Most people have heard of glutathione, even if they may not give it much thought, yet,
glutathione is one of the most important nutritional compounds for human health and longevity.
Glutathione is essential for preventing cancer, heart disease, dementia, premature aging, and
many more diseases. And, glutathione deficiency is found occurring in virtually all seriously ill
people. Fortunately, the body produces its own glutathione. Unfortunately, it is depleted by
aging, infections, medications, pollution, poor diet, radiation, stress, toxins, and trauma.
Where To Buy
Glutathione is a substance produced naturally by the liver, constructed from the amino acids
cysteine, glutamine, and glycine. It is necessary to protect cellular health, and is the single most
important antioxidant that we require in order for the body to properly detoxify.
Found throughout the body, the highest concentrations of glutathione are found in the liver, and lining of the respiratory tract and nasal cavities. Inflammation, lung irritation (such as from smoke inhalation), and exposure to toxins, significantly reduces glutathione levels, as the body uses it to remove harmful chemicals.
Glutathione has special status (the “Master Antioxidant”) because it is the only key antioxidant which acts inside the cells: all other antioxidants work outside the cell membranes. Glutathione is therefore essential for protecting the DNA inside cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. And, healthy DNA replication is the key component of longevity.
The other primary reason glutathione is critical for good health is its ability to recycle all the other antioxidants. However, when our body is overwhelmed with too much oxidative stress, or too many toxins, glutathione becomes depleted. At this point, we can no longer fight free radical damage (the underlying cause of aging and disease), nor can we effectively protect ourselves from cancer, infections, and toxins.
There are over 80,000 clinical studies on glutathione, and, while not commonly prescribed, it is
used in advanced medicine. Intravenous glutathione has been used to treat many ailments,
indicating its widespread effects and critical importance in most disease states. Diseases
treated with glutathione include AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, alcoholism, cancer,
cataracts, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, glaucoma, heart disease, hepatitis, kidney
disease, liver disease, male infertility, osteoarthritis, and Parkinson’s disease.
Inhaled glutathione (using a nebulizer) is used in treatments for emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, asthma, and other lung diseases. Glutathione is also a master detoxifier, cleaning the body of chemical contaminants (including chemotherapy residue), drug poisoning, xenoestrogens, heavy metals, and radiation. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-717/glutathione
Clearly, there is almost no ailment that would not benefit from the addition of glutathione to treatment protocols. However, as we shall see, while those in good health can make their own glutathione, those with certain health issues can no longer manufacture it internally, and most glutathione products are ineffective.
It is not just those with illness that are low in glutathione. As our health declines so do our levels
of glutathione, so, while we might not yet be ill, just being at a low ebb of health will correspond
with glutathione deficiency. Therefore, maintaining healthy levels of glutathione can help prevent
a further decline in health, if we have started down that slippery slope. Now, let’s have a look at
those who would especially benefit from taking liposomal glutathione.
As we age, our levels of glutathione also decline steeply. In fact, the Lancet medical journal, found the highest glutathione levels in healthy young people, lower levels in healthy elderly, even lower levels in the elderly who are sick, and the lowest levels in hospitalized elderly. This, of course, stands to reason, since the body’s requirement for glutathione is highest when dealing with life-threatening diseases.
Clearly we need glutathione when ill, and perhaps as a health measure to prevent illness and premature aging, but even the healthy can benefit from keeping optimal levels of glutathione. Athletes, for example, benefit from glutathione supplementation. Research has shown that when glutathione levels are elevated in test subjects, there is an increase in endurance and strength, decrease muscle damage, and reduced recovery time.
Those with Autism
Children with autism, appear to have a less active glutathione system than children without autism. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15585776
Injections of glutathione have been proven to male fertility improve “the morphology and motility of sperm.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8300824
Those with IBD
“Inflammatory bowel diseases, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, are characterized by increases in oxidative stress and simultaneous reductions in oxidative defenses such as glutathione concentrations.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8888724
Heavy Drinkers and Tylenol Abusers
Two commonly ingested substances that deplete glutathione levels are alcohol and acetaminophen. Thus those who either drink alcohol frequently, or those taking Tylenol regularly for pain, would benefit from taking glutathione. And it would be most helpful for treating hangovers. (For those who are unaware, the combination of alcohol and Tylenol is particularly damaging to the liver.)
