COVID-19 is, unsurprisingly, at the forefront of many people’s minds. Most people want to know how they can protect themselves from the virus and what supplements they should take to help with prevention and treatment. Glutathione (or GSH) is one supplement in particular that has gained a lot of buzz.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the relationship between glutathione and COVID-19 to see if this supplement can help with fighting the virus.
What is COVID-19 and What Symptoms Does It Cause
Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there, so we must define what COVID-19 is before we can understand how it interacts with glutathione. According to the CDC,
“Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. There are many types of human coronaviruses, including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.”
COVID-19 is related to cold and flu viruses and can cause similar symptoms: fever, chills, fatigue, cough, congestion, and nausea or vomiting. However, it can also create neurological symptoms like confusion, trouble breathing, or loss of taste or smell. In some cases, it causes a “cytokine storm”, a dramatic increase in inflammation that can lead to multisystem organ failure. These severe cases occur much more often in the elderly or people with certain underlying medical conditions.
The Glutathione COVID-19 Connection
Glutathione plays an important role in regulating cell redox: the reactions within and between our cells that keep our bodies functioning. One byproduct of these reactions is free radicals. Normally, GSH turns free radicals into harmless molecules and helps the body get rid of them. Too many free radicals or not enough GSH can throw cell redox out of balance, eventually leading to damaged cells, proteins, and DNA, a process called oxidative stress.
Viruses like COVID-19 infect the body by hijacking cellular processes to replicate and spread. Studies show that glutathione helps protect cells from this attack and controls oxidative stress so that the immune system can eliminate the invader. This limits the virus and may help prevent deadly cytokine storms.
In addition, patients with severe COVID-19 tend to have low glutathione levels as well as imbalances in cell redox and high oxidative stress. Low GSH can come from factors like age, prior disease, smoking, or poor diet. High viral loads may also interfere with our ability to create GSH, worsening the problem.
Can Glutathione Prevent or Treat COVID-19?
Since COVID-19 appeared recently, there is much we don’t yet know. Specifically, we do not know if glutathione supplementation on its own can reduce the chances of catching the virus or treat active cases, aside from its normal role in protecting cellular functions and eliminating free radicals. However, early data indicates that supplementing glutathione or its precursor, N-Acetylcysteine, can help patients recover from severe COVID-19 infections, perhaps by rebalancing cell redox to reduce inflammation.
The best defense against any illness is maintaining a healthy lifestyle with moderate exercise, a balanced diet, and low toxin exposure. However, this may be difficult to achieve in modern (or quarantined) life. If you are concerned that your GSH levels are not what they should be, then you may want to consider supplementation. Transdermal supplements, like Auro Wellness Glutaryl, are the most effective way to absorb glutathione so you can be sure you’re limiting oxidative stress and keeping your cells healthy.
And of course, maintain social distancing around others and wash your hands frequently. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
If you’re interested in learning more about glutathione and its role in preventing and fighting illness, be sure to check out Dr. Nayan Patel’s book Glutathione Revolution.