Glutathione is found in every cell of the body and is critical to preserving cellular integrity because every single cell needs it to maintain healthy structure and function. GSH is endogenously produced and utilized. We also maintain proper levels of glutathione by eating a healthy diet high in fruits, vegetables and lean protein. Diets are exogenous sources of glutathione independent of our endogenous production. The combination of the two help to maintain proper levels of glutathione. Glutathione is actually a melded molecule — a tripeptide — of the amino acids glutamate, cysteine and glycine. Let’s take a closer look at the three amino acids that compose Setria® glutathione: Glutamate: Glutamate is a key amino acid that acts as a significant mediator of common excitatory signals engendered by the central nervous system (CNS). Glutamate also supports healthy cognition and memory, and is involved in protein synthesis.
Cysteine: Enzymes rely upon cysteine for catalyzation, and this amino is also active in electron-transfer reactions. Cysteine also has antioxidant action due to its ability to be redox reactive. Because cysteine provides a necessary source of sulfur, it assists in healthy metabolism. Further, cysteine is a key detoxifiying amino acid. Glycine: Glycine figures prominently in numerous metabolic processes, and it also is a major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain stem and spinal cord. Glycine has been shown in numerous studies to protect against unhealthy inflammatory response and cytotoxicity, and also to support healthy immune modulation. Through a series of actions, glycine helps prevent formation of free radicals and pro-inflammatory cytokines. Imagine how powerful the combination of glutamine, cysteine and glycine can be — this is Setria® glutathione.
Why Glutathione Decreases
An individual’s entire glutathione store turns over and fluctuates daily as this tripeptide is utilized and re-synthesized. Additionally, to help maintain glutathione, adequate amounts should be acquired from the diet. But, if consumers are not regularly eating high amounts of fruits and vegetables every day, their glutathione stores may likely be low to begin with. And because glutathione is also present in lean meats, vegetarians and vegans are at risk for low circulating levels. However, one research team found that reactive chemicals formed through food processing can destroy up to 150 mg of valuable GSH. They estimated the amount of GSH needed per day to counteract this occurrence may be greater than 300 mg (3).
There is a wide variety of common conditions that deplete glutathione, therefore, most adults can certainly benefit from increasing glutathione consumption, either through diet, supplementation or both. Below are the most common causes of glutathione depletion. Mornings. Glutathione levels are lowest in the morning, after the dawn. Researchers have found that the glutathione cycle is diurnal, like humans. Stores increase in a spiked pattern about six hours after each meal and peak between 2:00 and 3:30 in the morning during slumber, followed by a steep decline.
Aging. As with many de novo biochemicals, production of glutathione declines with age. According to one study, glutathione begins to decline in one’s mid-40s, and that decline accelerates quickly after about age 60 (7). A contributing factor is the aging body’s decreased enzyme availability, and thus activity thereof, as well as a weakened ability to achieve healthy glutathione synthesis.
Poor Diet. Years of poor diet impact health status and well-being in myriad ways, as we all know. But because glutathione is found so abundantly in mother nature’s pantry — fruits and vegetables — it is logical to equate good glutathione status with abundant daily or regular consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Damaging lifestyle habits. Lifestyle habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are detrimental to glutathione status because they dramatically increase the demand for protection. High levels of glutathione are normally maintained in the fluid lining of the lungs (alveolar fluid) in order to detoxify and neutralize harmful inhaled compounds. Glutathione is extensively oxidized in smokers compared to nonsmokers (13). Excessive alcohol consumption depletes glutathione stores in the liver and also places an oxidative burden on the lungs, which is compounded in people who also smoke