Those with an insufficient amount of protein in their diet often show reduced glutathione levels. Studies have found that “reduced glutathione synthesis and turnover can be induced in healthy non-elderly adults by limiting dietary protein or just the sulfur-containing amino acids found in dietary protein.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15213035
In subjects who received glutathione there was a significant reduction in wrinkles, and an increase in skin elasticity, compared with those taking placebo. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.go/pmc/articles/PMC5413479/
Normally, glutathione is recycled in the body, except when the load of toxins becomes too great,
or when one is coping with a serious ailment. But, genetics also plays a big role in an
individual’s ability to manufacture glutathione.
It is currently believed that 30%, or more, of the population may be what are known as “poor methylators”. This genetic malfunction (often related to childhood trauma), causes certain people to be unable to create, and recycle, glutathione. Usually, these are people with autoimmune, metabolic, neurological, and psychiatric diseases (and difficult-to-diagnose ailments).
Methylation essentially makes toxins water-soluble, helping the body to neutralize some of the toxic properties, and allowing it to effectively remove these toxins (chemicals, heavy metals, and xenoestrogens). Poor methylators require extra “methyl-donors”, which are nutrients that facilitate the function of methylation. These methyl-donors (B-12, B-6, folic acid) are essential to allowing the body the ability to produce and recycle glutathione.
While the average person can utilize common forms of B-12 (cyanocobalamin), B-6 (pyridoxine) and folic acid, poor methylators require more advanced versions of these nutrients, since they cannot convert the common forms into their next metabolic step. They require B12 as methylcobalamin, B6 as P5P (Pyridoxal 5-Phosphate), and folic acid as methylfolate.
However, those poor methylators with serious ailments, or subject to undue amounts of toxins, even when provided with the correct forms of the methyl-donor nutrients, may still not be able to product sufficient glutathione to offer healing potential. This is where liposomal glutathione enters the picture.
Most supplemental forms of glutathione are ineffective. Conventional glutathione products are
rapidly oxidized during digestion, and fail to actually increase blood levels of glutathione in the
body. The only forms of glutathione ever proven to substantially elevate levels of glutathione in
the body are injection, sublingual, intravenous, and liposomal.
(Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1992;43(6):667-9. The systemic availability of oral glutathione.
Witschi A1, et al. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1362956)
Commonly used by naturopaths, IV therapy, is only occasionally used by the medical profession, and then only for the most severe conditions. These include Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, male infertility, chemotherapy toxicity, and kidney problems associated with heart bypass surgery.
The problem with IV (and injectable) glutathione therapy is that (aside from the fact that it evidently hurts) it can cause side effects (Herxheimer reactions) in some people. This can occur when the dose is too high, in those with chronic illness (especially Lyme disease), or among those who are poor methylators. Side effects can include mood imbalance, extreme fatigue, nausea, and allergic reactions.
Glutathione treatment, whether oral or intravenous, is usually within the range of 250 to 600 mg
daily. Occasionally the dose is higher, for serious ailments, but should be increased only under
the guidance of a health professional.
For a detailed scientific analysis of glutathione pathways and functions follow this link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684116/
Liposomal technology was pioneered for pharmaceutical drugs, and the improved therapeutic
value and greatly increased delivery of liposome-encapsulated drugs and nutrients has been
consistently validated scientifically. Until recently, liposomes were used exclusively by the drug
industry, but now liposomes are beginning to be used for the specific oral delivery of certain
dietary and nutritional supplements.
Currently, liposomes are believed to be the most bioavailable oral way to deliver nutrients to the body, and they are especially effective for herbs and nutrients that are poorly absorbed, and/or easily damaged by the digestive system: like glutathione.
Making a liposome starts with liquid micro particles of the material one wishes to use (in this case glutathione), which are then inserted into phosphatidylcholine, a fat-soluble medium. This essentially creates micro-bubbles (just a few millionths of an inch in diameter), that are capable of entering through the gut lining, without being digested or damaged by harsh stomach acids. These bubbles then travel through the bloodstream and are absorbed as needed by various cells in the body. Because the liposomes are made with material similar to the cells, (phosphatidylcholine is a phospholipid, a component of all cell membranes), the nutrients that they carry are easily delivered directly into the cell.
Creating liposomes is an expensive and time consuming process, which is why such products cost more than simple encapsulated drugs or nutrients, and why few companies produce liposomal products. NutriStart’s Liposomal glutathione product is manufactured using a proprietary Cold Structure TechnologyTM. This means that the product was never exposed to high temperatures or pressure, which could damage delicate nutrients.