A.I.D.E.: Glutathione & Inflammation

Quench Inflammatory Fires

Keeping Toxins AwayGlutathione levels are deficient in all serious illnesses. Glutathione (GSH) is so protective of our well-being that every human cell can synthesize it from three amino acids (L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid and glycine). GSH’s most important functions are commonly remembered with the acronym  “AIDE”:

  • Antioxidant – GSH reduces oxidative stress in every body cell. It recycles antioxidant vitamins C and E and supports their function.
  • Inflammation reducer – GSH regulates immune function in multiple ways.
  • Detoxifier – GSH binds directly to toxins, preparing them for elimination. For example, glutathione can bind to heavy metals like mercury, organic and inorganic cancer-causing agents and mold toxins.
  • Energizer –  High energy levels require a healthy heart. Because of its relentless beating, heart cells are prone to oxidative stress and need extra help. GSH provides the antioxidants to reduce the stress. GSH also aides DNA production and repair and scavenges and metabolizes cholesterol. There are strong correlations between low glutathione levels, atherosclerosis, and heart attack recurrence.

High energy also requires optimal brain function, orchestrated by neurotransmitters. With insufficient levels of the soothing brain chemical serotonin* and too few antioxidants to quell inflammation, the brain may protect itself from overstimulation by reducing the excitatory, “feel good”  brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. Low levels of these energizing brain compounds partially define aging and diseases like chronic fatigue syndrome.

Chronic Disease & Glutathione

Aging and some diseases create an inability to produce glutathione  efficiently. Poorly controlled diabetics have runaway oxidation and are unable to form glutathione well.

Those with Parkinson’s disease are poor detoxifiers and often have low GSH levels in the liver and the dopamine-producing regions of the brain. They are particularly susceptible to pesticide exposure and respond well to GSH-boosting.

Oxidative stress is a major driver of HIV/AIDS progression. Pro-inflammatory compounds (particularly TNF) help activate the virus. Maintaining high GSH levels is therefore critical for those with HIV/AIDS.

Additionally those with asthma, hepatitis, cancers, Alzheimer’s,  respiratory diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,  asthma, malnutrition, and physical stress often experience sub-optimal level glutathione levels.

A toxic metabolite of acetaminophen depletes glutathione, so if you frequently pop Tylenol or other aspirin-free painkillers that  contain acetaminophen, you likely need to boost glutathione levels.

As manufacturers decreased mercury levels in vaccines, they significantly multiplied aluminum levels. Aluminum depletes glutathione synthesis in the body. The lack of glutathione amplifies mercury’s toxic effects. If you choose to vaccinate, consider trying to enhance glutathione production.

Boosting Glutathione Levels

Glutathione supplements Glutathione made within body cells is generally more effective than consuming supplemental forms, which are destroyed by digestive processes. However consuming high levels of glutathione precursors does boost cellular glutathione levels. The amino  acid  cysteine is usually the limiting factor in GSH production. Cysteine  is rarely found in foods, but it is available in pea protein, brown rice protein, and whey protein.

Avoid whey protein isolates. Look for whey made from pastured cows,  not those fed grains. Buy from a company that respects its fragility during processing because heat and mechanical stresses release free  cysteine, degrading  its bioavailability. Remember to treat it with  the same respect at home. Do not heat it or slip it into blenderized drinks. Stir or shake gently!

Other excellent sources of the fragile cysteine precursor molecule are Immunocal® and silymarin from milk thistle.

Diabetics need special help because they have difficulty producing GSH even when cysteine is abundant.

For these people liposomal glutathione* may be an answer. The fatty exterior made from the same material as cell membranes allows it to bypass the digestive tract to enter the blood stream. The lipid exterior also protects the water-soluble interior that keeps glutathione in its active state. Maintain good digestive tract flora and a high fiber diet when detoxing or chelating  with  glutathione or any other agent to prevent reabsorption of toxins.

Diabetics should also know that alpha lipoic acid (ALA) re-cycles  glutathione. In fact, it may be the most effective supplement for boosting glutathione levels. Additionally, ALA is another important antioxidant. It reduces inflammation, enhances insulin sensitivity,  chelates heavy metals, and assists in recycling vitamin  C,  E,  and CoQ10.

* Reducing stress gently raises serotonin levels. Exercise, meditation, and reducing the stress of chronic low-grade infections like gum disease, toxins, poor sleep patterns, and poor diet also raise serotonin levels.

* ReadiSorb by Complementary Prescriptions is one example of such a product.


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4 Responses to A.I.D.E.: Glutathione & Inflammation

  1. Carol Vander Stoep July 10, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    Thank you for your comments. I have often seen deep pockets (anything > 3mm) reduce to normal levels of 1-3mm over the years, due to various therapies, and usually it is due to a number of approaches used in combination. Lifestyle changes are primary to healing. I have personally seen ozone gas treatments make remaining bone around teeth become more dense, allowing it to show up on x-rays as apparent regenerated bone. It definitely can happen. I also know many techniques help tissues shrink and/or reattach to teeth, thus decreasing pocket depths. These same factors also transition red, swollen tissues containing leaky thick blood vessels to being tight and pink, nourished with healthy, strong blood vessels. I am pleased you have been able to help yourself so well!
    Taking a high quality glutathione precursor, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a stable form of the amino acid cysteine, helps boost glutathione levels, but can lead to kidney stones if one overdoes it. Pair it with Vitamin C to help avoid its oxidation into the insoluble remnants contributing to kidney stones.

  2. Carol Vander Stoep July 10, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    Good point. Jean’s reason for saying this is that heat, as mentioned above, changes the bioavailability of cysteine and morphs protein molecules. Proteins in diary products from goats are much better tolerated by humans than dairy products derived from cows.

  3. Anita December 5, 2013 at 3:14 am #

    How can we supplement with NAC to obtain health benefits yet avoid the negative side effect of kidney stones?

    • Carol December 5, 2013 at 8:57 am #

      Humm, since stone formation is associated with low antioxidant intake, my best information indicates NAC can help prevent kidney stones, though in rare cases it may cause them. (As some would suggest, when not enough vitamin C is available.) As I say in Mouth Matters, many people take N-AcetylCysteine (NAC) to boost glutathione levels, but it seems less useful to me than those methods I list in the blog and in my book.
      Note: N-acetylcysteine may increase urinary zinc excretion. If you do choose to take NAC, perhaps supplement with zinc and copper. There are many factors involved in kidney stone formation such as dehydration and a high oxalate (think kale and some other green leafies) intake. Make sure to balance calcium intake with magnesium (say in picolate form). Potassium citrate and B-6 also help avoid those prone to kidney stones via imbalances.
      If you are looking for alternatives to a whey product for boosting glutathione, pea or brown rice proteins are also useful, however RediSorb by Complementary Prescriptions (liposomal form) and Immunocal remain my top recommendations.

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