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8:58 AM Articles
Glutathione is a natural organic matter which is a renowned detoxifying agent, antioxidant and immunity provider to the body. Experts aver that the substance can fight harmful effects on our skin by atmospheric pollution, infection, radiation, injury, burns, aging etc. The compound is present in fresh vegetables and meat, but due to dietary constraints, many of us do not get it in required levels. This is why these pills become very important in the well being of our skin.
Glutathione is found in every body cell in a molecular form. Being inside the cell, it is one of the most efficient antioxidant ever discovered. From its position inside the cells, it is able to destroy free radicals more effectively. I need not tell you how badly free radicals affect on our skin and speed up ageing process and prevents infectious diseases. As such, it is an excellent anti-aging agent too.
Some experts vouch that it helps the liver expel alien materials like drugs and chemicals from our body. Some clinical tests have found out that most people suffering from life threatening diseases like Cancer and AIDS have depleted Glutathione levels in their cells. Such studies have proved that Glutathione aids in preserving intracellular health at optimal levels.
Glutathione is comprised of three amino acids and is vital to our immune system. It promotes production of lymphocytes, which are the good cells that fight infections and diseases. Even though it is available in vegetables and fruits like asparagus and water melons, the quantity available through such foods may not be enough to keep our skin fair and beautiful.
Hollywood actors and people from the entertainment field have been using this supplement in the form of pills for achieving that unblemished look. It is a sure fire method to turn your dark skin into a fair and likable color. It gives the skin certain glow and also keeps the skin wrinkle free.
It is no wonder that skin whitening pills are flooding the market these days. These pills are for oral consumption like any over the counter medicine, and it is perfectly safe too. The pill aids in de-foliating in its own way, but it helps other anti-oxidants present in the body to function better. It also contains ample quantities of vitamin C, which helps keeping the skin smooth and without pigmentations and eruptions. Some doctors have certified that the pills help in suppressing diabetes and several nervous disorders.
If you are still not convinced, it is better to find blogs on the material and read what previous users have testified. Many scams have come out in the name of whitening pills, but Glutathione skin whitening pills does not belong to that category. You can rest assured that you are consuming a perfectly natural food supplement with only positive side effects.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jitesh_Arora
10 November 2010
08 November 2010
07 November 2010
1:20 AM Glutathione
There is a remarkable molecule circulating through your bloodstream ─ glutathione. Not only is it a virtual powerhouse of antioxidant defense and enzyme production, but it’s also fundamental to a wide range of metabolic and regulatory functions. So essential is this substance to maintaining your health that deficiency states have been linked to a multitude of diseases, even aging. Let’s take a look at glutathione, its vital roles and the importance of maintaining optimal levels of this key nutrient.
Glutathione - The Antioxidant Powerhouse You Don’t Want To Run Out Of!
Glutathione’s Chemistry underlies its Biological FunctionsThe following is a short primer on glutathione biochemistry, provided in order to fully grasp its physiological significance. Please bear with the following paragraphs, because a wealth of information crucial to your health follows.
Glutathione is a tripeptide synthesized from the amino acids glutamine, cysteine and glycine and is intimately involved in maintaining the antioxidant status of cells and tissues. Remember from Chemistry 101 (if it’s not too unpleasant!) that oxidation and reduction are complementary chemical reactions described as the loss or gain of electrons, respectively, by a molecule, atom, or ion. In addition to glutathione’s relatively high concentration within cells, the presence of the sulfhydryl (–SH) group on the cysteine portion of the molecule is at the foundation of its powerful antioxidant capacity 1234 ─ electrons of this sulfur-containing group are readily donated to quench, or reduce, damaging free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are highly reactive, unstable, and deleterious to the body. Glutathione exists within cells in its reduced form, denoted GHS, but in the process of neutralizing ROS, it becomes oxidized to glutathione disulfide, GSSG. Redox is chemical shorthand for reduction-oxidation reaction, and in biological systems, the term redox ratio is used to describe the balance of reduced to oxidized metabolites, in this case GSH/GSSG.
