Mother of all antioxidants
The Master Detoxifier and
Maestro of the Immune System
Why your body needs a regular supply of this critical substance?
against oxidative stress
Produced naturallyby every cell of your body
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione is a very simple molecule that is produced
naturally all the time in your liver. It is a combination of
three simple building blocks of protein or amino acids -cysteine, glycine and glutamine.
It contains –SH group that acts like flypaper and all the
bad things in the body stick onto it, including free radicals
and toxins like mercury and other heavy metals.
Poor diet, pollution; toxins, medications, stress, trauma, aging, infections and radiation all deplete your glutathione.
This leaves you susceptible to unrestrained cell disintegration from oxidative stress, free radicals, infections and
cancer. And your liver gets overloaded and damaged, making it unable to do its job of detoxification.
Glutathione production in the body begins to slow down after around 25 years of age. Depleted level of glutathione
creates a condition where the body has to decide whether to use it for supporting immune system or for muscular
system or for any other function.
IN THE LIVER
Glutathione Precursors Supplementation
For a cell to be able to manufacture Glutathione these three
GSH precursors - glutamine, glycine and cysteine - absolutely
must be in a form that can be transported from the mouth,
through the digestive system, into the blood and finally through
the cell wall where they are combined into Glutathione.
Glutamate and glycine are readily available in most Western
diets; cysteine, however, is a limiting factor of GSH production.
One reason cysteine is a limiting factor for GSH is that cysteine
does not survive the trip to the cell through the digestive system
very well. Most cysteine is broken down or altered somewhere
along the long trip from the mouth to the cell. That is why it is
important to consume cysteine in a form that resists alteration
and is strong enough not to be broken down in the digestive
Supplement containing glutathione precursors is better than
glutathione itself if it is to be taken orally.
Glycine is produced in the body from the amino acids
serine and threonine. Glycine is found to be useful in
assisting with the absorption of calcium in the body and the
manufacturing of hormones responsible for a strong
Glycine is also an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central
nervous system (especially in the spinal cord, brainstem,
and retina of an eye), which makes it important to help
prevent epileptic seizures.
Glycine helps in slowing down the degeneration of muscles
since it helps to supply extra creatine in the body.
Glutamate is a key molecule in cell metabolism and it acts
as a neurotransmitter in the brain.
It also acts as a substrate for DNA synthesis.
Apart from these two roles, glutamine also serves as a
source of fuel for enterocytes, which are cells that line the
inside of the small intenstine, acting as the precursor for
multiplying immune cells, as well as helps to promote a
healthy immune systems.
It is an easy way to deliver an amino acid -- same as the
stuff you eat every day, in protein -- called cysteine, which
otherwise does not easily reach brain cells. Cysteine has two
potential ways of working. In some research studies, it was
used for one reason but may have actually worked through
Overall Functions of the Glutathione Precursors
Restores and increases muscle mass
Decreases body fat
Increases energy and stamina
Lowers high cholesterol profile
Promotes mental ability while enhancing
Elevates mood and improves sleep
Normalizes blood pressure
Increases cardiac output and stamina
Improves immune function
Decreases sugar cravings and the desire for
Helps maintain a healthy digestive tract
Helps to build and maintain muscle
Helps to maintain proper pH (acid/alkaline)
Who can benefit?
This simple molecule has been studied and shown to be better than a placebo for the treatment of
compulsive hair-pulling ("trichotillomania") and obsessive compulsive disorder
addictive behaviors: cocaine craving; gambling; marijuana use; and cigarette smoking (decrease
use but not craving)
and preliminary evidence (not studied yet against placebo, or in humans) for the following:
reversing the brain changes induced by cocaine (in rats, anyway)
Other health claims
Some other possible benefits less relevant to mental health: NAC has been claimed or shown to lower the
rates of viral infections, treat fluid in the ear, lower heart disease risk by lowering homocysteine, improve
insulin sensitivity, decrease infections in lung diseases, and help prevent kidney stones. (references, such as
they exist for these claims). Data from rats suggest NAC could prevent the decrease in kidney function
sometimes caused by lithium.
Glutathione Precursors Supplementation
Cysteine is an important ingredient, the limiting one in fact, for the creation of glutathione. Glutathione is an
"anti-oxidant", one of the primary ones. These molecules clean up chemical debris in cells, to oversimplify quite
a bit. Research suggests that people with depression have too little glutathione. Using NAC is really just a way
to try to raise the glutathione levels.
Glutathione (GSH, L-gamma-glutamyl-L-cysteinylglycine) is the predominant anti-oxidant in the cytoplasm of
cells. Virtually all cells require glutathione for viability and function. Glutathione is synthesized from three
amino acids in a two-step process, beginning with the combination of glutamic acid & cysteine and ending with
the addition of glycine. The liver & lungs are the primary sites of glutathione synthesis. Glycine & glutamic acid
are plentiful in cells, so it is the availability of cysteine that controls the reaction rate.
Another amino acid, glutamate, acts as a neurotransmitter (serotonin is another neurotransmitter you are
probably more familiar with). Too much glutamate activity is not good, and that may be part of the problem in
mood and anxiety disorders. Well, it turns out that cysteine can lower the amount of glutamate stimulation
getting through to some neurons. It does so through a close relationship with glutamate, in in which it affects
the balance between the two amino acids in brain neurons (I know, that was really vague. But this "cotransport" story is even more complicated, and I cannot really explain it well, yet). Changing cysteine levels
can change this cysteine/glutamate balance -- to the good, it appears, for people with mood and anxiety
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