Glutathione and Its Role In Immunity and Respiratory System.

glutathione and immunity

 

Glutathione is the master antioxidant in the body, which is found in every cell and has the ability to maximize the performance of all other antioxidants. Glutathione is essential in immunity and detoxification and is synthesized from three amino acids: glutamic acid, L-cysteine, L-glycine.

Glutathione modulates the response of the immune system, essentially causing it to function to its full potential and killing cytotoxic T cells. More than 6% of total ATP (biological energy) production is used for the synthesis and cellular regulation of glutathione levels. Glutathione is particularly important in detoxification processes, especially heavy metals and various chemicals and can repair the alteration produced at the DNA level.

There is a correlation between how the Corona virus mainly affects older people, who can develop pneumonia and die in severe cases. Studies show that lower glutathione levels are directly related to the onset of pneumonia and pulmonary inflammation.

All biological systems in the body are affected by the powerful protective and regulatory capabilities of glutathione. However, glutathione decreases with age, by almost 1% each year, thus affecting longevity, but also body failure.

Glutathione is also called the redox molecule. Redox is a process where a molecule goes through both “reduction” and “oxidation” cycles. When a molecule goes through oxidation, it loses electrons and the oxidation state increases. When the molecule undergoes reduction, it gains electrons and the oxidation rate decreases. Therefore, when glutathione is used, it is oxidized. The oxidized form can be re-transformed into a usable (reduced) form through the reduction process.

If there is a higher amount of glutathione oxidation and insufficient amount of its reduced form, this is an indication for high cellular toxicity and increased free radical activity.

Glutathione Protects the Organs.

All organs contain cellular antioxidants, such as glutathione, to protect the body from free radicals and toxicity. The liver, heart, lungs, kidneys, intestines, and brain use an enormous amount of ATP (biological energy) to function. Whenever ATP is used by mitochondria, free radicals are produced as a normal residue. But these radicals need to be kept under control, otherwise organ function can be compromised and toxicity will result.

Protection Against Heavy Metals, Carcinogens and Inflammation.

Due to the large amount of toxins in the environment, our cells and organs must synthesize and use glutathione (and other cellular antioxidants) to prevent these toxins from altering cell function.

Glutathione is critical in detoxifying carcinogens such as benzene (found in exhaust gases), heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and lead, and chemicals such as BPA. Also, when there is exposure to high levels of chemicals in the environment, the need for glutathione in the body will increase. If the reduction process will not be able to transform the glutathione used (oxidized), then the toxic baggage will increase.

When there is sufficient glutathione in the body to cope with the avalanche of pollutants, the body will not initiate inflammatory reactions. But when glutathione reserves decline, a destructive inflammatory process will start.

Causes Of Low Glutathione.

Ideally, the body produces enough glutathione to maintain balance, but nonetheless reserves may decrease when there is chronic stress, chronic conditions, and many other biochemical and metabolic imbalances that are present in a high population. Modern life bombards us with stressors including insulin imbalances, due to high sugar diets, immune imbalance due to food sensitivities, toxicity with heavy metals and other chemicals, gastrointestinal infections, hormonal imbalances, insufficient sleep, and last but not least a chaotic and hectic lifestyle.

In the presence of specific (but also quite common) genetic mutations such as CBS, MTHFR, MTRR, AHCY, the ability to form normal enzymatic reactions will be limited, and the synthesis and use of glutathione will be compromised. With or without genetic mutations, if you are deficient in the nutrients required for glutathione synthesis or methylation reactions, glutathione production will be very low.

People with cancer, AIDS, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s tend to have very low levels of glutathione.

How Can You Test The Level Of Glutathione?

Measuring low and oxidized glutathione in plasma is probably the best way to analyze glutathione activity. A high value of oxidized glutathione and a low value of reduced glutathione indicate a high stress and the need to take into account the functions of methylation.

Other methods for monitoring glutathione activity include testing of organic acids (especially the pyroglutamatic acid marker), as well as albumin and gamma-glutamintransferase (GGT) in the blood, where low values ​​may indicate insufficient glutathione reserves. This is due to the fact that glutathione is a major constituent of albumin. GGT is the primary enzyme that catalyzes the transfer of glutamyl group from peptides such as glutathione (GSH) to other amino acids, thus being critical for the transport and use of glutathione.

How Can You Maintain a Normal Level Of Glutathione?

Certain foods such as meat and dairy from animals raised on pastures, fish, eggs, blackberries, asparagus and other green vegetables contribute to glutathione production.

Of course there are no two people the same and the nutritional program, including supplementation with nutrients will also be individual. However, with regard to direct supplementation with glutathione, liposomal forms are the most indicated, due to the high degree of absorption and the fact that they bypass gastric acid in the stomach. Thus, glutathione is absorbed directly by the cells of the intestine.

However, it is necessary to supplement with glutathione precursors to help the body produce its own glutathione. Some of these important cofactors and synergistic nutrients are N-acetyl-cysteine ​​(NAC), P5P (vit B6), glutamine, lipoic acid, glycine, selenium, folate, vitamin C, E and B12.

Plants that can be used in combination with the above and that contribute to the production of glutathione are turmeric, green tea, cordyceps, gotu kola, ashwagandha, milk thistle and bacopa monniera.

Glutathione For Your Respiratory System.

When lungs are stressed with respiratory tract infections and lung disease, their capacity to clear immune factors and fight against viral and bacterial sources becomes challenged. Increasing glutathione concentrations in the lung therefore can be beneficial in fighting off infections and recovering lung function and capacity.
In addition to the actions mentioned above for replenishing glutathione levels, administration of nebulized glutathione is considered the best delivery source to the lungs and upper respiratory tract.
 
Nebulization refers to administration of glutathione in the form of a mist, which is inhaled into the lungs, making this a targeted delivery system to the lungs. Typical treatments last for 10 min and should be done a few times a week if possible up to 4-6 weeks. Maintenance protocols would be less frequent. During treatment you can expect to perhaps smell sulfur (rotten eggs) which is characteristic of glutathione, experience a mild runny nose and maybe even some coughing. This mostly resolves after the treatment is finished. Those who would not be candidate for this procedure are those with sulfite sensitivities as this can induce bronchospasms (spams in the airway) and thus should be avoided.
 

For specialized consultation for your health problems and personalized recommendations for replenishing glutathione levels, you can schedule an appointment here.

 

Resources:

Glutathione level in community-acquired pneumonia patients

Oxidative stress and regulation of glutathione in lung inflammation.

Role of glutathione in immunity and inflammation in the lung

Buhl R. Meyer A. Volgelmeier C. Oxidant-protease interaction in the lung. Prospects for antioxidants therapy. Chest 1996; 110:267S-272S
 
Prousky, J. ND. The Treatment of Pulmonary Disease and Respiratory Conditions with inhaled (Nebulized or Aerosolized) Glutathione. Evidence Based and Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. 2008 Mar; 5(1): 27-35