Aug 02, 2021
Everything You Need To Know About Glutathione - The Master Antioxidant
Glutathione (γ-l-glutamyl-l-cysteinyl glycine) is a small, thiol tripeptide formed by three amino acids, cysteine, glycine, and glutamic acid. It’s a ubiquitous compound with a biologically active sulfhydryl group contributed by the cysteine moiety. Glutathione exists in the cells in 2 states, reduced (GSH) and oxidized (GSSG).
In healthy cells, more than 90% of the total glutathione is in the reduced form (GSH). The ratio of GSH and GSSG within cells is a measure of cellular oxidative stress, where an increase in GSSG to GSH ratio is indicative of greater oxidative stress.
In the reduced state, the cysteinyl residue is a source of one reducing equivalent. The oxidized state (GSSG) is converted to the reduced state (GSG) by NADPH. This conversion is catalyzed by glutathione reductase. Oral glutathione supplements are marketed either alone or in combination with vitamin C, alpha-lipoic acid, NAC and other antioxidants.
NATURAL DIETARY SOURCES OF GLUTATHIONE
Tomatoes, avocados, oranges, fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, omega-3 fatty-acid rich foods like fish are some of the most common dietary sources of glutathione.
WHY IS GLUTATHIONE CALLED MASTER ANTIOXIDANT ?
The low molecular weight, a non-protein cellular thiol is ubiquitous, meaning which it is present in every single cell and exhibits its antioxidant activity throughout the body.
It directly neutralizes a wide range of oxidants, including hydroperoxides, superoxide, nitric oxide, carbon radicals, peroxynitrites, and lipid peroxides that damage cell membranes, DNA, energy production, etc. The benefits of glutathione being plentiful on its own, it enhances the performance of other antioxidants, like vitamin C, vitamin E, alpha-lipoic acid, and CoQ10.
This is what makes glutathione so masterful and is rightly termed, ‘master antioxidant’.
IS GLUTATHIONE SUPPLEMENTATION SAFE?
Glutathione is safe for use as a dietary supplement. Its supplementation has very few rare side effects, like bloating or gas. Pregnant or breastfeeding women, those who have asthma, and those on critical medication are advised to seek medical advice before embarking on supplementation.
ZENITH NUTRITION GLUTATHIONE (REDUCED)
Zenith Nutrition Glutathione provides clinically studied, and patented form of glutathione (Setria ®). Each vegetarian capsule provides 250mg of reduced, active form of the molecule. The supplement is manufactured in a GMP-certified facility, it is suitable for men and women. It does not contain sugar, preservatives, corn, soy, gluten, dairy, yeast.
WHAT CAUSES GLUTATHIONE DEFICIENCY?
Environmental factors, lifestyle practices, and aging are the most natural reducer of glutathione levels. Poor diet, chronic stress, certain illnesses, certain medication, smoking, exposure to UV radiation, pollution, excessive alcohol consumption, free radical damage are some of the other causes of glutathione deficiency.
CONSEQUENCES OF GLUTATHIONE DEFICIENCY
Studies have found that higher glutathione levels were associated with higher levels of physical health, and fewer illnesses. However, glutathione deficiency has been strongly associated with loss of function with aging and the onset of diseases.
- Depletion of mitochondrial function
- Allergy, asthma, respiratory distress
- Macular degeneration, cataracts
- Hypertension, cholesterol oxidation
- Cognitive impairment
WHY SUPPLEMENT WITH GLUTATHIONE?
Glutathione supplementation effectively helps increase and maintain optimal levels of the body’s stores of glutathione. Glutathione supplementation in the long run may be an effective means of reducing levels of chronic oxidative stress and its related consequences.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REDUCED GLUTATHIONE (GSH) AND OXIDIZED GLUTATHIONE (GSSG)
Among the 2 interconvertible forms of glutathione, reduced glutathione (GSH) is the active form that repairs oxidative damage, whereas oxidized glutathione (GSSG) is the inactive form, which can be recycled back into active GSH.
