered intravenously. With lung conditions it has been added to inhalers (i.e. nebulizers).

These treatments have not seen as much of a reversal of conditions as it has a stabilization of conditions. Glutathione works as a protectant not a regenerator of cells. It is excellent preventive medicine.

Cysteine is the most important of the three amino acids that make up glutathione. It has the sulfur group that is responsible for much of its protective qualities. Cysteine is easily digested and assimilated into the cells. There it combines with glycine and glutamic acid to form glutathione. This is why I recommend supplementing with cysteine. The best type of cysteine to take orally is N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC). Not only does it get into the cells easier, it pulls out toxic metals like lead and mercury from the body. This will also help protect against degenerative processes.

Glutathione is a very important part of our healthy existence. Though it’s not a well known part of our makeup, it is essential to our well being. And, because of its difficult assimilation, it is good to know how to ensure its optimal presence. There is a vast difference from person to person concerning the amount of cysteine that each person has. That is why I recommend cysteine as a supplement to consider as a daily or weekly routine.

Courtney (306 Posts)


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