About Glutathione (GSH)

GSH is present in every single cell of your body.

GSH levels are high in the young and healthy and low in the aged and sick. (The Lancet. Vol. 351 (9103) pp 645-646). Hence, GSH is also known as Your Body's Most Powerful Healing Agent!

Eating GSH has negligible effects on your health. It is quickly broken down during digestion and eliminated. GSH must be manufactured within your cells, which is exactly where it appears - in every cell in your body.

The logic is: You are made up of trillions of cells. If your cells are healthy, you will be able to reduce risks and fight diseases more effectively.

  1. 1.

    3 major functions of GSH (AID)

    Expand Collapse
    Antioxiant (AID)

    GSH is your body's most powerful master antioxidant (A). A 1996 article in the European Journal of Cancer actually suggested that free radicals be listed as an important class of carcinogens (cancer causing substance). Cancer is a result of free radicals attack on the cells, RNA and DNA, which mutates and eventually resulting in cancer. Because of its great capacity as the cell's major antioxidant, GSH can soak up free radicals as they formed in the cells. This prevents subsequent damage to various parts of the cell, particularly to the DNA in its nucleus which in turn reduces the development of disease such as cancer.

    "Antioxidants are well documented and known to possess vital roles in health maintenance and disease prevention. GSH is your cell's own major antioxidant. Maintaining elevated GSH levels aids the body's natural antioxidant function."
    (Biochemical Pharmacology 47:2113-2123, 1994).

    Immune System Enhancer (AID)

    GSH is your body's most powerful immune enhancer (I). GSH's effects upon the immune system is to control and balance the growth of T-cell lymphocytes (immune cells), thereby strengthening the immune response. It has been demonstrated that the ability of lymphocytes to offset oxidative damage is measured by determining the capacity of these cells to regenerate intra-cellular stores of GSH, therefore allowing them to respond more fully to attack to the immunity. In other words, GSH is food for your immune system.

    "Lymphocytes, cells vital for effective immune function, depend on GSH for their proper function and replication." (Immunology 61:503-508, 1987).

    Optimizing your GSH levels means optimizing your immunity.

    Detoxifier (AID)

    GSH is your body's most powerful detoxifier (D). GSH plays a specific role in the detoxification of numerous well known carcinogens and mutagens in the environment. These cancer-causing substances are conjugated or neutralized by GSH and rendered into a form the body can eliminate. Since the liver is the body's principal detoxifying organ, it is not surprising that it carries the highest concentrations of GSH in the body.

    In fact, there are at least 13 carcinogens that can be detoxified by your own GSH through conjugation.

    "GSH detoxifies a variety of pollutants, carcinogens and poisons, including many found in fuel exhaust and cigarette smoke. It also retards damage from radiation exposure due to the eroding ozone layer." (Annual Reviews of Biochemistry 52:711-760, 1983).

    Optimal levels of GSH to raise the above AID functions are extremely important for maintenance of good health, especially in ageing as intracellular GSH decreases by 20-40% when you reach age 45 and above. This means that the older you are, the more susceptible you are to ageing symptoms and diseases and hence, the more protection you need. That is why Glutathione is commonly known as YOUR BODY'S MOST POWERFUL HEALING AGENT!

  2. 2.

    Do you know that the highest level of Glutathione is in your liver?

    Expand Collapse

    Glutathione (GSH) plays a critical role in the liver as it is the liver's most abundant antioxidant enzyme. GSH concentrations are higher in the liver than in any other organ. Although it has been found that the liver performs more than 500 vital functions from making bile to processing nutrients from food, the liver is better known for key detoxification processes in the body.

    There are 2 phases of detoxification. Phase I liver detoxification transforms toxins into water-soluble forms. GSH is essential in Phase II, which neutralizes or conjugates these products and helps the body eliminate them through the gut or the kidneys. If these 2 detoxification phases are impaired for any reason, toxins will accumulate in the body and lead to disease.

    Studies have shown that low glutathione levels lead to poor liver function, and result in unnecessarily large quantities of toxins circulating through the body. There, they continuously damage individual cells and organs. Therefore, in situation whereby acute liver damage such as overdose of pharmaceutical drugs paracetamol, the GSH-enhancing drug N-acetylcysteine, is used to raise GSH levels rapidly to eliminate the toxic breakdown products of the overdose so as to save lives.

    Decreased liver production of GSH is seen in alcoholic cirrhosis, sicknesses caused by exposure to toxins, viral hepatitis, fatty livers and even aging individuals. There are more and more evidences confirming raising GSH levels support liver function in these patients.

