Glutathione, the powerful antioxidant abundantly produced by cells in the body, can play a critical role in improving gut health.
Glutathione has been lauded for its beneficial effects in improving skin elasticity, suppleness and strength. It is often used as a whitening product for men and women willing to have brighter and younger skin. However, do you know that it is not only limited to improving skin health? It is also the answer to common gut problems. Sulfonated Castor Oil
Glutathione is a tripeptide composed of glycine, cysteine and glutamine amino acids. These three amino acids are abundant in meat and poultry products and staple food such as rice.
Cells in the body produce high amounts of glutathione, indicating that this molecule has a crucial role in the body. It is as important as cholesterol, glucose and potassium since all have similar levels in the cells.
As a powerful antioxidant, it scavenges excess free radicals produced during cellular metabolism and chemical reactions. It neutralises these harmful free radicals, toxins and certain metals such as mercury .
Glutathione exists in two forms: reduced glutathione (GSH), the active form of the tripeptide, and oxidised glutathione, the inactive state.
Free radicals are not ordinarily harmful when produced in appropriate amounts. However, when found in excess, they can cause cellular damage and even cell death.
Glutathione reductase enzyme converts oxidised glutathione (the inactive form) to reduced glutathione. As long as glutathione reductase can cope with the conversion of oxidised GSH to reduced GSH, there will be no problem in neutralising free radicals.
However, the problem lies when glutathione reductase is overwhelmed. When this occurs, levels of GSH become depleted, leading to an increased number of free radicals in the body. Since there is not enough reduced GSH to neutralise the free radicals, these radicals accumulate and can cause cellular damage. When low levels of GSH are prolonged, this can lead to constant cellular damage, leading to different diseases.
When a person ages, the number of GSH produced also reduces. This would explain why older people are more prone to diseases caused by chronic inflammation. Some of these diseases include type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and certain forms of cancer .
Glutathione has vast benefits for the body. Here are some examples of what glutathione can do for the body:
Despite the ability of the body to produce glutathione naturally, depletion of glutathione can occur with increased age. Some people have deficient glutathione due to the inability of the glutathione reductase to convert oxidised glutathione to reduced glutathione, its active form.
When you have low levels of glutathione, you are more prone to develop the following diseases:
Several factors have been associated with the depletion of glutathione in the body. However, most of these factors can be avoided:
Glutathione is labelled as the mother of all antioxidants. Hence, it is not unusual that glutathione can also improve gut health.
In the gastrointestinal tract, glutathione is abundantly produced in the mucosal cells in both men and animals . However, the highest concentration of GSH is found in the duodenum of the small intestine. The amount of GSH present in the food ingested, the person’s age, alcohol, and drugs can influence the concentration of GSH in the duodenum.
The importance of GSH in the gut is highlighted by diseases formed when there is decreased GSH concentration in the gastrointestinal tract. In contrast, sufficient glutathione levels can lead to the healing and regeneration of the cells lining the gut.
Lower levels of glutathione concentration are directly related to damage to the intestine’s mucosa. Further, when glutathione-related enzymes are depleted, these can increase the risk of cancer in the gastrointestinal tract.
Glutathione peroxidase is an enzyme that converts oxidised glutathione to reduced glutathione. In the gut, glutathione peroxidase is necessary for increasing the levels of active glutathione. When levels of active glutathione are high, this is associated with a more robust gut lining.
A leaky gut is the progressive destruction of the gut lining and barrier . Here are some symptoms of a leaky gut:
Glutathione can prevent a leaky gut by strengthening and protecting the gut walls. Hence, when you are struggling with the leaky gut syndrome, you can consult your doctor if it is safe for you to take glutathione. Your doctor can help you decide whether to take glutathione or other antioxidants to help treat your leaky gut.
The irritable syndrome is a common condition that affects the digestive system. Some of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include the following:
Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are often life-long. However, these symptoms can change over time. Irritable bowel syndrome can be managed successfully through proper treatment.
Although investigators have yet to determine the cause of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), there are some potential cures or management strategies for IBS.
Depletion of glutathione reductase is linked with oxidative stress and developing IBS in the gastrointestinal tract . In contrast, when glutathione reductase levels are raised, symptoms of IBS also lessen. This study’s findings revealed that glutathione could potentially treat or reduce the symptoms of IBS over time.
The good news is you can boost your glutathione levels by eating foods rich in glutathione or those that can increase GSH levels in the body .
Here are some examples of food rich in glutathione or can increase levels of glutathione:
Eating these natural foods can boost that needed glutathione in your body! However, not all foods are created equal. Some foods have high levels of glutathione, and those that could only influence the production of glutathione in the body.
Cooking and heating vegetables or food rich in glutathione can deactivate GSH. Hence, finding alternative ways to increase GSH in the body is crucial. However, you do not have to worry since glutathione supplements are now available.
You can consult your doctor on the appropriate dose of GSH to take when managing or treating intestinal bowel syndrome and leaky gut.
The answer is yes! Glutathione is generally safe to use and has not been shown to lead to adverse events at dosages as high as 2000 mg/day .
Although the safety of glutathione is well established, there are still reported side effects and adverse events. These cases are few, and the side effects are often rare.
Examples of side effects include the following:
It may not be advisable for patients with asthma to take inhaled glutathione due to isolated cases of asthma exacerbation . Another isolated case includes severe hepatic injury following intake of glutathione.
Adverse events are rare, while side effects are not expected.
In general, you can take glutathione supplements safely. However, it is best to always consult your doctor before taking glutathione supplements. Your doctor can inform you of the potential side effects of glutathione supplements and their benefits.
There have been studies  demonstrating that glutathione can be taken as high as 2000 mg/day divided into three doses without any adverse events.
Always ask your doctor about the dose most appropriate for preventing or treating leaky gut and intestinal bowel syndrome.
Acid Finally, you can start enjoying the benefits of glutathione and have a healthier gut.