What if I told you that Ponce de Leon was off base looking for the Fountain of Youth in Florida because that fountain is in your own healthy liver? That may be a bit of a stretch, but your cells, especially in your liver, make a master antioxidant and detox accelerator that controls critical aspects of aging and preventing disease. That compound is called glutathione. Virtually every person with disease-related frailty is depleted in glutathione. High glutathione levels are associated with longevity – in fact, healthy people over 100 years of age have significantly higher levels of glutathione than the general population. There are over 90,000 studies published on different aspects of glutathione, on everything from Parkinson’s disease to cardiovascular damage, cancer treatment and prevention, autoimmune diseases, even autism, and related disorders. I could write the rest of this page on diseases for which glutathione is crucial.
Unfortunately, in the presence of disease, environmental exposures, and genetics, our body’s ability to make this critical compound diminishes greatly. With certain genetic inefficiencies, glutathione production can be reduced 50% or more, and it is estimated that nearly 1 in 3 people has this genetic variant! Age reduces glutathione production, too. By age 40, most people are making 30% less, and by 65, as much as 50% less – and that is in healthy individuals. Anyone with liver stress or disease is going to be making significantly less. Since glutathione is so powerful, and the lack of adequate levels is associated with too many diseases to count, why don’t we all just load up on glutathione every day? The answer is simple. Glutathione loses its superpowers with digestion. It becomes oxidized, and then it adds to your body’s oxidative stress burden. It is not a matter of enteric coating or stomach acid – it is the digestive process itself that transforms glutathione into its unfavorable form. That’s why elite integrative medical clinics give this life-saving compound intravenously (directly into the bloodstream), sometimes at a cost of thousands of dollars to their patients. You just couldn’t take glutathione orally – until now. Research scientists in France have developed a way to keep glutathione stable and deliver it intact. This patented process combines glutathione with protective antioxidants, which allows it to significantly improve the ratio of active glutathione to oxidized glutathione in a way that other approaches can’t.
Fighting Free Radicals and Oxidative Stress
Glutathione has been described as “the mother of all antioxidants” and this is true, but it does much more. It also boosts and prolongs the protective activity of other antioxidants in the body, like vitamin C and E. This is called antioxidant recycling, and it is crucial as we strive to protect the blueprints inside our cells – DNA – from the damaging effects of oxidative stress. This is important because unchecked oxidative stress is associated with so many diseases – including cancers, neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and heart disease – that it can aptly be considered a killer. Oxidative stress is certainly involved in the death of damaged individual cells and contributes significantly to the progression of life-threatening diseases.
Removing Dangerous Toxins from the Body
As the liver snags toxins out of circulation, it must prepare them for disposal. This process is called phase l and phase II glucuronidation. This process cannot take place without adequate levels of glutathione. More glutathione = enhanced removal of toxins from your body. This can include drug metabolites, heavy metals, pesticides/herbicides, xenoestrogens like BPA, alcohol, and other toxic chemicals. We are swimming in a sea of tens of thousands of chemicals that never existed before 50 years ago. While we cannot always avoid these toxic exposures, it is important to get them out of our bodies as quickly as possible. This reduces our cumulative exposure to substances linked to cancer and many other potentially devastating diseases.
Immune System Power
The foot soldiers of the immune system are white blood cells. There are a wide variety of soldiers to help protect us from multiple threats, such as disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and fungal infections. Your body cannot make white blood cells without adequate glutathione. It has also been shown to stimulate natural killer cell activity, which is especially useful in destroying cancer cells.
Virtually all neurological diseases have some level of oxidative damage as a root cause or major contributor to dysfunction. Therefore, it is not surprising that Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) have been the focus of much glutathione research.
A recent study entitled “Elevation of glutathione as a therapeutic strategy in Alzheimer’s disease” concludes: “Increasing glutathione remains a promising therapeutic strategy to slow or prevent MCI and Alzheimer’s disease.” Considering that glutathione levels continue to decline as we age and that both AD and MCI increase with age, supplementation with effective glutathione can play an important role in preventing or slowing the progression of this disease.
Unfortunately, our glutathione levels tend to drop due to aging, genetics, disease, environment, and dozens of other factors out of our control. Trying to boost glutathione levels with standard supplements or N-acetylcysteine just doesn’t work. But a revolutionary form of this crucial compound developed in France is powerful and effective. Taken daily, it will:
- Prevent brain and nerve damage
- Rid you of health-threatening toxins
- Protect you from DNA-damaging oxidative stress
- Reduce the risk and slow the progression of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other conditions
- Promote longevity by protecting telomeres
- Boost levels of active, protective glutathione
- Improve the ratio of active versus oxidized glutathione
Michael Chase, MS, NTP
Nutrition Science and Dietetics