[Effects of Glutathione] Important for Brain as Well? 3 Benefits of Glutathione, the King of Antioxidant

[Effects of Glutathione] Important for Brain as Well? 3 Benefits of Glutathione, the King of Antioxidant

Dec 03, 2023KimSunhyo

[Effects of Glutathione] Important for Brain as Well? 3 Benefits of Glutathione, the King of Antioxidant

3 Benefits of Glutathione, the King of Antioxidant
This content is health information about ingredients and not directly related to a specific product.
Effects of Glutathione
1. Improves liver function indicators for fatty liver patients
2. Protects Brain nerves
3. Improves insulin resistance

Hello, I am Jinny, a pharmacist.

Glutathione, a component that was relatively unknown just a few years ago, has gained a lot of popularity recently. It is widely recognized for its benefits to the skin, especially as a primary component in treatments like "whitening injection" for skin whitening and wrinkle improvement.

While there's no doubt that glutathione is a great ingredient for the skin, it is more than that; it's an essential "antioxidant" in our bodies. Antioxidants are substances that help remove reactive oxygen species, considered the culprits behind various diseases and aging.

Glutathione not only prevents cell damage caused by these reactive oxygen species but also plays a crucial role in the body's antioxidant system by regenerating other antioxidants. This is why it's sometimes referred to as the "king of antioxidants" or the "master key of the antioxidant system."

Today, let's take a closer look at the potent antioxidant action of glutathione, something we might not have been fully aware of until now.

1. Improves Liver Function Indicators for Fatty Liver Patients

Are you aware that glutathione is used as a pharmaceutical for liver treatment? The liver plays a crucial role in detoxifying various substances, including drugs, alcohol, and other toxic compounds. During the detoxification process, a significant amount of reactive oxygen species is generated in the liver. Therefore, the antioxidant properties of glutathione are essential for protecting liver cells from these reactive oxygen species.

In the medical field, glutathione has been utilized as a medication for the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction as well as acute liver damage. Researchers in the scientific community are also investigating the therapeutic effects of oral glutathione intake for various liver diseases.

I'd like to introduce a human clinical trial conducted in 2017. In this study, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) patients were given 300mg of glutathione daily for four months. After the four-month period, there was a significant decrease in the ALT (alanine transaminase) levels, a liver marker, indicating an improvement in liver function.

"After four months of glutathione treatment, there was a significant reduction in ALT levels. Additionally, glutathione therapy led to a decrease in triglycerides, non-esterified fatty acids, and ferritin levels."

Reference :  Honda, Y., Kessoku, T., Sumida, Y., Kobayashi, T., Kato, T., Ogawa, Y., Tomeno, W., Imajo, K., Fujita, K., Yoneda, M., Kataoka, K., Taguri, M., Yamanaka, T., Seko, Y., Tanaka, S., Saito, S., Ono, M., Oeda, S., Eguchi, Y., Aoi, W., … Nakajima, A. (2017). Efficacy of glutathione for the treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: an open-label, single-arm, multicenter, pilot study. BMC gastroenterology, 17(1), 96.

*Triglycerides: A form of fat synthesized in the body, also known as neutral fats.
**Non-esterified fatty acids: Simple forms of lipids, also known as free fatty acids.
***Ferritin levels: A measure reflecting the total amount of stored iron in the body.

2. Protects Brain Nerves

pan style="color: #000000; background-color: #E6E7FF; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none;" class="stb-hilitecolor-colored">Conditions like Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease are referred to as 'neurodegenerative diseases.' Glutathione is associated with the onset of such diseases.

The brain is highly vulnerable to reactive oxygen species as a basic rule. Therefore, the decrease in glutathione levels in the body is considered a risk factor for inducing degeneration of the central nervous system, including the brain.

In fact, according to a review article published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences in 2021, patients with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases are reported to have depleted glutathione levels in the brain. The researchers in that paper concluded the following:

"The development of drug delivery systems, along with neuron-specific GSH replacement therapy, holds potential for the future treatment of patients with neurodegenerative diseases."

Reference :  Aoyama K. (2021). Glutathione in the Brain. International journal of molecular sciences, 22(9), 5010.
3. Improves Insulin Resistance

Reactive oxygen not only damages cells throughout the body, including the liver and brain, but also affects the body's signaling pathways. Reactive oxygen particularly influences the insulin receptor signaling pathway, leading to insulin resistance[1]. Insulin resistance refers to a condition where the function of insulin is impaired and is a characteristic feature of type 2 diabetes.
[1] Hurrle, S., & Hsu, W. H. (2017). The etiology of oxidative stress in insulin resistance. Biomedical journal, 40(5), 257–262.

Therefore, in the academic community, there have been attempts to improve insulin resistance through oral supplementation of the antioxidant glutathione. I will introduce the results of a human clinical trial conducted in 2021, which targeted patients with type 2 diabetes or obesity.

The participants were instructed to take 1000mg of glutathione daily for three weeks, and the group which received glutathione supplementation showed a significant improvement in insulin sensitivity compared to the control group.

"After three weeks of consumption, the glutathione group showed a significant improvement in insulin sensitivity compared to the placebo group."

Reference :  Søndergård, S. D., Cintin, I., Kuhlman, A. B., Morville, T. H., Bergmann, M. L., Kjær, L. K., Poulsen, H. E., Giustarini, D., Rossi, R., Dela, F., Helge, J. W., & Larsen, S. (2021). The effects of 3 weeks of oral glutathione supplementation on whole body insulin sensitivity in obese males with and without type 2 diabetes: a randomized trial. Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism = Physiologie appliquee, nutrition et metabolisme, 46(9), 1133–1142.

Today, we've examined the antioxidant properties of glutathione, widely known for its benefits to skin health.

In fact, the role of glutathione within the body doesn't stop here. It also plays a role in detoxification, inflammation regulation, and the immune system, among others. As I mentioned before, considering that many people are only aware of glutathione as a good ingredient for skin whitening, its role as a vital component goes beyond that.

Unfortunately, as we age, the synthesis rate of glutathione, as well as its concentration in the body, decreases[2]. Therefore, if you are concerned about glutathione depletion due to aging, considering oral supplementation of glutathione might be a good idea.
[2] Sekhar, R. V., Patel, S. G., Guthikonda, A. P., Reid, M., Balasubramanyam, A., Taffet, G. E., & Jahoor, F. (2011). Deficient synthesis of glutathione underlies oxidative stress in aging and can be corrected by dietary cysteine and glycine supplementation. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 94(3), 847–853.

I will provide more details about another role of glutathione that I haven't introduced this time in a future opportunity.

I hope you have a healthy day both physically and mentally. This was Jinny.

More articles

Comments (0)

There are no comments for this article. Be the first one to leave a message!

Leave a comment