Glutathione: What’s all the fuss about?

Glutathione is a very simple molecule that is produced naturally all the time in your body. It is a combination of three simple building blocks of protein or amino acids — cysteine, glycine and glutamine. The secret of its power is the sulfur (SH) chemical groups it contains. Sulfur is a sticky, smelly molecule. It acts like fly paper and all the bad things in the body stick onto it, including free radicals and toxins like mercury and other heavy metals. But that’s not all. Glutathione is also critical in helping your immune system do its job of fighting infections and preventing cancer. That’s why studies show that it can help in the treatment of AIDS and MS. It is critical for immune function and controlling inflammation. It is the master detoxifier and the body’s main antioxidant, protecting our cells and making our energy metabolism run well.

What’s glutathione got to do with CF?

Glutathione first seemed to come into the limelight relating to CF  in 1997 when Valerie Hudson worked with Dr Clark Bishop (CF Clinic in Salt Lake city Utah) to undertake the first trial using glutathione (GSH) to help her 2 young boys who both had CF. Its a great example of the fact that no one is more dedicated than the parents of a child with a chronic illness or disease.  You might like to check out the article here:
Article : A mothers fight against CF

In this issue of CHEST, Dr Bishop and colleagues report encouraging results from a small, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of inhaled glutathione in patients with cystic fibrosis. The rationale for this therapy lies in previous data reporting that glutathione levels in the lung epithelial lining fluid of patients with cystic fibrosis are low,1and that cystic fibrosis lung disease is associated with increased oxidative damage.2In addition, more recent studies36 have also demonstrated that the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), which is defective in cystic fibrosis, regulates a substantial portion of glutathione efflux into the epithelial lining fluid.

The thinking has since shifted to N-acetylcysteine (precursor to gluathione synthesis) as a more effective way to support the body in generating gluathione on its own.

1] In 2006, stanford university started to investigate N-acetylcysteine for CF. – They did a small randomised placebo controlled, double blind efficacy study investigating NAC on lung inflammation in CF and two of the professors applied for a patent with regards to gluathione being used as a treatment for pulmonary lung disease.

Study # 1  

Study # 2

2] Standford university professors then trialled NAC for use with Autism (2012) as they believe it increases the capacity of the body’s main antioxidant network.

Study # 3  

Study # 4

The jury is out on whether glutathione is offering any real benefit but clearly there are lots of parents out there who are still trialling it as a supplement.

What about you? Have you tried glutathione with your child and can you guestimate as to whether its made any difference?

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