Tag Archives: Glutathione

All About Antioxidants

AntioxidentsJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

To understand the role of antioxidants in the body, one must first understand oxidation and to the same extent oxidative stress. Every bodily function requires oxygen in varying degrees and oxidation occurs as a result of normal respiration. As we know, oxygen is so essential to life that the human body won’t survive much beyond three minutes without it. Yet, the process of oxygenation plays a role in the breakdown of our body’s functionality, potentially damaging cellular proteins, lipids and DNA. This occurs when oxygen interacts with certain molecules, creating cell damaging, highly reactive and unstable free oxygen radicals. While the body produces important antioxidants to combat cell damage, oxidative stress occurs when the production of free radicals goes beyond the body’s protective mechanisms, creating an imbalance between pro-oxidants and antioxidants.

While the body does require some free radical cells for cell signaling and immune defense, high levels of free radicals can lead to dysfunction and disease. In addition to oxidation, free radicals can be the result of poor nutrition, chronic stress, cigarette smoke, alcohol consumption, inflammation, environmental pollutants, x-rays, heavy metals and sunlight exposure. Once formed, these free radicals begin plundering and pillaging from other normal healthy cells in their quest to find electrons and become “whole.” When free radicals react with important cellular components, such as DNA or the cell membrane, cells begin to function poorly and die. Free radical damage is implicated in the aging process, as well as the development of other chronic diseases, including the formation of certain cancers, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cataracts and other age related chronic illnesses.

Thus, the importance of antioxidants in keeping our bodies in balance and toxin free. Produced by the body and obtained through food and supplements, antioxidants provide critical defense by becoming oxidized: meaning they donate electrons to stabilize and neutralize free radicals without becoming damaged themselves. Bruce Ames, a biochemist at the University of California at Berkeley, estimates that every cell endures 10,000 oxidative hits each day from errant free radicals and most are immediately repaired, as the body has evolved a broad spectrum of protective responses to combat free radical damage.

Those wishing to increase their intake of antioxidants should be sure to eat healthy servings of rainbow colored fruits and vegetables daily, as plants have evolved to produce nutrients that counteract the oxidative stress they endure as a result of photosynthesis. Those who need just one more reason to get off the couch for daily exercise should note that although exercise causes oxidative stress, those who exercise regularly become highly efficient at detoxifying free radicals, offsetting the free radicals generated. Occasional exercisers and weekend warriors beware. Chemist Richard G. Cutler of the Gerontology Research Center of the National Institute of Aging suggests “weekend exercising may be as bad for you as binge sunbathing.” Regular exercise builds up a protection against oxidative stress, while weekend or occasional exercise may actually accelerate the aging process.

Glutathione, sometimes called “the Mother of all antioxidants,” is a master detoxifier, critical immune system supporter and antioxidant recycler. While glutathione is produced by the body, it’s easily depleted by stress, medications, pollution, poor diet, aging, illness and radiation. People with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune diseases are often found to be deficient in glutathione. Unsurprisingly, our ability to produce and maintain a high level of glutathione is critical to preventing disease and maintaining optimal health. Glutathione has been shown to support peak mental and physical functions. Healthy levels of glutathione help to increase strength and endurance, decrease muscle damage and reduce exercise recovery time.

According to Mark Hyman, M.D., you can optimize your glutathione levels by consuming sulfur-rich foods, exercising 30 minutes each day, and supplementing with selenium, alpha lipoic acid, milk thistle and vitamins A, C and E, which work together to recycle glutathione.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality products for antioxidant support:

AntiOxidant Formula by Pure EncapsulationsAntiOxidant Formula by Pure Encapsulations – This synergistic, broad spectrum formula offers a range of antioxidant nutrients to promote cellular health and enhance the body’s natural defense system against free radicals. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO formulation.

 

BioProtect (Full Spectrum Antioxidant Supplement) by Biotics ResearchBioProtect by Biotics Research – This natural antioxidant formula supplies antioxidant vitamins, minerals, CoQ10 and amino acids for broad spectrum support against free radical damage and oxidative stress. Gluten free.

 

Liposomal Glutathione (HEAT SENSITIVE PRODUCT) by Empirical LabsLiposomal Glutathione by Empirical Labs – This all natural liposomal reduced glutathione formula provides 500 mg of the most potent and versatile antioxidant delivered in a scientifically studied method for maximum absorption. Non-GMO formulation.

 

S-Acetyl Glutathione Synergy by Designs for HealthS-Acetyl Glutathione Synergy by Designs for Health – This product supplies 200 mg of an acetylated form of glutathione for optimal absorption and bioavailability. Gluten free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

 

Liposomal Glutathione by Pure EncapsulationsLiposomal Glutathione by Pure Encapsulations – This product offers support for cellular function, homeostasis, and free radical protection with a highly absorbable form of liposomal glutathione. Non-GMO formulation.