Source: pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.govNow that we have digested this information, we’re ready to appreciate these two gems of information: first, the ratio of reduced to oxidized glutathione, GSH/GSSG, within the cell is fundamental to cell function and viability and is under tight regulation4 and second, GSH/GSSG is the major redox pair that determines antioxidant capacity in animal cells. 1356. There in a nutshell is the basis of glutathione’s vast biological significance. Under normal physiological conditions this ratio should be greater than 10.18 However, in response to oxidative stress, a dangerous imbalance between the production and removal of ROS, glutathione concentrations can plummet,13568 shifting the GSH/GSSG redox toward the damaging oxidizing state. We will see below the link between increased oxidation and disease and then later how we can positively impact our glutathione redox ratio toward a more healthy balance. First, let’s expand our discussion of glutathione’s functions in the body.
Biological Roles of GlutathioneWe have just seen that the reduced to oxidized glutathione ratio plays a crucial role in the maintenance and regulation of the antioxidant status of the cell. This characteristic underlies glutathione’s importance in a multitude of physiological processes.
Glutathione is used as a substrate for certain enzymes that detoxify ROS generated from free radical attack on DNA, proteins and other biomolecules, as well as other enzymes that complex glutathione with potentially harmful substances such as estrogens, and xenobiotics (substances foreign to the body) in order to detoxify them.134
Besides the antioxidant defense glutathione provides as an enzyme substrate, it also acts as an endogenous (originating within the body) antioxidant by directly quenching oxygen free radicals.134 Interestingly, it also helps reduce and then recycle oxidized forms of other antioxidants such as ascorbate (vitamin C) and alpha-tocopherol (a form of vitamin E).4
In addition, glutathione is also a major transport form of cysteine in the body1 and the biochemical foundation of the P450 detoxification system in the liver, kidneys, and other organs.4
And besides maintaining the redox balance of the cell, glutathione plays an important role in many other regulatory pathways including signal transduction, gene expression, DNA and protein synthesis, cell proliferation, apoptosis, cytokine production and immune response, and preserving mitochondrial function.126
Glutathione Depletion Linked to Disease StatesBy now, it’s clear that glutathione is crucial to regulating and neutralizing deleterious oxidative processes, among other essential roles in the body. Medical experts agree that a deficiency of glutathione (and corresponding decrease in the redox ratio) contributes to increased oxidation and is implicated in aging and the onset and progression of many diseases.12346
Many oxidative stressors can deplete glutathione levels: ultraviolet and other radiation, viral infections, environmental toxins, household chemicals, heavy metals, surgery, inflammation, burns, septic shock, and overuse of certain pharmaceuticals such as acetaminophen4. Diminished glutathione levels can also be a result of limited synthesis due to fasting or inadequate protein or amino acid intake.14
There is a growing and almost limitless range of human diseases associated with glutathione deficiency and resulting oxidative stress:1246
- hemolytic anemia
- neuropathy, myopathy
- cirrhosis, viral hepatitis
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, acute respiratory distress syndrome, asthma
- Crohn’s Disease, gastritis, duodenal ulcer, pancreatitis
- heart attack, coronary artery disease
- Wilson’s Disease
- neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
- Cystic fibrosis
Supplementation to Improve Glutathione StatusYou may very well be asking by this point, “But what can I do about it? How can I optimize my body’s antioxidant capacity?” With so many disorders associated with oxidative stress as a result of lowered glutathione levels, nutritional strategies to restore a more favorable redox ratio may offer therapeutic potential in treating the abundance of human diseases mentioned above, and may even provide an effective anti-aging strategy.
