Glutathione - What Are the Best Ways to Raise It, and What Doesn't Work?
To raise glutathione, there are many ways that have been clinically studied and proven. These fall into the categories of pharmaceuticals or drugs, and natural products. There are also many advertised ways that will not raise your glutathione. Find out what you need to know here.
Glutathione (GSH) is manufactured from three amino acids, and they are: cysteine, glutamine, and glycine.
Of these three, cysteine is the rate limiting factor in our diet today. Of all the methods listed below, two are the best studied and involve getting cysteine into the cell for glutathione production. These two methods are the pharmaceutical over-the-counter drug N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) and bonded cysteine. N-acetyl-cysteine is used in emergency medicine for acetaminophen overdose, and is also the key ingredient for the product Max GXL. The bonded cysteine or cystine product named Immunocal is a nutraceutical, or medicinal food. Both are clinically proven to raise glutathione values.
Please consult my website for a more thorough explanation of all of the methods listed below. This list has been considerably shortened, leaves out much valuable information, and is intended as a brief overview only.
Here is a list of the ways to raise glutathione based on Dr. Jimmy Gutman's bestseller "Glutathione - Your Key To Health":
How to Raise Glutathione with Drugs or Pharmaceuticals:
1. N-Acetyl-Cysteine: Commonly also referred to as NAC. This is a potent glutathione precursor that is available as a drug with and without a prescription. NAC has been used for years as standard treatment in treating acetaminophen overdose.
2. SAM: or S-Adenosyl methionine, is produced and consumed in the liver. It is sold in the USA as SAM-e (pronounced "SAM-ee") . It is a form of methionine (discussed below) that has already been partially converted to cysteine.
3. OTC and OTZ, Procysteine: Ornithine decarboxylase and oxothiazolidine are both synthetic delivery sources for cysteine. From that standpoint, these may work in the same manner as free cysteine, but these drugs are not readily available at this time to doctors or the general public.
4. GSH Monoesters and Diesters: These are synthetic compounds that are effective in raising glutathione, but they can be metabolized into alcohol, which depletes it. There are very few studies that have been carried out on humans, and their long-term safety is open to question.
How To Raise Glutathione With Natural Products:
1. Methionine or L-Methionine: Methionine is an essential amino acid that may also be used by the body to make cysteine if enough of it is available. Together, cysteine and methionine make up the two sulfur containing amino acids. It's derivative , SAM, is discussed above.
2. Melatonin: This is a hormone that naturally occurs in the brain. It is made by the pineal gland. It is a derivative of the amino acid L-tryptophan and the neurotransmitter serotonin.
3. Glutamine: Glutamine is the most abundant free amino acids found in the body. It is useful in raising glutathione. One of the few amino acids that crosses the blood-brain barrier, it is normally plentiful in the diet today.
4. Lipoic Acid: This is also commonly referred to as Alpha-Lipoic Acid. The roles of this substance are as an antioxidant, neutralizer of toxins and heavy metals, and recycler of other antioxidants like Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
5. Silymarin: Silymarin is the substance extracted from the milk thistle plant. As such, at times, these terms are used interchangeably.
6. Glutathione Injections: Typically administered by injection, or intravenously (IV), this is very effective in how to raise glutathione blood plasma concentrations, but does not raise it in the lymphocytes where you need it to build up your immune system.
7. Undenatured Whey Protein: Also called bioactive whey protein. Immunocal is an example of this and will be discussed in detail in the last report of this series.
You Also Need These Other Factors Necessary For Production:
1. Selenium: A trace element or micronutrient that is primarily an antioxidant. There are a number of medical studies showing selenium's effects on many diseases states, and most agree the main way this works is by elevating glutathione peroxidase, an important enzyme of glutathione.
2. Vitamin B1, B2: These are water soluble vitamins that help to maintain glutathione and its related enzymes in their active forms.
3. Vitamin B6, B12: These too are water soluble vitamins. They play an important role in glutathione synthesis. B6 is crucial for the function of many amino acids and essential fatty acids. It also helps with glucose and lipid metabolism.
4. Folic Acid: Also known as folate, helps with making DNA and transmission of nervous signals. It has also been shown to help with cardiovascular disease. Children and adults alike need folic acid to prevent anemia or iron deficiency.
5. Vitamin C: Also known as ascorbic acid, this is probably the best known water soluble vitamin. Most living organisms can make their own Vitamin C, but humans cannot, so it must be supplemented.
6. Vitamin E: This is a fat-soluble vitamin that comes in a close second as the most popular supplement in America today. Besides its role as an antioxidant, Vitamin E has been shown to be helpful in many areas of disease prevention today. It also plays a role in detoxification.
7. Magnesium, Vanadium, and Zinc: These are also necessary in lesser amounts as micronutrients for effective glutathione production.
So now we know how to raise glutathione, and what other nutrients we need to take with our glutathione enhancer for best effects. Now we need to ask -
What isn't clinically proven to raise glutathione levels?
1. Oral Glutathione: This may be sold as a glutathione pill, or be called L-Glutathione, or reduced glutathione. The products are all the same. There are a number of foods that have been found to be high in glutathione, and you can also buy it in pill or powder form from nutritional companies. Why not just eat it, after all? The problem with this approach is that the body breaks it down, and most of it is eliminated. So as a result, this will have no effect on raising glutathione. This fact is backed up by medical studies, yet the public perception that it works remains.
2. Cysteine or L-Cysteine: This is easily oxidized in the digestive tract, just like glutathione, and as a result, the absorption into the cells is limited. Cysteine that does make it into the bloodstream can be further oxidized and do more damage than good. So while cysteine is one of the three building blocks of glutathione, this alone has a negligible impact on raising glutathione levels.
3. Regular Whey Protein: The whey protein that you buy in the health food store will build muscle, but will not raise your glutathione. It contains free cysteine which is explained above.
In conclusion, to learn how to raise glutathione, cysteine is the amino acid that is lacking the most. But it must be in a form that can survive the trip from our mouth to our cells, which free cysteine does not do well. Also, eating glutathione is ineffective in raising glutathione levels. There are two well researched methods for raising glutathione, and they are two special types of protected cysteine, N-acetyl-cysteine and bonded cysteine.
Several drugs and natural products can show us how to raise glutathione quite efficiently. NAC or N-acetyl-cysteine is a powerful drug used in critical care, toxicology, and pulmonary medicine. It is well-researched and clinically proven to be valuable in raising glutathione levels. The product MaxGXL uses N-acetyl-cysteine to raise glutathione.
Many natural products either support or directly show us how to raise glutathione levels. Undenatured whey protein is also a very effective method using bonded cysteine, and we will learn more about a special undenatured whey protein named Immunocal in our next report.
Watch for the last installment in our Glutathione Report entitled: "What is the safest, most effective way to raise and and sustain my glutathione levels?"
Copyright 2009 Immune Health Solutions: You may freely republish this article, provided the text, author credit, the active links and this copyright notice remain intact.
Laura McCallum is the owner of Immune Health Solutions and enjoys writing helpful information about the immune system and glutathione. She regularly consults with medical professionals and published research, and believes in giving her readers the information they need to take charge of their own health.
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