SUPERIOR ANTIOXIDANT SUPPORT
Glutathione with its thiol tripeptide group plays a prominent role in maintaining intracellular redox balance. Oxidative stress is a condition in which reactive oxygen species (ROS) concentration is enhanced, disturbing cellular metabolism and its regulation and damaging cellular constituents. As a carrier of an active thiol group in the form of a cysteine residue, glutathione neutralizes a range of oxidants and provides a powerful defense against oxidative stress and inflammation. The master antioxidant prevents free radicals that may cause damage to DNA, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats that are present in cells.
BOOSTS ENERGY PRODUCTION
Mitochondria are the powerhouses of our cells that convert glucose, amino acids, and fats into energy. Protecting mitochondria from free radical damage contributes to lasting health and longevity. Excessive free radical production in the body can damage mitochondria which slow down energy production and lead to decreased bodily function. Glutathione supplement guards mitochondria by binding to free radicals and relieves oxidative stress. Glutathione makes sure that heavy metals, toxins, and free radicals generated during metabolism don’t damage the mitochondria.
CONTRIBUTES TO HEART HEALTH
Possible deficiency in total glutathione content leads to functional and structural abnormalities of cardiac health. Oxidized LDL damages the lining of the blood vessels, forming plaque. Glutathione appears to reduce the risk of heart disease by preventing oxidation of LDL and HDL cholesterol that form plaque in the artery walls, blocking blood flow. Since glutathione is available in the body in finite quantities, during times of large oxidative stress, supplementation with reduced glutathione provides continuous protection from hydrogen peroxides, hydroxyl radical, nitric oxide and superoxide anion thereby lowers the risk of heart disease.
GLUTATHIONE BENEFITS SKIN HEALTHGlutathione supplementation fights free radicals which can cause cell and tissue damage leading to wrinkles, inflammation, acne, hyperpigmentation, decreased elasticity. Glutathione minimizes and prevents dark circles, age spots, scars, results in brighter, clearer skin. Supplementation raises glutathione levels in the body and offers protection to the skin from environmental aggressors and oxidative stress.
GLUTATHIONE REGULATES IMMUNE RESPONSE
There is extensive research conducted on the role of glutathione in immunity, according to which decreased levels of glutathione are associated with increased susceptibility to infection. Aging, stress, poor diet practice, infections, overuse of antibiotics can all deplete the antioxidant. Research shows that active glutathione levels primes natural killer cells and T cells that help fight infections from bacteria, viruses. Glutathione inhibits the production of inflammatory cytokines, it is required to maintain adequate interferon-gamma production by dendritic cells.
GLUTATHIONE IS VITAL FOR DETOXIFICATION
Reduced levels of glutathione in the body may increase the toxic load and oxidative stress. Glutathione plays a chief role in binding to toxins, making them water-soluble so they can get out of the body in urine. Glutathione has the ability to plant itself on toxins, heavy metals, chemicals, and other toxic substances. Glutathione conjugation helps protect the liver and kidneys by eliminating toxins and heavy metals. Supplementation helps meet the increased need for glutathione due to high levels of toxin exposure.
HELPS LIGHTEN HYPERPIGMENTATION & EVENS SKIN TONE
Hyperpigmentation is caused by exposure to UV radiation, resulting in the formation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species between cells. Melanin (skin pigment) consists of blackish-brown eumelanin and reddish-yellow pheomelanin, the ratio of these pigments determines skin tone. Higher pheomelanin will make skin look brighter and lighter-toned while increased eumelanin makes skin darker.
Glutathione helps reduce hyperpigmentation by the following mechanism:
- By reducing melanogenesis by direct inactivation of tyrosinase activity (the key enzyme of melanogenesis by binding with the copper-containing active site of the enzyme).
- By reducing melanogenesis through indirect inactivation of tyrosinase by suppressing free radicals.
- By switching melanogenesis from eumelanin to pheomelanin and modulating depigmenting properties of other melanocytotoxic agents.
GLUTATHIONE SUPPORTS BRAIN FUNCTION
A compromised glutathione level is connected with oxidative stress, while active glutathione levels in the body can ease and decrease oxidative damage to brain cells. Detoxification of reactive oxygen species is an essential task within the brain as excessive free radicals can damage nerve cells in the brain which may lead to poor energy production, fatigue, and memory issues. Supplemental glutathione supports healthy brain function by mitigating the harmful effects of free radicals.