Several substances have been shown to increase glutathione synthesis in vivo such as n-acetyl cysteine (an orally bioavailable source of cysteine, sufficient quantities of which are necessary for glutathione synthesis); the amino acids glutamine, glycine and taurine; alpha-lipoic acid, s-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e), and ascorbate.14
And research continues on glutathione itself as a therapeutic agent. Although there is conflicting data in the medical literature, a growing number of studies have demonstrated that oral administration of glutathione can directly increase plasma and tissue glutathione concentrations and exert positive physiological benefits.
In a study evaluating plasma glutathione concentration in rats after glutathione dosing as either a liquid bolus or mixed in feed, researchers observed a substantial increase in plasma glutathione which peaked at 90 to 120 minutes after administration and remained high for over three hours.8
At Louisiana State University Medical Center, in a similar investigation examining dietary intake of glutathione in mice, concentrations in plasma more than doubled within 30 minutes, “consistent with a rapid flux of glutathione from the intestinal lumen to plasma,” and also increased in lung tissue over the same time period.9 These results are consistent with another pharmacokinetic profile (time course study) in mice in which glutathione levels peaked at 30 minutes in plasma and 60 minutes in lung tissue after oral administration of a bolus dose.10 The Louisiana State University authors also reported that dietary intake increased glutathione concentrations in several tissues besides lung, but only after glutathione -depletion by a chemical agent.9
But this last result was later challenged by Italian researchers who found that glutathione levels increased substantially in many organs after oral glutathione administration, whether animals had first been treated with a glutathione -depleting agent or not: “significant increases in glutathione levels were found in jejunum, lung, heart, liver and brain after oral glutathione administration” to rats that had not been treated with a glutathione -depleting chemical and “in all organs, except liver, when glutathione was administered to rats previously glutathione -depleted.” Increases were due to uptake by intact glutathione, or by its degradation and subsequent re-synthesis, or both mechanisms, depending on the organ studied.11
And in a fascinating 2002 study, oral glutathione supplementation was found to suppress oxidative stress in vivo and potentially treat symptoms of diabetes. This is strong evidence that glutathione is indeed effective orally. Diabetic rats fed a glutathione-supplemented diet demonstrated decreases in lipid peroxidation as measured by a marker of oxidative stress, as well as improvements in diabetic neuropathy and kidney dysfunction, both of which are diabetic complications linked to oxidative damage.3
ConclusionWe have learned that glutathione is fundamental to myriad physiological processes ─ perhaps most importantly, the regulation of the antioxidant status cells and tissues. Alterations in glutathione metabolism and resulting oxidative stress can lead to the plethora of disease states that we have examined, as well as accelerate the aging process itself. Fortunately, several studies have reported that targeted glutathione supplementation may potentially restore this key nutrient to more optimal levels to ameliorate and possibly prevent pathological conditions associated with lowered glutathione status. Continuing research will undoubtedly expand our knowledge of this unique and remarkable nutrient.
Note: Glutathione use during chemotherapy is not recommended, unless otherwise directed by a physician.
- Wu G, Fang YZ, Yang S, Lupton JR, Turner ND. Glutathione metabolism and its implications for health. J Nutr. 2004 Mar;134(3):489-92.
- Franco R, Schoneveld OJ, Pappa A, Panayiotidis MI. The central role of glutathione in the pathophysiology of human diseases. Arch Physiol Biochem. 2007 Oct-Dec;113(4-5):234-58.
- Ueno Y, Kizaki M, Nakagiri R, Kamiya T, Sumi H, Osawa T. Dietary glutathione protects rats from diabetic nephropathy and neuropathy. J Nutr. 2002 May;132(5):897-900.
- [No authors listed.] Glutathione, reduced (GSH).Altern Med Rev. 2001 Dec;6(6):601-7.
- Exner R, Wessner B, Manhart N, Roth E. Therapeutic potential of glutathione. Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2000 Jul 28;112(14):610-6.
- Ballatori N, Krance S, Notenboom S, Shi S, Tieu K, Hammond, C. Glutathione dysregulation and the etiology and progression of human diseases. Biol Chem. 2009 March ; 390(3): 191–214.
