TOKYO—Orally administered glutathione (GSH) can transport intact across intestinal epithelial cells, making it readily available for utilization via blood and the liver. (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2014, Oct 1;62(39): 9499-506)
GSH is one of the most prevalent substances in mammalian cells, the body’s major intracellular non-protein thiol compound, and it is essential for regulating homeostatic functions. Also, it’s the most potent systemic means of protecting cells and tissue structures against oxidation. As the body ages or endures chronic disease, a primary signal of its decline include diminishing levels of GSH.
In short, humans need GSH throughout their lives to help preserve health and fight oxidative stress from within and without.
Recent research conducted by Canada’s University of Guelph and Japan’s Kyushu University, with findings presented by KOHJIN Life Sciences, laid to rest certain presumptions about the nature of GSH uptake that had traditionally called into question its bioavailability, and thus, its value in defending cell integrity.
Prior studies had failed to show increased serum levels of GSH after ingestion. Some concluded that orally-induced GSH was degraded early on in the system by peptidases into glutathione precursors, such as N-acetylcysteine (NAC) – that this is all that appears at the intestinal epithelial cell surface, and that there is no clear evidence that it holds benefits for healthy adults.
The new study demonstrates conclusively, and shows through spectrometric imaging, that GSH is in fact present, that uptake is rapid and not proton-dependent, and that rather than maintaining a configuration of free GSH in plasma, a part of the GSH is converted into GSSG, which makes it difficult to gauge by conventional measurement. In short, GSH was shown to be present and available intact, once observers were shown where, and how, to look for it.
This breakthrough proof opens the way to including food-based GSH in the daily health regimen with confidence, as central to the essential work of detoxifying free radicals and oxygen-reactive species involved in pathogenic disease. For increasingly health-conscious consumers, it means reducing the impact of allergens, increasing productivity by aiding resistance against seasonal illness, enhancing the body’s ability to recover from vigorous exercise, and helping all individuals to assume the full, energetic life they envision for themselves.
For more information on this important antioxidant, check out INSIDER’S glutathione Digital Pulse.