 

References:
Understanding Oxidative Stress. http://www.preventive-health-guide.com/oxidative-stress.html
Antioxidants and free radicals.  http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/antiox.html
Free Radicals; The Price We Pay For Breathing. http://www.nytimes.com/1993/04/25/magazine/free-radicals-the-price-we-pay-for-breathing.html?pagewanted=all
Glutathione: The Mother of All Antioxidants. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/glutathione-the-mother-of_b_530494.html
What are Antioxidants. http://www.news-medical.net/health/What-are-Antioxidants.aspx

The Multitasking Liver

LiverBy Susan Brown

The liver is a vital organ with a wide range of functions.  As the second largest organ in your body, the liver plays a major role in metabolism and produces biochemicals necessary for digestion.  Liver functions include glycogen storage, decomposition of red blood cells, plasma protein synthesis, hormone production and detoxification.  The liver is thought to be responsible for over 500 separate functions.  Some of the important tasks the liver performs include:

  • Nutrient breakdown.  Everything consumed, whether nutritious or not, must be broken down before the nutrients can be utilized by the body.  The liver produces bile which helps carry away waste and break down fats in the small intestine during the digestion process. 
  • Storage and creation.  The liver processes all foods including carbohydrates, proteins, and fats and converts them into glucose.  While glucose is circulating throughout your body nourishing your organs and cells, the liver is converting excess glucose to glycogen which is stored for later use.  The liver produces cholesterol and special proteins which help carry fats throughout the body. 
  • The liver removes toxic substances from the bloodstream.  The liver helps to fight infections by producing immune factors and cleansing the blood of bacteria. 

The liver is an amazingly tenacious organ.  It can lose three-quarters of its cells before it stops functioning and is the only organ that can regenerate itself.  Because of its strategic location and its multidimensional functions, the liver is prone to infections and disease.  Common liver problems include hepatitis, alcohol damage, fatty liver, cirrhosis, cancer and drug damage.

Viral hepatitis is a liver inflammation caused by a viral infection.  Hepatitis infections can be acute or chronic.

  • Hepatitis A is often a result of eating contaminated food or water.  Most people recover from a hepatitis A infection although some residual effects can remain for up to one year.  Thorough hand washing, especially when preparing food, is the best way to prevent the spread of hepatitis A.  A vaccine is available that can prevent infection for up to 10 years.
  • Hepatitis B can cause both an acute or a chronic condition.  Hepatitis B is generally transferred through contact with blood or bodily fluids.  Chronic hepatitis B can evolve into life threatening cirrhosis and liver cancer.  Approximately 65% of patients in treatment for hepatitis B receive a sustained response.  A lifetime vaccine is available that will prevent infection from hepatitis B.
  • Hepatitis C is also transmitted though contact with blood or bodily fluids.  Hepatitis C usually leads to chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis.  Hepatitis C is the most common chronic blood-borne infection in the United States.  All persons with hepatitis C should avoid alcohol and should be immunized against both hepatitis A and B.  Presently there is no vaccine that will prevent this virus.
  • Fatty liver disease (FLD) is a preventable illness in which large vacuoles of triglyceride fat accumulate in the liver cells.  Fatty liver has multiple causes including excessive alcohol intake and obesity with or without insulin resistance.  The accumulation of these fats may also be accompanied by progressive inflammation of the liver.  If treated at an early stage, this condition is often reversible.  Gradual weight loss, dietary changes, and/or medications that decrease insulin resistance are often the recommendations for improved liver function.  FLD, commonly associated with metabolic syndrome, is found in 75% of obese people largely from a prolonged diet containing foods with a high proportion of calories coming from lipids (fats).
  • Cirrhosis is a disease that causes permanent scarring of the liver.  In cirrhosis, normal liver cells are replaced by scar tissue that is unable to perform any liver function eventually resulting in liver failure.
  • Alcohol related liver disease is due to excessive consumption and is the most common preventable cause of liver disease.

Your internal organs are working round the clock to keep you healthy and functioning.  Most of us give little thought to what we eat and drink each day.  Prevention is always the best route to take when addressing your general health.  As with any illness that comes with lifestyle choices, the best time to think about your health is now.  To prevent liver disease and other chronic diseases, talk with your healthcare provider regarding vaccinations, maintain a healthy weight, eat a healthy, nutritious diet, exercise regularly, limit alcohol intake, follow dosing instructions on all medications and avoid risky behaviors. 

Supplements to support the liver: 

Liver Cleanse (SF769) by Thorne Research is a potent combination of herbs that work synergistically to enhance the function of the liver and is specifically helpful during a comprehensive detoxification program.  The herbs in this formula enhance the production and flow of bile, which helps to optimize metabolism and the elimination of substances detoxified by the liver.

Liver Support by Vital Nutrients  is a unique combination of herbal extracts that works synergistically to support liver function, and nutritionally support and protect liver cells from free radical damage.  Silybin, one of the primary constituents of milk thistle, supports the liver’s efforts to remove chemicals, drugs, alcohol, and other exogenous toxins. 

Liver Support, Q. by Quantum Nutrition Labs  is a key nutraceutical liver formula.  It is an effective, broad-spectrum phytonutrient complex that promotes optimal detoxification, rejuvenation and healthy liver support.

Silymarin by Pure Encapsulations  is a milk thistle extract that nutritionally supports liver function. This highly active botanical protects the liver from free radical damage, supports glutathione concentrations and promotes superoxide dismutase activity.  Milk thistle extract also stimulates protein synthesis in hepatic cells.

Hepato Synergy (K-69) by Apex Energetics  integrates four synergistic formulas that work together to support normal hepatic detoxification.  These products support detoxification, hepatic cell growth, methylation reactions, hormone excretion, glutathione synthesis and recycling, and RNA synthesis.

Glutathione 250 mg by Now Foods  is a tripeptide, consisting of the three amino acids, cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine.  Glutathione is found and manufactured in every cell in the body, but is found in highest concentrations in the heart, muscle tissue and the liver.  Glutathione is critical for healthy immune system function and necessary for various liver detoxification processes.  Glutathione also acts as an antioxidant that works to prevent oxidative stress in most cells and helps to trap free radicals that can damage DNA and RNA.  Milk thistle extract and alpha lipoic acid are included to enhance glutathione’s liver supporting properties.