- Griffith OW. Biologic and pharmacologic regulation of mammalian glutathione synthesis. Free Radic Biol Med. 1999 Nov;27(9-10):922-35.
- Hagen TM, Wierzbicka GT, Sillau AH, Bowman BB, Jones DP. Bioavailability of dietary glutathione: effect on plasma concentration. Am J Physiol. 1990 Oct;259(4 Pt 1):G524-9.
- Aw TY, Wierzbicka G, Jones DP. Oral glutathione increases tissue glutathione in vivo. Chem Biol Interact. 1991;80(1):89-97.
- Kariya C, Leitner H, Min E, van Heeckeren C, van Heeckeren A, Day BJ. A role for CFTR in the elevation of glutathione levels in the lung by oral glutathione administration. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2007 Jun;292(6):L1590-7.
- Favilli F, Marraccini P, Iantomasi T, Vincenzini MT. Effect of orally administered glutathione on glutathione levels in some organs of rats: role of specific transporters. Br J Nutr. 1997 Aug;78(2):293-300.
06 November 2010
2:07 PM Glutathione
Glutathione (GSH) - Your Whey to Health
What is Glutathione exactly?Glutathione (GSH) is a small protein molecule formed from the amino acids cysteine, glycine, and glutamic acid. Glutathione is manufactured inside your cells. Your cell's ability to make glutathione is directly determined by the supply of raw materials, or precursors. In particular, the amino acid cysteine.
Glutathione is the Master AntioxidantGlutathione is your body's master antioxidant and one of the most important cleansing and healing agents. Glutathione blocks free radical damage and helps to recycle Vitamins E and C, therefore plays a key role in their function. Because Glutathione exists within the cells, it is in a prime position to neutralize free radicals. The highest concentration of glutathione is found in the liver which is the principal organ involved in the detoxification and elimination of toxic materials.Glutathione may also help with detoxification by binding to toxins such as heavy metals, solvents and pesticides, allowing them to be excreted in urine or bile.Glutathione is a "Superfood"
Glutathione is one of the 14 Superfoods listed in "SuperFoods Rx : Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life", co-authored by Dr. S. Pratt, an authority on food and aging.
The list is based on an exhaustive study of the scientific research behind the world's best daily diets, and includes the 14 nutrients that show up consistently in the most health-promoting, disease-preventing, anti-aging diets in the world.
Glutathione is the "Life Extension Molecule"
Low glutathione levels are found in immune comprodegenerative diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, ALS, Alzheimer's, and individuals with neuro-Parkinson's disease, atherosclerosis, male infertility, pregnancy complications, cataracts.
High levels of glutathione appear to protect against the dangers of cancer, heart disease, premature aging, autoimmune diseases, damage from many pharmaceutical drugs, and chronic illnesses.
What the Experts say about Glutathione
"Glutathione is a substance, the levels of which in our cells are predictive of how long we will live. There are very few other factors which are as predictive of our life expectancy as is our level of cellular glutathione. Glutathione has been called the "master antioxidant", and regulates the actions of lesser antioxidants such as vitamin C, and vitamin E within the body. "We literally cannot survive without this antioxidant." Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D, in What You Should Know about the Super Antioxidant Miracle
"Without glutathione, other important antioxidants such as vitamins C and E cannot do their job adequately to protect your body against disease." Allan Somersall, Ph.D., M.D., and Gustavo Bounous, M.D. FRCS(C) in Breakthrough in Cell Defense
"No other antioxidant is as important to overall health as glutathione. It is the regulator and regenerator of immune cells and the most valuable detoxifying agent in the human body. Low levels are associated with hepatic dysfunction, immune dysfunction, cardiac disease, premature aging, and death." Lorna R. Vanderhaeghe & Patrick J.D. Bouic, Ph.D. in The Immune System Cure
"If there is one survival tool every HIV(+) person should consider, it is taking dietary supplements that increase glutathione production." - Michael Mooney, Author of Built to Survive: A Comprehensive Guide to the Medical Use of Anabolic Steroids, Nutrition and Exercise for HIV (+) men and women
"Raising glutathione levels is a good thing, no matter how you do it. There are several theories about how to do this and all are slightly different. Some believe that NAC will do it, it certainly has the right chemical structure. Others think that only bioavailable glutathione is the way to go.... However you elevate your glutathione levels, it is a good thing to do!" - Douglas T. Dieterich, M.D. in a response to a patient query at a forum on TheBody.com, an AIDS and HIV Information Resource.
