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  • Crystal Barber MBA & Heather Morse MS, ATC, OTC

Improving Therapeutics For Covid-19 Patients with Glutathione Treatments.

It seems the latest and greatest to cure all of our health woes is invented every month… But maybe the answer exists in your own body already. 

Years of research has proven that Glutathione slows down the replication of a virus in human cells. From Zika to influenza this powerful antioxidant has demonstrated antiviral properties in studies. Glutathione helps prevent oxidative stress, inflammation, and also helps to boost the functions of immune cells by priming the bodies white cells natural killer (NK) and T cells, your body’s front-line infection fighters. GSH-enhanced T cells are able to produce more infection-fighting "substances".

Two recent cases showed efficacy in the treatment of Covid19 with glutathione treatments and the studies indicate that higher levels of glutathione may improve an individual’s responsiveness to the viral infection Covid19. A new study by Russian medical researchers suggests that deficiency of endogenous glutathione could also be another influencing factor of the degree of susceptibility by individuals towards the SARS-CoV-coronavirus that causes the deadly COVID-19 disease. The research lead by Dr Alexey V Polonikov , a Professor from Department of Biology and Medical Genetics of Kursk State Medical University, Russia shows that lack or deficiency of endogenous glutathione especially in the  older individuals could also be one of the contributing factors leading to the progression of the disease from mild infection to severe conditions. Significantly, there are evidences that glutathione inhibits replication of various viruses at different stages of the viral life cycle, thereby decreasing viral load and probably preventing the massive release of inflammatory cells into the lung (“cytokine storm”).

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) has been proposed for use in the therapy and/or prevention of several respiratory diseases and of diseases involving an oxidative stress including COVID-19.  At higher doses (≥1200mg), acetylcysteine acts as an antioxidant through which complex mechanisms combat conditions of oxidative stress. Acetylcysteine is a derivative of the natural amino acid cysteine, which serves as a substrate for the synthesis of glutathione (GSH) in the body which has a very powerful antioxidant effect. This reduces the formation of proinflammatory cytokines, such as IL-9 and TNF-α, but also exhibits vasodilator properties by increasing cyclic GMP levels and by contributing to the regeneration of the endothelial-derived relaxing factor. It is this potential antioxidant mechanism that has sparked interest with the current COVID-19 pandemic and whether this might be useful in community treatment settings.

What is glutathione exactly?

Glutathione is a potent antioxidant found in both plants and animals. Often called the “master antioxidant,” glutathione recycles other antioxidants, like vitamins C and E, as well as alpha lipoic acid and CoQ10.

Glutathione is a tripeptide, which means a very small protein composed of three amino acids:

· Cysteine 

· Glycine

· Glutamic Acid (or glutamate)

There are two different forms of glutathione:

· Reduced glutathione (GSH, or L-glutathione) is the active form. It repairs oxidative damage and oxidizes, becoming—

· Oxidized glutathione (GSSG) is the inactive form.  As GSH patrols the cellular environment and puts out oxidative “free radical” fires, it becomes oxidized itself and inactive, thus turning into GSSG.

· Inactive GSSG can be recycled back into the active GSH form, thanks to an enzyme called glutathione reductase. When this enzyme is overwhelmed and too much oxidized GSSG accumulates (as compared to the active GSH), your cells become susceptible to damage and infection. 

How does glutathione effect our bodies?

Glutathione ensure toxins like heavy metals, organic toxins, and even the actual byproducts of the process of making energy by the mitochondria themselves (oxidative byproducts or free radicals) do not cause damage the mitochondria. In the final stage of energy production, your body uses oxygen to make ATP, but in the process, it can create Superoxide, an oxygen with too many electrons that is poisonous to everything around it be it mitochondria, DNA, proteins, and cell membranes. Glutathione is there to extinguish and neutralize Superoxides as well as other similar damaging oxidative molecules in the cells. In short, the antioxidant properties of glutathione work to improve communication between thecells, stabilize, and reduce oxidation in the cells, fight free radical damage, support protein function, and take out the cellular trash.

Glutathione plays many key roles in your health and well-being. Four of the most critical are as follows: • Aging defense- Low levels of glutathione send messages to trigger apoptosis, or cell death. 

• Antioxidant protection- Glutathione directly neutralizes a wide range of oxidants, including superoxide, nitric oxide, carbon radicals, hydroperoxides, peroxynitrites, and lipid peroxides.

• Detoxification- Aids in Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3 detoxification. Glutathione-S-Transferase (GST) attach glutathione to the byproducts of Phase 1 detoxification and neutralizes their toxic potential while simultaneously making these toxic substances more water-soluble and ready to be eliminated.

• Energy production- Glutathione is involved in protecting mitochondria from free radical or other “oxidative” damage. If mitochondria are attacked and damaged by oxidative molecules they slow down and start to make less ATP.  Glutathione is also responsible for: • Cysteine carrier/storage • Cell signaling • Enzyme function • Gene expression • Cell differentiation/proliferation

In conclusion, as mentioned in the beginning, GSH binds to free radicals to relieve “oxidative stress” on the mitochondria and on the rest of the cell. By doing so, GSH becomes oxidized and converts to GSSG. With the help of the enzyme glutathione reductase, its recycled and turned back into active glutathione (GSH). However, if this process is overwhelmed or it doesn’t work properly GSSG accumulates and the ratio of GSH/GSSG becomes distorted. As we age the natural depletion in glutathione makes us more susceptible to viral and bacterial infection and chronic diseases. This natural decrease in the glutathione levels explains one major aspect of the senior community being hit hardest by Covid19. Low levels of glutathione and free radical damage caused by oxidation triggers the immune system to clean up the damage, which results in an inflammatory response. ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) has been reported to be the main cause of death in COVID-19, resulting from an uncontrolled systemic inflammatory response releasing large amounts of pro-inflammatory cytokines as well as chemokines by immune effector cells. In theory, in Covid19 patients, the inflammatory response can be decreased with the use of IV glutathione treatments. With this theory in mind, much more research needs to be done, but there are bound to be many more benefits found in the use of glutathione interventions within Covid19 patients in the future.

Glutathione supplements are available in our Remedy Room at Salt on the Rocks.

To learn more about this treatment and others visit our blog section on our website at or contact one of specialists today to learn more about the complimentary services offered by Traditional Family Medical Center at 256.210.3342.

**Warning: Acetaminophen (Tylenol, paracetamol, and found in many cold and flu remedies) depletes glutathione** Learn more HERE

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