HOW GLUTATHIONE A.I.D.S. YOUR BODY
Glutathione is found in every human cell, and produced abundantly by the liver. Glutathione also exists naturally in fruits, vegetables and meats. The majority of its benefits can be summarized in the acronym “A.I.D.S.”
A – Antioxidant
Glutathione is often referred to as the master antioxidant. It is. Glutathione recycles and recharges all the antioxidants in our cells. None of the antioxidants could function at their optimum level without the presence of glutathione. The process of recharging antioxidants is enhanced by the addition of vitamin C to glutathione.
I – Immune System Booster
By keeping our intracellular glutathione level up, we also keep our immune system fully armed. Glutathione supports the ability of the body’s immune system to fight pathogens and antigens - agents of cellular damage, toxicity and disease.
According to webmd.com, people take glutathione supplements to prevent aging, hepatitis, liver disease, heart disease, high cholesterol, diseases that weaken the body’s defense system, memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoarthritis, and Parkinson’s disease. Healthcare providers also give glutathione intravenously for preventing anemia, patients undergoing hemodialysis treatment, treating Parkinson’s disease, improving blood flow and decreasing clotting in individuals with hardening of the arteries, treating diabetes, and preventing toxic side effects of chemotherapy.
D – Detoxification
Glutathione levels are highest in the liver, the body’s major detoxifying organ. Experimental studies have shown that low glutathione levels lead to poor liver and kidney function, and result in unnecessarily large quantities of toxins. Chronic liver diseases, whether alcohol or non-alcohol related, have been successfully treated with high dose of IV-glutathione treatment, resulting in improved liver function.
S – Skin Lightening
Aside from its many biologic functions, glutathione has become popular in the Philippines and other Asian countries for its purported skin lightening effect. There are clinical research data to support the beneficial effect of glutathione in pigmentary disorders. Various concepts have been proposed to explain the lightening activity. One of these is the same mechanism attributed to most antioxidants: Glutathione neutralizes free radicals that contribute to activation of melanin formation.It is important to understand that glutathione, or any whitening active for that matter, cannot make you any whiter than what you really are. It may only bring back your original skin color that may have been made several tones darker by accumulated sun exposure. Your lifestyle will determine how far you will maintain the effect. One day of unprotected and prolonged sun exposure will negate all the gains you have made in making your skin tone lighter.
Glutathione cannot give the same absolute results for everyone. What’s effective to others may not be effective to you. Always seek medical advice.
Skin Smart seeks to clarify facts and myths on skin care. This column was published in the Manila Bulletin Lifestyle Section on June 11, 2013. The author received the 2011 Outstanding Chemist Award from Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) for his achievements in the field of cosmetic chemistry. He is the CEO of SkinStation and can be reached at email@example.com.