It is a powerful antioxidant found in fruits, vegetables, and animal products. In humans, it is naturally produced in the liver. As an antioxidant, it plays a vital role in protecting our cells from damage by by-products of metabolism. In fact, it is the most important antioxidant in our body.
It is vital for DNA synthesis and repair, thus having an anti-aging effect. It is essential for the production of a plethora of biologically active substances in our body, from prostaglandin to various enzymes.
Practically every bodily system may suffer in case of a deficit of glutathione; it is necessary for the functioning of nervous system, gastrointestinal system, lungs, and immune system.
It has been demonstrated that without glutathione body cannot metabolize iron. Glutathione is vital at every stage of the cell cycle, from growth to death.
Glutathione supplementation has found use in a vast number of diseases; it is thought to help in cancer, AIDS, heart disease, alcoholism, asthma, liver diseases, eye disorders like cataract or glaucoma, chronic fatigue, neurodegenerative diseases, osteoarthritis, to name the few.
Glutathione is given as an intravenous shot to protect cells from the toxic effect of drugs used to treat cancer and is also thought to improve the sperm count and motility.
Being found in every cell of our body, it plays an essential role in cellular life. Without it, we cannot survive.
Considering so many benefits of glutathione, it makes sense to supplement it, especially if you are in intensive physical training.
Any side effects or interactions? Well, it is one of the most well-studied products in the scientific literature, and till date, no side effect or interaction with any product has been demonstrated.
Glutathione is a small amino acid molecule that is made up of L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid, and glycine. Though supplementing it makes sense, but the problem is in its absorption from our intestine. Glutathione molecule is too big to be absorbed via intestine in large quantities if taken as a supplement internally, the only small amount of it can enter the intestines. Moreover, the problem does not end here, even after absorption there is no way for it to enter our cells, where it is required most.
So how to boost the levels of glutathione. Well, the more efficient and cheaper way is to eat more of food that is rich in the production materials for glutathione. That is eating whey protein, or instead take supplements rich in L-cysteine or N-acetyl-cysteine.
Although for reasons mentioned above, that is weak absorption and inability to enter cells may indicate that taking glutathione as an oral supplement would not make any sense. Nonetheless, this is not the case. Oral supplementation has its own benefits. Once taken orally, the only small quantity of it would enter the bloodstream. Increased levels of glutathione in the blood have been shown to decrease the breakdown of nitric oxide markedly. Glutathione supplementation would boost the nitro oxide, especially if used along with L-Arginine, and L-Citrulline supplements.
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