024: Why You Should Manage Your Glutathione Status and How to Do It
Mastering Nutrition Episode 24
Glutathione is central to recovery from exercise, feeling good, looking good, aging gracefully, and preventing or overcoming both infectious diseases and chronic degenerative diseases. Episode 24 covers everything you need to know about why and how to manage your glutathione status.
In this episode, you will find all of the following and more:
0:00:35 Cliff Notes
0:03:48 Introducing my new health and wellness packages
0:06:25 The health benefits of glutathione: master antioxidant, central to liver detoxification and the defense against glycation, master controller of hundreds of proteins, mucus fluidity, bronchodilation, anti-aging, protection against diabetes and its complications including cataracts and cardiovascular disease, protection against Hashimoto’s and other thyroid disorders, protection against infectious diseases by supporting the immune system, protection against congestion, COPD, asthma, and other lung problems.
0:18:20 How to measure glutathione status
0:23:30 The synthesis, recycling, and regulation of glutathione
0:30:03 Practical strategies to improve glutathione status: protein, vitamin B6, carbohydrate, whey protein and raw milk, bone broth and collagen, magnesium, metabolic rate, polyphenols and other phytonutrients as Nrf2 inducers, glutathione in foods, N-acetyl-cysteine and glutathione supplements, insulin and insulin resistance, MTHFR mutations, glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin
0:57:28 Tying it all together
Lab Tests Mentioned in this Episode
Glutathione Lab Tests
Recommended: Health Diagnostics Research Institute (HDRI) methylation panel, which includes glutathione in its reduced and oxidized forms.
Acceptable, but not best: LabCorp glutathione
Related Lab Tests
Methylation genetics can be evaluated using your 23andMe raw data file with StrateGene.
It is very difficult to find erythrocyte transketolase from labs commonly used in the US. Erythrocyte transketolase is the ideal marker of thiamin status. This British pathology lab offers it, as does this clinic in Barcelona, and this medical referral lab in London. Quest and LabCorp test thiamin concentrations in the blood, though this is mainly a marker of recent intake rather than long-term status.
Glutathione Redox Status Calculator
If you obtain plasma measurements of glutathione in its reduced and oxidized forms, you can plug them into this calculator to obtain your plasma glutathione redox status in millivolts (mV). This is an integrated number that summarizes the stress placed on your glutathione pool and the ability of that pool to protect you from oxidative stress and to maintain the proteins under its control in a healthy state.
For the calculation to be accurate, the measurements have to be from plasma (not from red blood cells or from other tissues) and have to be in μmol/L. You can obtain these measurements from the HDRI methylation panel.
Interpreting Your Glutathione Redox Status
While the data are far from ready for diagnostic prime time, I think it makes sense to view the optimal glutathione redox status as close to -150 mV. The range between -140 and -150 is associated with youth, and I suspect keeping it in that range over time will allow one to age more gracefully.
The average glutathione redox status for adults through the age of 45 is about -148 mV, with the majority having values between -140 and -150 and most having values between -130 and -160. After the age of 45, the average magnitude of the redox status decreases linearly with age by about 7 mV per decade.
When people between the ages of 44 and 85 are pooled together, smoking cigarettes is associated with an average loss of 9 mV, which is equivalent to about 13 years of aging.
Compared to people under 45 (-148 mV), nonsmokers in the next four decades (-137 mV), and smokers in the next four decades (-128 mV), asthma is associated with a much stronger decrement. Mild to moderate asthma is associated with -120 mV, and severe asthma with -94 mV.
Chronic alcoholism is associated with an average redox status close to -100 mV, an association that is more variable among nonsmokers and more consistent among smokers.
All of the data in this section is from observational studies, and the aging associations are cross-sectional in nature. We should keep in mind that no one has tracked individuals over time to see how their glutathione redox status changes over decades, and no one has shown that these represent cause-and-effect relationships. Nevertheless, there is a wealth of mechanistic information that makes it not only plausible but reasonable to view these as cause-and-effect relationships with enough confidence to act on them, so I think it makes sense to try to implement practical strategies to maintain the redox status in the range associated with health and youth.
Other Glutathione Links and Research Mentioned in this Episode
My other writings on glutathione, rich in references, covering whey protein in raw milk and a variety of other topics.
My doctoral dissertation was on glutathione
A review on the synthesis of glutathione
A review on Nrf2
Oral glutathione enriches tissue glutathione in mice treated with BSO, which blocks all glutathione synthesis, showing that it can be taken up by most cells in tact when needed.
Humans make about 185 mg of glutathione per day.
250 mg or 1000 mg of oral glutathione over six months improves glutathione status in humans.
Sublingual glutathione seems to offer advantages over regular glutathione and N-acetyl-cysteine during a three-week period, but is it more than three times better? That’s how much more it costs.
Right now Jarrow oral glutathione is my preferred choice for a supplement.
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