There are some medications and supplements that are not well known but have a wide range of possible applications. Medications like low dose naltrexone (LDN) are used by doctors all over the world and have many possible uses. Yet many people do not know about LDN or how it could benefit their condition. Glutathione (GSH) is one of those treatments that has the potential to improve many diseases but is not yet widely known and utilized.
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione is a molecule naturally produced in the body and is essential for antioxidant defense. It is important to the immune system and helps remove pollutants from the body. Cellular functioning normally results in some buildup of free radicals that must be removed with the help of glutathione molecules. In some cases however the number of free radicals becomes greater than the body’s ability to remove them. This can be due to some factor increasing the amount of toxins in the body or to a decrease in levels of GSH.
What Causes Decreased Glutathione?
With age comes a natural decline in production of GSH. However there are also many possible lifestyle and environmental factors that can contribute to low levels. Glutathione is normally recycled in the body but this process can be interrupted by factors like a poor diet, smoking, environmental toxins, injuries, and stress. Since this molecule plays such an essential role in removing antioxidants from the body, when levels decrease it leads to increased free radicals and oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress occurs when there is a greater production of free radicals than the level of GSH can handle. This slows the normal repair process that occurs as cells produce energy and the body eliminates toxins. Decreased glutathione hinders the body’s ability to repair itself and can lead to an accumulation of toxins.
When glutathione as a supplement is taken orally it results in a very low absorption and bioavailability. The supplement tends to break down in the gastrointestinal tract and much of it does not reach cells unless it is made into a liposomal form. The liposomal form prevents the breakdown that occurs with regular glutathione capsules. However there are other methods of delivery for supplementation besides oral capsules that have also proven to be effective.
Administration of Glutathione Supplement
Since oral administration has proven to provide low glutathione bioavailability, other methods are usually used for administering supplementation. In hospitals and some doctors’ offices, glutathione is administered with an IV or a shot. This is an effective way to increase bioavailable glutathione immediately. However many individuals do not want to have to go to a doctor’s office to get GSH supplementation or do not want to use a needle. Various delivery methods are available that can be used at home including an atomized solution, cream, and suppository.
Glutathione can be delivered as an atomized solution using a Rhino Clear Sprint atomizer. This atomizer is applied to the nasal passages and sends small particles of GSH into the sinuses. The atomized GSH particles enter the bloodstream to effectively increase levels systemically. Intranasal delivery has proven to be the best way to deliver this supplement at home. Other alternatives that can be used at home include creams and suppositories. Both of these will result in greater bioavailability than an oral capsule, are safe, and require no needles or visits to a doctor’s office.
Quality control is important when considering where to buy a glutathione supplement. At our compounding pharmacy we make glutathione solution for atomized delivery to the highest standards to ensure safety and efficacy. When applying medication within the nasal passages it is important for it to be free of contaminants. Our atomized solution is a safe way to deliver glutathione to treat a wide range of conditions.
Conditions That May Benefit From GSH Supplementation
GSH’s essential role in toxin removal and the immune system make it an effective supplement for treating many conditions. Diseases that have an onset during old age are often associated with declining levels of glutathione. This decrease leads to an inability to eliminate free radicals that cause cell damage. Other diseases that have been associated with decreased GSH include Parkinson’s, autism, and CIRS. According to Dr. Mark Hyman on his blog:
“In treating chronically ill patients with Functional Medicine for more than 10 years, I have discovered that glutathione deficiency is found in nearly all very ill patients. These include people with chronic fatigue syndrome, heart disease, cancer, chronic infections, autoimmune disease, diabetes, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, asthma, kidney problems, liver disease and more.”
A few important possible applications of glutathione include:
Parkinson’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases: Glutathione depletion is one of the first warning signs of Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Administration of intranasal GSH in Parkinson’s patients has been shown to significantly increase bioavailable levels in the brain.
HIV: For individuals with HIV, low levels of GSH predict a decreased survival rate. Supplementation with N-acetylcysteine, which increases GSH levels, has been shown to improve chances of survival from HIV.
Cancer: Glutathione can have a protective effect on cells to prevent the development of cancer. It is also sometimes used in hospitals to prevent chemotherapy side effects.
CIRS and Biotoxin Illness: GSH is used along with binders like cholestyramine for eliminating mold toxins from the body.
Metal and Drug Poisoning: Glutathione helps the liver remove metals and other toxic substances. Chelators like DMSA work through the kidneys to remove metals. Adding GSH supplementation can help the liver to eliminate toxins as well.