Fight Infection with Glutathione!
Even your antioxidants need antioxidants!
Today I want to talk in some detail about the direct correlation between glutathione and infections, viruses and bacteria in the body.
You see, glutathione is known as the mother of all antioxidants. Why? Because it exists in virtually every single cell in your body.
It’s made up of three very simple amino acids; cysteine, glycine, and glutamate. Those three aminos together create this wonderful glutathione that has such a powerful detoxing impact on the body that you practically couldn’t live without it.
In fact, your immune system would suffer tremendously without glutathione.
There are now studies that are showing a correlation between decreased glutathione levels and a suppressed immune system.
Let me explain a little bit about the immune system:
A healthy immune system differentiates between good and bad elements, like bacteria.
Basically you have cells that travel around and are able to identify something as natural or invader. You see, your body has these things that are called T cells. What these T cells do is they float around your bloodstream and essentially put labels on different organisms. They’ll either put a label on something that says, “natural, this is existing, this is okay to be here,” or they will put a label on it that says, “invader,” and that will trigger your immune system to attack it.
The next step in the equation is white blood cells. You’ve got phagocytes and you’ve got macrophages. What these white blood cells do is they actually attack the invader. They consume it and dispose of it.
But here’s the caveat: you need glutathione to create those white blood cells. Without glutathione, those white blood cells can’t materialize, which means your immune system never has the ability to attack what the T cells put a label on.
So, you have a direct correlation between the effectiveness of glutathione and your body’s ability to fight off disease, illness, and recover from a workout.
In essence, glutathione is basically food for immune cells. It functions as such because it exists in your intestinal mucosa. Basically what that means is that that glutathione is very active in the intestinal lining. That’s also where you have a lot of your immune system, in your gut.
You can start making the connections here: if you have glutathione levels in your gut mucosa, then you have high levels of glutathione affecting your immune system. This can make it so that you’re creating more phagocytes, creating more macrophages, and supporting that T cell function. This leads to a healthy immune system, healthy recovery, and ultimately you have more energy.
You don’t have to take it from me, there have been studies…
This first one that I want to reference is very interesting, and it’s in regards to viruses.
What this first study found was that mouse models that were suffering from the influenza virus, were seeing quite a bit of inflammation in their pulmonary area. They were also seeing an increase in what is called reactive oxygen species, ROS. That’s basically a fancy way of saying high levels of free radicals.
Well, in conjunction with that, there were decreased levels of glutathione, and increased levels of oxidized glutathione.
Let me break it down for you: what that means is, there were a lot of free radicals as a result of the flu. Then they noticed that the glutathione levels were depleted. Following that they noticed that the glutathione was oxidized, meaning it was used up. So, direct correlation: increase in influenza = depletion of glutathione (because it’s spent its energy attacking the influenza, or actually supporting the recovery).
Now the next study I want to talk about is in relation to bacteria…
Particularly tuberculosis. In case you didn’t know, tuberculosis is kind of tricky. It hides in what’s called the phagosome. The phagosome is like a vacuole inside the cell. Think of it sort of like the belly of a cell. It’s very, very difficult for T cells to identify tuberculosis properly because they’re buried in the cells. When we come across something that’s able to identify or help with tuberculosis, it’s a pretty big deal.
Well, it’s been found that bacteria, particularly tuberculosis, can increase nitric oxide levels. Nitric oxide levels may be good if you’re in the gym and you’re looking for blood flow, but increased nitric oxide isn’t necessarily good because downstream it can trigger some inflammation.
Well, in this study it seemed as though glutathione neutralized some of the nitric oxide, thereby potentially reducing the inflammation later on down the line. Which means that the body can heal itself much better. This enables your immune system to do its job much more efficiently, which means that the lymphocytes, phagocytes, and the macrophages can start doing their job and healing the body.
The moral of the story is…
If you boost your immune system, it makes everything easier. It makes your workouts easier, your mood better, and it makes it easier to adhere to a diet.
Plus, it puts you in a better position to take control of your health and block out the noise from the rest of the internet, and the rest of the world, and focus on you.
1) Glutathione Information: What is GSH, Biochemistry, Metabolism, and Mechanism of Action. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.essentialgsh.com/
2) Role of glutathione in immunity and inflammation in the lung. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
3) Understanding Glutathione (GSH), Point of Return.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.pointofreturn.com/
4) Role of glutathione in immunity and inflammation in the lung. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/