Updated: Jun 9, 2021
Blended excerpts from Potential Within A Guide to Nutritional Empowerment
Authored by Franco Cavaleri ISBN 0-9731701-0-7 (BPi copyright 2003)
Original post: April 19, 2011
This article is composed of multiple excerpts to result in tone and content shifts and reference numbering that may be out of order.
Glutathione is “nonessential”—the body can manufacture it, too. However, if demands are extreme, normal rates of production of glutathione might not be able to fulfill the body’s needs, and believe me, you don’t want to be caught one molecule short of this antioxidant. Glutathione is found virtually everywhere in the body, displaying a variety of functions: a powerful free-radical scavenger, a neutralizer of carcinogenic compounds, a crucial agent for the immune system, a protector of cell membranes, and a supporter of insulin efficiency.
It’s present in high amounts in the liver as a detoxifier, and it’s concentrated in lymphocytes and other immune cells responsible for the elimination of invading microbes (74, 75). When the immune system fights off instigators of disease, demands for glutathione increase dramatically, leaving body tissues in a state of competition. A recent study performed by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health demonstrated that exposure to diesel exhaust caused inflammation of the delicate lung alveoli, boosting cellular demands for cysteine and glutathione as detoxifiers.
Limitations of these antioxidants result in progressive cellular damage, while preestablished saturation of these potent detoxifiers in the cells of the body through supplementation protects the cells from diesel fumes. We’re all exposed to these carcinogens daily! An immune system performing at above-average levels requires a greater-than-average supply of glutathione and other antioxidants (76).
Exposing the body to excess free radicals whether from environmental toxins, radiation, or physical activity taxes glutathione stores. Restrict its availability and we’re doomed. Again, the more active we are, the more free radicals we produce and the more glutathione we require. Although glutathione displays impressive antioxidant protection, its function is limited to the availability of other synergistic antioxidants and co-factors mentioned earlier—in other words, vitamins E and C, selenium, and alpha lipoic acid.
Glutathione also works alongside vitamin E to protect the fatty bilayers of every cell membrane in the body, and this makes it a vital component of Ageless Performance (77, 78). Oral supplementation with glutathione can raise plasma and cellular levels, but the result is nominal compared to the enhancement a good-quality whey protein isolate can deliver (79, 80).
Cysteine availability seems to be the limiting factor in intracellular glutathione biosynthesis. Whey protein isolates that have been prepared or processed correctly will supply an abundance of active peptides (glutamylcysteine) that contain the important building blocks for glutathione (81). For this reason whey peptide supplements have become advocated therapeutic staples for individuals recovering from surgery, trauma, immune dysfunctions, and extreme physical work, which includes exercise.
Not only do these special protein sources contribute the building blocks for glutathione (which is made up of three amino acids—glutamine, or glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine), they deliver an abundant supply of essential building blocks for general tissue maintenance. Despite the whey/casein controversy, studies comparing casein supplements versus whey supplements show that whey boosts antioxidant capacity of the body way better than casein (82). N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) also works closely with alpha lipoic acid to boost cellular glutathione levels and defend our genes from NF-kappa-B’s negative influence (83).
NAC is an effective and safe way to drive cysteine intracellularly for glutathione synthesis (84, 85). The supplementation of NAC has become recognized by more conventional medical practitioners as essential in the battle against liver toxicity as well as a powerful anti-rheumatic therapy. (86). In fact, this natural power-packed nutrient is known to be the mightiest hepatodetoxifier, clearing toxicity from the liver induced by man-made chemicals such as acetaminophen (87, 88). That’s right, acetaminophen, found in Tylenol, can be extremely toxic to the liver and kidneys, especially if combined with alcohol. Manufacturers of ASA and acetaminophen-containing drugs should take responsible action to include an efficacious, glutathione-boosting dose (100 mg) of NAC in their formulations for your protection. In fact, this inclusion should be mandatory. For now, though, this means we have to take the initiative and supplement NAC in higher doses than average (more than 150 mg per day) when we use acetaminophen or high levels of ASA. However, I can’t see how these over-the-counter drugs will be sold without the inclusion of NAC in the near future; not to add NAC is plain ignorance.
Can you guess which nutrient has recently proven to be one of the most powerful boosters of cellular glutathione? Alpha lipoic acid is one; properly processed whey protein is another. (89). In a Japanese study in 2001, gingko biloba was also shown to increase cellular glutathione levels (90). Whey protein delivers its immune, cognitive, and lean muscle support in large part due to its ability to elevate glutathione status throughout the body. Whey supplementation is a very efficient way to improve general and glutathione antioxidant status in the body.
If you’re looking to create or sustain better health and longevity, build and maintain saturated glutathione status at all costs by employing as many of these complementary boosters. Ageless Performance is designed to develop extraordinary levels of glutathione and ensure this protective state.