Glutathione (GSH) is a powerful antioxidant that plays a critical role in maintaining our health. It is a very important molecule, working in every cell of our bodies where most of its efforts go to maintaining homeostasis and protecting us from oxidative stress.
To understand the importance of glutathione, we must understand cell redox. Cell redox is a shortened term for Cellular Reduction and Oxidation. This occurs when cells lose (reduction) or gain (oxidation) electrons. These reactions are happening constantly throughout the body. They allow us to break down our food into usable energy, regulate the life/death cycles of different cells, supply helpful immune reactions, and much more.
The processes of cell redox create unused molecules of oxygen that have an unpaired electron. These are called reactive oxygen species or “free radicals”.
Since electrons are more stable in pairs, free radicals roam the body, looking for other unpaired electrons to join. Some free radical activity is helpful but if they are not managed effectively, these molecules will disrupt normal cell functions and damage cells, proteins, and DNA. If left unchecked, this can cause a great deal of harm. We call this imbalance oxidative stress.
Why is Glutathione So Important?
In small amounts, oxidative stress is a normal part of bodily functions, particularly when we need our immune system to protect us from illness or external stressors like pollution or injury. Too much oxidative stress, however, has been correlated with signs of aging, chronic inflammation, and disease.
Glutathione protects us by lending oxygen to free radicals, turning these harmful substances into safer molecules that our body can get rid of or reuse. GSH also does this with cells, helping them complete their reactions or triggering them to break down so that new cells can take their place.
If there are too many free radicals and not enough glutathione to process them, oxidative stress can overwhelm the body, throwing us out of homeostasis and making us more prone to a host of health issues.
How Do We Get Enough Glutathione?
Unlike other common substances like Vitamin C or iron, humans do not absorb glutathione well from external sources like food. Instead, our bodies mainly create glutathione using three basic amino acids: glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine.
There are some people whose bodies cannot create GSH at all and must take regular supplements. But even in healthy bodies, glutathione production declines with age, leaving us vulnerable.
Research shows we are born with a high level of glutathione that continues to increase as we grow, reaching its peak around ages 12 – 24. After that, our ability to produce GSH diminishes, often just when we need more of it. This can create troublesome imbalances and oxidative stress, particularly for older people.
How Can I Supplement My Glutathione?
Functional medicine practitioners are increasingly prescribing supplemental GSH as part of holistic treatments for chronic health problems. Many people also choose to use topical GSH to help with health concerns from acne to lowering cancer risk.
Topical formulations are currently the best delivery method for glutathione but not all of these are made the same! When developing Auro’s innovative, patented, transdermal GSH supplements, founder Dr. Nayan Patel and his partner Dr. Chinh Tran:
“Worked to shrink and stabilize the glutathione molecule, leading to the developments of a form of GSH that’s easily absorbed through the skin.” – Glutathione Revolution, Introduction
This sub-nanotechnology creates highly potent and absorbable formulations that go right to work improving your health.
To learn more about how GSH can enhance your life, check out Dr. Patel’s thorough explanation of Glutathione in Glutathione Revolution.