What is Glutathione? (part 2)

Glutathione (GSH)- What is it?

It is believed that glutathione has the potential to treat and prevent hundreds of diseases. When you consider the role that glutathione plays in the basic wellness of cells, the primary living building blocks in our body, you will understand that this is not an unreasonable belief.

Each cell is essentially a small factory
, receiving nutritional supplies, converting this nutrition into energy and productive functions for our bodies. In this process, waste materials are generated and need to exit the cell to maintain proper function. Think about your car exhaust. It can generate many harmful emissions while providing useful transportation.

During the cell’s use of nutrition, inherently harmful by products are given off which could damage the cell if left unchecked. Toxins and free radicals are some of these by products.

Just as cars now have catalytic converters to deal with harmful exhaust by-products, the cell also has a natural, even more efficient, conversion mechanism. One of the major requirements for this system to work properly is a protein named glutathione. It is a major anti-oxidant that allows cells to deal naturally with both self generated free radical byproducts and also toxins that we may produce or ingest and inhale from the environment (for example mercury). All other antioxidants such as selenium, vitamins A and C depend upon the presence of glutathione to function properly. In this vital role glutathione supports the cell to perform all its functions properly, including replicating.

Each cell in our body is responsible to generate it’s own supply of glutathione and it must do it from the nutrition it is supplied. It must be replenished constantly and even more so when the body is under stressful conditions such as illness, pollution, poor diet and injury. Also as we age, levels of glutathione deteriorate.

Effects of glutathione depletion

If the cell does not have enough of the raw material to generate glutathione, it becomes depleted. It then cannot properly neutralize the free radicals and toxins produced by normal cell activity. Cells would then begin to suffer damage from unrestrained oxidation and there would be little resistance to infections and disease. Primary areas of bodily filtration such as liver, kidney and lungs would be affected.

Many studies are now showing that low glutathione levels are linked to many diseases (see list of conditions with low gsh), resulting in a build up of oxidative stress and toxins that would normally be neutralized.

Note that this can impact any type of cell in the bodyCell reproduction could be adversely affected, resulting in pre-cancerous cells. Liver cells could be impacted in their detoxifying ability, nerve cells in neuro transmitting, and/ or T-cells in the immune system. Thus un-neutralized free radicals cause a condition in the cell known as oxidative stress.

Even if we feel healthy or are physically active, having elevated glutathione levels help us to fight off toxins, infectious disease, pre-cancerous cells and the aging process itself. Athletes find greater strength and endurance, faster recovery times and less muscle pain and fatigue.

Today, while our need for glutathione is increasing due to environmental issues and aging, the ability of our cells to produce it is challenged. Modern food processing techniques even with “good diets” can starve our cells of the necessary building blocks required for the natural production of glutathione. Therefore, it would be wise for us to understand what the options are to raise our inter cellular level of glutathione.

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