Glutathione is a natural substance that is present in all human cells. It functions as an antioxidant, which means that it donates electrons to quench free radicals, ultimately protecting cells. Glutathione levels in the body may be reduced by a number of factors, including poor nutrition, environmental toxins and stress. Its levels also decline with age. If glutathione is depleted in a cell, it will lead to cell death.
Glutathione protects cells of many types, especially the skin, lens, retina, and cornea. It is also a cofactor in many bodily processes and is the foundation for the main detoxification pathway in the liver, kidneys, lungs, intestinal lining, and other organs.
Top Benefits of Glutathione
- Reduces oxidative stress
Oxidative stress occurs when there’s an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to fight them off. Too-high levels of oxidative stress may be a precursor to multiple diseases. These include diabetes, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. Glutathione helps stave off the impact of oxidative stress, which may, in turn, reduce disease.The Journal of Cancer Science and Therapy indicated that glutathione deficiency leads to increased levels of oxidative stress, which might lead to cancer. The article also stated that elevated glutathione levels raised antioxidant levels and resistance to oxidative stress in cancer cells.
- Reduces symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease affects the central nervous system and is defined by symptoms such as tremors. Glutathione deficiency is prevalent in patients with Parkinson’s disease, potentially contributing to neurological damage and disease progression. Glutathione supplementation could compensate for diminished glutathione levels, thereby supporting healthier function and reducing disruptive symptoms. While research is ongoing, in vitro and clinical trials offer compelling evidence that glutathione can produce significant results for patients.
- Reduces cell damage in alcoholic and nonalcoholic fatty liver
Cell death in the liver may be exacerbated by a deficiency in antioxidants, including glutathione. This can lead to fatty liver disease in both those who misuse alcohol and those who don’t. Glutathione has been shown to improve protein, enzyme, and bilirubin levels in the blood of individuals with alcoholic and nonalcoholic chronic fatty liver disease.A study reported that glutathione was effective when given to people with fatty liver disease intravenously, in high doses. Participants in the study also showed reductions in malondialdehyde, a marker of cell damage in the liver.
- May help fight against autoimmune disease
The chronic inflammation caused by autoimmune diseases can increase oxidative stress. These diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease and lupus. According to one study, glutathione helps reduce oxidative stress by either stimulating or reducing the body’s immunological response. Autoimmune diseases attack the mitochondria in specific cells. Glutathione works to protect mitochondria by eliminating free radicals.
- Improves insulin resistance in older individuals
As people age, they produce less glutathione. Researchers at Baylor School of Medicine used a combination of animal and human studies to explore the role of glutathione in weight management and insulin resistance in older individuals. Study findings indicated that low glutathione levels were associated with less fat burning and higher rates of fat storing in the body.
Bottom Line – Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that is made in the body’s cells. Its levels decrease as a result of aging, stress and toxin exposure. Boosting glutathione may provide many health benefits, including reduction of oxidative stress.