One reason why it is so important to maintain high levels of glutathione is that it is crucial for the detoxification of carcinogens. Packer states that most people do not inherit "cancer genes"; rather, they have a genetic weakness in their detoxification system. Glutathione is an extremely important part of the detoxification system, and thus of our defenses against cancer. Interestingly, whey protein has also been found to raise glutathione levels. Glutathione may also be one of the most important keys to longevity. Centenarians have been found to have higher levels of glutathione than would be expected for their age. Boosting one's glutathione levels ...should be one of the first items on anyone's anti-aging agenda. - Ivy Greenwell in The Antioxidant Network, A brief review of "The Antioxidant Miracle," by Lester Packer, PhD and Carol Colman
"As Dr. Lombard points out in his book, "The Brain Wellness Plan"...the brain’s high fat content renders it especially vulnerable to free radicals, so that the body has defined specific ways to protect brain cell fatty acids through special antioxidants.... Glutathione is one of the most powerful antioxidants in the body. Depressed glutathione levels are associated with the increased generation of free radicals found in Parkinson’s patients, for example, and contributes to further brain cell death." - Excerpts from the Willner Window Radio Show aired in May 98
A deficiency of glutathione can cause hemolysis (destruction of red blood cells, leading to anemia) and oxidative stress. Glutathione is essential in intermediary metabolism as a donor of sulfhydryl groups which are essential for the detoxification of acetaminophen. [PDR Medical Dictionary. Spraycar. 1999] Selenium is a structural component of, and a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme lutathione peroxidase.
"(Glutathione peroxidases) break down hydrogen peroxide and any peroxides which form on fats and oils within the body. The selenium contained in the enzymes acts as the reactive centre, carrying reactive electrons from the peroxide to the glutathione. It is the glutathione that is the antioxidant in the reaction, not the selenium as many health food companies would lead us to believe. Selenium by itself is a potent oxidant which can be very toxic if to much is taken." - Dr Steven Gieseg in Reducing Free Radicals - A Dietary Revolution, New Zealand Science Monthy, (1999) July, 6-8.
- Bruce Ames, Ph.D. at University of California, Berkeley estimates that every single one of our trillions of cells suffers about 10,000 free radical hits daily! (Ames, 1993)We know that glutathione is the master antioxidant. We read and hear about antioxidants and free radicals them all the time, but just what are they? The simple answer is that antioxidants are substances that protect our cells from oxidation (by free radicals).Let's look at what free radicals are. Molecules are composed of atoms bonded together, via the sharing of electrons. Generally, atoms exist in pairs, with each electron of the pair having an opposite spin to the other. When a molecule is split, two things can happen. First, the electrons can stay together. When this happens, we say the molecule has ionized. For example, table salt, which is Sodium Chloride (NaCl), ionizes into two charged ions, specifically a sodium ion and a chloride ion. In this case, the Chloride received the electron pair, and the Sodium lost it. The other thing that can happen is that the electron pair is split. This leaves a highly reactive atom (a free radical), seeking to steal an electron, which sets up a domino effect of electron stealing.Antioxidants work by offering easy electron targets for free radicals.
