Glutathione is a potent antioxidant found in our red blood cells and is made in the liver. It is responsible for neutralizing reactive oxygen species (ROS) like free radicals that can cause damage and death to cells. It is found in one of two forms- reduced or oxidized. Typically, more than 90% of glutathione is found in reduced form and only 10% is found in the oxidized form. This allows glutathione to readily act as an antioxidant. In times of stress and illness, however, the ratio alters and more of the oxidized form is found. This makes sense, as stress is well known to age us.
Glutathione has become very popular for anti-aging over the last few years. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun has been classified as a “complete carcinogen” because it is a mutagen and damaging agent. UV radiation has properties of a tumor initiator and promoter.1 Glutathione certainly helps repair damage against UV radiation, but unfortunately, may not be able to repair all of it. As we age, glutathione levels decrease and our ability to repair lessens even more. In terms of subjective aging, skin can wrinkle, form sunspots, and weaken. Discoloration can occur. Glutathione, specifically IV, can be helpful in reversing these.
So how do we increase glutathione? Oral supplements have become popular, but absorption is extremely poor because there are enzymes in our GI tract that break it down quickly. This is the main reason why IV glutathione has become the method of choice to increase glutathione levels since it bypasses the gut.
Glutathione is made up of glutamate, glycine, and cysteine. Eating foods rich in any of these can increase glutathione production. Fish, milk, cheese, and vegetables are rich in glutamate and glycine. Chicken and whole grains are rich in cysteine.
What do we recommend glutathione for? Well, pretty much anything where cells may have been damaged. We see many patients for fatigue and “brain fog”, with the chief complaint of not being able to recall things like they used to. As we age, this is a common phenomenon, but stress from our professional (and sometimes personal) lives can also contribute to higher levels of systemic cortisol which leads to insulin resistance and inflammation. There are anecdotal reports that glutathione can help with autism, aid with fat loss, and even help minimize the risk for cancer. A study from Japan in 2017 showed that glutathione is effective in the treatment of acute and chronic liver toxicity.2
Insulin resistance has always been a hot topic. Insulin is a hormone produced by the beta cells in the pancreas and is responsible for glucose homeostasis (physiologic stable equilibrium). Insulin resistance may lead to type two diabetes, which is significant comorbidity affecting nearly 30 million Americans per the CDC.3 A 2018 study showed that lower goal glutathione levels were found in those with insulin resistance.4
Parkinson’s disease and glutathione levels have also been studied this past decade. Parkinson’s disease is a central nervous system disease that can result in debilitating tremors and movement disorders. It is estimated that there were 680,000 patients with Parkinson’s disease in 2010 and that there will be approximately 930,000 patients with the disease in 2020 and it is estimated that there will be over 1.2 million patients with Parkinson’s in 2030.5 There is hope that is supported by research that maintaining appropriate glutathione levels may be an effective treatment modality for Parkinson’s disease.6 Dr. Park is StrIVeMD Wellness and Ketamine’s neurologist and has been studying this for a couple of years. While it is not a cure, it may help with minimizing disease progression.
Inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s may also be benefited from supplementation.7
StrIVeMD Wellness and Ketamine offers customized intravenous glutathione infusions for a variety of conditions, whether to speed up recovery after an illness, for chronic inflammation, fatigue/brain fog, or for anti-aging and wellness purposes. To learn more, please visit https://strivemdketamine.com/ or call 847-213-0990.