Glutathione and Acetyl-Glutathione
Glutathione is the most important antioxidant produced in the human body and is produced in every cell of the body. Individuals with asthma, viral infections, psoriasis, diseases of the eye, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis (MS) can all show low concentrations of this vital antioxidant. When administered orally, transdermally, rectally, or by injection, it is broken down into the three amino acids in the blood stream by peptidases in the blood. The circulating amino acids then are reabsorbed into the cell and re-assembled to produce glutathione in the cell.
Glutathione levels can also be affected by environmental illness such as mold toxicity. When something like mold toxins enter the picture, mycotoxins in your body can block your ability to detox. Dr. Chris Shade even suggests that mold, neoplastic diseases, and viruses all have the ability to shut down the GSH pathway as a way of creating a more habitable environment for themselves. In essence, the mold confuses the cell, so that detox pathways are blocked.
Dr. Don Dennis explains what goes on in mold patients this way: “The liver and kidneys are key in removing mycotoxins. People with mycotoxicosis usually have lower glutathione levels in their kidneys, liver, and red blood cells, thus they cannot get rid of the mold toxins as well as normal people. So, providing supplemental GSH is essential to assisting the liver and kidneys in removing the mycotoxins (and other toxins such as heavy metals when present) from the body.”
BENEFITS OF GLUTATHIONE
Glutathione has many other functions in the body besides being the main intracellular antioxidant. It acts as the primary detoxifier in the cell helping to protect the cell from the many petrochemicals, pesticides, fungicides, and other toxins in the air we breathe. It also helps to detoxify many prescription medications, and can act as a heavy metal chelator, helping to protect us from such metals as mercury, antimony, arsenic, lead, and cadmium. Glutathione helps to protect our mitochondria from damage or breakdown through its antioxidant activity, and helps to protect the cells of our nervous system from damage. Several neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s, MS, ALS, and Alzheimer’s may be improved by its administration. Reducing intracellular inflammation and oxidative stress are also key functions.
One can easily see the importance of glutathione to our health. It is uniquely concentrated in the eyes, the skin, the kidneys, the spleen, and the liver, where it protects these sensitive organs. It is not well absorbed orally so other routes of administration are often used.
• Glutathione is used in inhalation or irrigation therapies for asthma and respiratory issues and can be compounded with LoxaSperse™ at doses of 60 mg/mL to 200 mg/mL
• It is administered topically in Lipoderm® or Anhydrous Lipoderm for children with autism. Our pharmacists use Anhydrous Lipoderm in children who might be sensitive to the soy-based phospholipids that are found in regular Lipoderm. Children with autism often are challenged with higher levels of heavy metals and glutathione can help lower these levels.
• IV administration of 1,400 mg is often administered to patients with Parkinson’s or MS. David Perlmutter, MD, developed this protocol using an IV push of a glutathione injection solution. This protocol can be useful in reducing the tremors that are often associated with these conditions.
• Injected intramuscularly in doses of 60 mg/mL to 200 mg/mL is another route of administration. The same formulas can be used for IM and IV injections. Glutathione should be administered by itself and not mixed with multiple-ingredient IVs.
• Suppositories are another way to increase glutathione levels. At Pavilion Compounding Pharmacy, we normally compound at 500mg per suppository.
No matter what route of administration is used, start at a lower dosage and work upwards as the patient tolerates. Too high of a dose can cause patient fatigue and achiness. Selenium, lipoic acid, and milk thistle can be used to recycle glutathione back to the reduced form in the body. Some clinicians use N-acetyl cysteine (also known as acetylcysteine) orally and transdermally to improve levels. The limiting factor in the production of glutathione in our cells is the amount of cysteine in the body. One should not use cysteine supplements to increase levels because cysteine can be easily oxidized in the blood to toxic substances. This instability of cysteine is the reason we use N-acetyl cysteine in its place. N-acetyl cysteine can be administered in the same routes as glutathione.
At Pavilion Compounding Pharmacy we carry a great S-Acetyl Glutathione product. Click here for more information about our pharmaceutical grade S-Acetyl Glutathione. Unlike glutathione, acetyl glutathione is absorbed well orally. It is not affected by peptidases in the blood, and is absorbed intact into the cell where the acetyl group is cleaved off producing an intact reduced glutathione. Acetyl glutathione has been shown to effectively increase intracellular levels. Taking the acetyl glutathione orally can save patients from the expense and the challenges of glutathione injections.
We are seeing a dramatic increase in the use of glutathione in the last few years. Glutathione is such an important intracellular agent, and its use is increasing because our world is becoming more toxic and polluted. This increase is probably the main reason we are seeing an increase in the incidence of many neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and MS. We need powerful antioxidants to protect us, and glutathione is the most important antioxidant produced in our body.
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2. Kidd, PM. “Glutathione: Systemic Protectant Against Oxidative and Free Radical Damage.” Alternative Medicine Review 1997;1:155-176.
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4. Don Bottoni, RPh, PCCA Pharmacy Consultant, November 2014 PCCA Apothagram