Glutathione May Protect You From Age-Related Decline
Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that helps your body get rid of toxins (detoxification) that come from the environment (air and water pollutants, heavy metals, drugs, and pharmaceuticals) and from your own body’s normal everyday biological processes (free radicals and oxidative stress). Faulty or impaired ability to eliminate these life toxins has been associated with a variety of conditions:
- heart disease
- depression, dementia, and other neurodegenerative conditions
- skin disorders
- fatty liver disease and other gastrointestinal maladies
In a recent study published in the journal, Redox Biology, researchers at Oregon State University have shown that supplementation with n-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) may help maintain adequate glutathione levels and prevent the declines associated with the aging process. NAC is a form of the amino acid l-cysteine and acts as a powerful free radical scavenger. It is a precursor to and supports tissue levels of glutathione, the principle defense within the body against reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the detoxification of drugs, metabolites and other compounds. NAC also has the ability to aid in the chelation of heavy metals and has been shown to support healthy lung function through its mucolytic capability. It also acts to reduce glutamate over-activity.
Despite the importance of glutathione in protecting your body against the ravages of time and life, levels of this necessary anti-oxidant decline with age. The more stress you face, the faster your levels diminish. Indeed, the extent of glutathione depletion reflects the severity of disease and marks the earliest known sign of cellular degeneration.
In this new study, using an animal model, researchers demonstrated that cells from younger animals were more resistant to stress than those from older animals. Stress in the younger animal cells did not cause the same rapid loss of glutathione as was seen in those of older animals. Preventative use of NAC increased glutathione levels in the older cells and offset cell death.
These findings are wholly consistent with similar research conducted in human subjects. For example, in a study published earlier this year in PLOS ONE researchers from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia demonstrated a potential benefit of NAC in patients with Parkinson's disease. The study found, using brain imaging studies that tracked levels of dopamine, that subjects who received NAC experienced improvement in both mental and physical abilities.
NAC is a mainstay of many of our treatment strategies. It can definitely play a significant role in preventing the increased toxicity encountered with aging and the corresponding reduction in your body’s ability to eliminate toxins. NAC has the ability to improve cellular resilience that is lost during the aging process. Therefore, using NAC on a regular basis can maintain glutathione levels to provide protection against the ravages of everyday life – poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, interpersonal strife, sleep deprivation, and the aging process itself.
Additionally, modern technology has provided us with the ability to replace your flagging glutathione levels by supplementing with S-Acetyl Glutathione. This form of glutathione has the ability to permeate into the membrane of mitochondria where it helps maintain its integrity and function. It can also cross the blood-brain barrier allowing it to directly detoxify and protect the brain. This form is well-absorbed and more stable throughout the digestive tract than other forms of glutathione on the market. In addition, S-Acetyl glutathione has been found to increase intracellular glutathione and improve many biomarkers of oxidative stress. Taking S-Acetyl Glutathione supplement is a great way to protect ourselves from the health problems associated with aging, poor lifestyle and adverse environmental factors.