Bioavailability and supplementation
Systemic bioavailability of orally consumed glutathione is poor because the tripeptide is the substrate of proteases (peptidases) of the alimentary canal, and due to the absence of a specific carrier of glutathione at the level of cell membrane.
Because direct supplementation of glutathione is not always successful, supply of the raw nutritional materials used to generate GSH, such as cysteine and glycine, may be more effective at increasing glutathione levels. Other antioxidants such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C) may also work synergistically with glutathione, preventing depletion of either. The glutathione-ascorbate cycle, which works to detoxify hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), is one very specific example of this phenomenon.
Additionally, compounds such as N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and alpha lipoic acid (ALA, not to be confused with the unrelated alpha-linolenic acid) are both capable of helping to regenerate glutathione levels. NAC in particular is commonly used to treat overdose of acetaminophen, a type of potentially fatal poisoning which is harmful in part due to severe depletion of glutathione levels. It is a precursor of cysteine.
Calcitriol (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3), the active metabolite of vitamin D3, after being synthesized from calcifediol in the kidney, increases glutathione levels in the brain and appears to be a catalyst for glutathione production. About ten days are needed for the body to process vitamin D3 into calcitriol.
S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), a cosubstrate involved in methyl group transfer, has also been shown to increase cellular glutathione content in persons suffering from a disease-related glutathione deficiency.
Low glutathione is commonly observed in wasting and negative nitrogen balance, as seen in cancer, HIV/AIDS, sepsis, trauma, burns, and athletic overtraining. Low levels are also observed in periods of starvation. These effects are hypothesized to be influenced by the higher glycolytic activity associated with cachexia, which result from reduced levels of oxidative phosphorylation.
You’d think being glutathionepathway.com, our number one health supplement suggestion would be glutathione, end of story! Unfortunately it’s not true… while supplementing glutathione has many potential health benefits our absolute favorite health supplement and number one recommendation to anyone is Vitamin D3. …