Each time you are confronted by the threats in the outer circle of the diagram free radicals are released. The natural reserve of glutathione in the body breaks down under the assault. The effects of oxidative stress are so critical in fact that a new field of medical science has emerged, called 'Free Radical Biology' which studies the long list of diseases caused by it. Today it is known that antioxidants help diminish cell damage, slows the harmful effects of aging and lessens the threat of disease. Oxidative stress can be minimized by raising intracellular GSH levels.If the free radical is not neutralized by an antioxidant it can wreak all sorts of havoc in our bodies. Current research, for example, is pointing to the fact that it is not only the presence of fat in our bodies that leads to plaque formation on our arteries, but the oxidation of fat by free radicals. With cancer, the problem starts when free radicals chip away at the DNA of our cells, eventually causing mutations that lead to malignancies.
The antioxidants provided by vitamins work because they can donate electrons to free radicals, thus neutralizing them. However, this makes the vitamin molecule unstable, and now it needs an electron. This is sort of like passing a very hot potato from person to person until someone finds a place to lay it down. In our bodies, that place is glutathione.
The chemical equation gets fairly technical, but in the end glutathione donates an electron and becomes a stable molecule known as GSH. Glutathione can then be regenerated via an enzymatic pathway that involves lipoic acid. The details of the chemistry involved is beyond the scope of this page, but is well established in the scientific literature. Also well established is the fact that the glutathione antioxidant system is the most important system in our bodies when it comes to the destruction of reactive oxygen compounds (very potent free radicals). (Meister, 1994) Glutathione is often referred to as GSH.
GSH's metabolic functions include:
♦ Enhancement of Immune Function ♦ Elimination of Toxins ♦ Elimination of Carcinogens ♦ Antioxidant Cell Protection ♦ Protection against Ionizing Radiation ♦ DNA Synthesis and Repair ♦ Protein Synthesis ♦ Prostaglandin Synthesis ♦ Leukotriene Synthesis ♦ Amino Acid Transport ♦ Amino Acid Transport ♦ Enzyme Activity and Regulation
Where do we get these antioxidants?Nature provides these through fresh "whole" fruits and vegetables which are full of them. Asparagus, avocados and walnuts are particularly rich dietary sources of Glutathione. (It is important to eat only whole foods for optimal health.) Some important ones to look for are vitamins A, C, E, and Selenium. In the case of glutathione, the source is dairy in the form of whey protein isolates. High quality nutritional supplements also provide effective antioxidants.
Cysteine Rich Whey Proteins, and their effect on GlutathioneNow that we've laid a foundation for the importance of glutathione, let's discuss the role of cysteine in glutathione synthesis. The importance of cysteine lies in the fact that it is an essential precursor to the master antioxidant glutathione.
Glutathione (GSH) is a tripeptide (a very small protein) made up of three amino acids: L-glutamine (glutamatic acid), L-cysteine and L-glycine. The amino acid most important (known as the rate-limiting factor) is cysteine. (Deleve, 1991)
In order for cysteine to survive the trip from the mouth to your cells it must be a part of a larger protein. Without adequate cysteine, cells can't produce enough GSH and the body suffers on three levels: cellular oxidation contributes to general decline and aging, toxins accumulate in the body causing further damage, and the immune system is compromised, leaving the body vulnerable to disease.
However, there is a form of cysteine that is non-toxic, easily transported into the gut, and transferred into cells. This form is cysteine and is comprised of two cysteines joined together by a disulfide bond. Upon cell entry the cysteine is reduced to cysteine. (Droege et al., 1994)
Having established that cysteine is the crucial element in supporting glutathione production, let's return to our cystine rich proteins. Alpha-lactalbumin, lactoferrin and serum albumin are all high in cysteine. Serum albumin and lactoferrin are also high in the combined molecule of glutamine and cysteine (gamma glutamylcysteine) which can also be transported into cells. So, it is obvious that a product high in the non-denatured conformation of these three proteins is essential for increasing intracellular glutathione levels.