Tuesday, October 25, 2011

31 for 21: Glutathione

Side note: There was a mis-link on the post from yesterday regarding the Down Syndrome awareness shirts. The correct link is on that post, but you can also order the shirts from here.

There was some recent discussion on the Einstein Syndrome list (I know I mention this list frequently, but it's such a beneficial list!) about Glutathione (GSH) and if it's beneficial or not.

Bottom line: Yes, it's very beneficial!

But, I'll get to more detailed information here :).

L-Glutathione is an amino acid, which is a tripeptide (made up from 3 other amino acids). It's also a potent antioxidant and helps with many different functions in the body.

One of the best articles I have ever read on Glutathione and it's many mechanisms is Glutathione: Systemic Protection Against Oxidative & Free Radical Damage, which you can view as a full text here.

Glutathione is essential in the body's antioxidant system. As one quote from the above study says,

Antioxidants are the body's premier resource for protection against the diverse free radical and other oxidative stressors to which it invariably becomes exposed. the antioxidant defense system is sophisticated and adaptive, and GSH is a central constituent of this system
 Another interesting quote,
The consequences of sustained GSH depletion are grim. As cellular GSH is depleted, first individual cells die in those areas most affected [my note: we have lots of cell death already going on in DS]. Then zones of tissue damage begin to appear; those tissues with the highest content of polyunsaturated lipids and/or the most meager antioxidant defenses are generally the most vulnerable. Localized free-radical damage [my note: which is an issue in DS, due to low antioxidant levels & high oxidative stress] spreads across the tissue in an ever-widening, self-propagating wave. If this spreading wave of tissue degeneration is to be halted, the antioxidant defenses must be augmented.
Because Glutathione is low in people with DS and because it plays such a vital role in the immune system, it's important for us to try to help raise the levels of Glutathione in the body. Nutrivene-D does have Glutathione in it.

But, there is one tricky thing with GSH.

It's not very easily absorbed, although it can be absorbed. The best form of GSH is Reduced L-Glutathione. There are also some other forms of GSH called Lipsomal GSH, sublingual GSH and I believe there is also a Glutathione patch that people in the Autism community use. All of the above forms are supposed to be absorbed pretty well.

Methylcobalamin B12 also has been shown to help raise Glutathione levels in a study done by Jill James.

Someone may wonder about using N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) to raise Glutathione levels. If you do much research, you will see this mentioned when talking about ways to raise Glutathione. From the research I have done, NAC should not be used in Down Syndrome. It has been shown to increase oxidative stress in people with DS and it also appears that it can cause leaky gut. Neither of which are needed in anyone, let alone someone with DS who is already struggling with increased oxidative stress and possibly gut issues.

Finally, one more interesting note about Glutathione from the above study,
Many pharmaceutical products are oxidants capable of depleting GSH [my note: Glutathione] from the liver, kidneys, heart, and other tissues. The popular over-the-counter drug acetaminophen [my note: active ingredient in Tylenol] is a potent oxidant. It depletes GSH from the cells of the liver [my note: which is where GSH is made & stored], and by so doing renders the liver more vulnerable to toxic damage.
Some may say it doesn't really matter if a drug such as Tylenol is used, if it's used in moderation. If you are comfortable giving your child Tylenol at various times, that's fine. It may be necessary at some times. We do not give Tylenol to O because of the concern that it would deplete already low Glutathione levels. There's more info on GSH and the Acetaminophen issue here.

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