    Alcohol patients with lower GSH levels are more prone to liver damage. This has prompted researchers to try to treat alcoholic liver disease by raising GSH levels. Clinical symptoms and liver function tests have shown to improve with this method.

    The liver is the largest and most complicated organ in your body. It is intimately linked to a vast number of factors affecting health and illness. GSH is a key constituent of proper liver function. Low GSH levels invite a host of toxicological and immunological diseases. High levels offer protection against these diseases.

  3. 3.

    How to raise Glutathione levels?

    Expand Collapse

    When people find out about the importance of GSH, they want to go to the health food store to buy some and take it. Although it can be found in the form of tablets and capsules, eating GSH has negligible effects on your health. It is quickly broken down in your digestive tract and eliminated. GSH must be manufactured within your cells, which is exactly where it appears- in every cell of your body. The only effective way to increase GSH is to give your body the precursors or building blocks it needs to manufacture GSH for itself.

    GSH is made up of 3 amino acids namely glycine, glutamate and the all-important cysteine as cysteine is responsible for the biological activity of GSH. This means that the availability of cysteine determines how much GSH your cells can synthesize. Glycine and glutamate are easily available in your diet but not cysteine, which is absent or deficient in many diets. Oral form of cysteine, like GSH, have negligible effects on your health as they are quickly broken down in your digestive tract and eliminated. In addition, cysteine as a dietary supplement can promote hypercysteinemia and potential toxicity hence, is not recommended!

    There are drugs that contain GSH precursors such as NAC and OTZ. However, drugs carry certain toxicity itself. Also, drug induced GSH levels reach a rapid peak and decline within hours ie. drug has short half-life. In order to maintain constant elevated GSH levels, the drug must be swallowed or injected several times per day and this is very hard on the body.

    Cysteine absorbed during digestion as cystine (2 cysteine molecules linked by a disulfide bond) in the gastrointestinal tract is more stable. Upon cell entry, cystine will be promptly reduced to the 2 cysteine molecules and ready to manufacture GSH. Although the disulfide bond that linaked the 2 cysteine to form cystine is resistant to the digestive process, it is easily broken if submitted to heat or mechanical stress.

  4. 4.

    Immunocal® - The natural bioactive GSH precursor

    Expand Collapse

    Immunocal® is a specially prepared whey (milk serum) protein isolate. It is extracted exclusively from milk produced without antibiotics or steroids. It contains bioactive precursors serum albumin (17 cystine residues and 6 glutamylcysteine (Glu-Cys) dipeptides), alpha lactalbumin (4 cystine residues) and lactoferrin (17 cystine residues and 4 Glu-Cys). These proteins contain high levels of cystine residues, travel safely through our digestive tract and blood plasma and is promptly reduced to the 2 cysteine molecules upon cell entry to be synthesized into GSH.

    The unique and patented manufacturing process ensures that the natural structure of the proteins in Immunocal® remain intact and active (un-denatured), which is accomplished by maintaining the fragile, precious bond between cysteine amino acids or bonded cysteine. This is very important as the availability of active cysteine determines how much GSH you can synthesize. This differentiates Immunocal® from normal whey protein or milk, as standard high-temperature pasteurization, which is used to manufacture normal whey protein or milk, will destroy the heat sensitive cystine in Immunocal®.

  5. 5.

    Not all proteins are the same!

    Expand Collapse

    The difference in proteins lies in the biological value (BV) of the proteins. Immunocal® provides all the essential amino acids you need for survival and is healthier for you than any other proteins as it has the highest known BV similar to human milk. The BV of a protein indicates how useful the protein is to your body. The higher the value, the more useful and important it is to your body. Hence the high BV of the proteins in Immunocal® makes Immunocal® a very beneficial option even for those on protein restrictive diets. Not only does Immunocal® contain protein with high BV, it also increases the body's antioxidant, immune enhancing and detoxification functions via GSH.

  6. 6.

    Raising GSH levels safely and naturally

    Expand Collapse

    There are other synthetic ways or drugs in which GSH levels may be raised. However, they usually are limited with long-term side effects. Immunocal® can effectively raise GSH levels with no known side effects when used as directed.

    It contains natural protein isolate from milk produced without antibiotics or steroids and contains less than 1% fat and lactose. Hence, even the most severe case of lactose intolerant can take it safely.

    Persons with specific milk protein allergy or allergy to human milk (not the same as lactose intolerance) or have received an organ transplant should not take this product. Please take note that implants are not transplant.