What is Glutathione?
Reduced L-glutathione, most commonly called Glutathione or GSH, is the most powerful naturally occurring antioxidant in all human cells.
It is a tripeptide composed of the amino acids glutamic acid, cysteine and glycine. Glutathione is found in all cells in the body, including the bile, the epithelial lining of the lungs, and the blood.
GSH is the smallest intracellular non-protein thiol (molecule containing an S-H or sulfhydryl group) molecule in the cells. This characteristic emphasizes its potent antioxidant action and enzyme cofactor properties, and supports a multifaceted thiol exchange system—which regulates cell activity.
Metabolically, glutathione has many functions. For example, glutathione plays a substantial role in the functioning of the body’s immune system. Its antioxidant property makes it vital to white blood cells (lymphocytes)—as it allows them to reach their full potential during the oxygen-requiring activity of the body’s immune response.
The highest concentration of glutathione is found in the liver, making it critically important in the detoxification and elimination of free radicals. Oxidative stress occurs when the generation of harmful free radicals exceeds the body’s ability to neutralize and eliminate them. Many conditions, including neurological and degenerative diseases, are linked to increased oxidative stress.
The liver is the major detoxification organ of the body. Enzymes in the liver are dependent on glutathione to work properly, and as glutathione levels decrease, so does the body’s ability to eliminate dangerous toxins. This leads to damage to the tissue of the nervous system including the brain.
Other antioxidants in the body depend on glutathione as well. Glutathione recycles vitamins C and E after they have been oxidized—therefore playing a decisive role in their normal function. Glutathione is neuroprotective, immunoprotective and an important part of healthy cellular function.
Oxidative stressors that can deplete glutathione include:
• Ultraviolet and Other Radiation
• Household Chemicals
• Acetaminophen Poisoning
• Cigarette Smoke
• Exhaust From Motor Vehicles
• Heavy Metals
• Other Environmental Toxins
• Viral Infections
• Septic Shock
• Poor Diet
• Enzyme Cofactors
- • Stress