Living Healthier Through Natural Technologies
The last few decades have witnessed a major shift from the reliance on drugs to a demand for natural alternatives. What has spurred this change is an increasingly overburdened, expensive and often inaccessible medical system that has been so busy taking care of the sick, that wellness has been left to non-conventional medicine. More and more of us…
Glutathione – Why all the Noise?
Glutathione (GSH) is a word that many people are still not familiar with, but given that there are over 100,000 medical and scientific journal articles written on this subject to date, it is one of those terms that will eventually work its way into our common everyday language. One of the reasons for GSH’s increasing popularity, is that it exists in every cell of your body and is essential for life and critical for health.
One common myth about glutathione is that you can eat glutathione and consequently raise your body’s GSH levels. Untrue. Eating glutathione supplements or foods rich in glutathione will not do the trick. Most of it will end up being broken down in your digestive tract and eliminated. Since glutathione is made within your cells, what needs to be accomplished is delivering the building blocks (“precursors”) of GSH to the cells themselves. The hardest glutathione precursor to find in our diet is the amino acid “cysteine” which must be in a form that survives the trip from your mouth to your living cells. This is not as easy as it sounds.
In nature, this usable form of cysteine can be found in eggs, but the eggs must be raw, otherwise the proteins that carry the cysteine are changed by heat and lose their efficiency as a “cysteine delivery vehicle”. Another good source would be meat, but again, the meat would need to be raw to be a competent source of cysteine. Aside from a well-prepared steak tartar, safe sources of raw meat are not abundant. What about vegetables? You guessed it. Raw cruciferous veggies are a decent source, but you would have to eat a whole bunch of broccoli with all the gaseous consequences your spouse will suffer.
Whey, a protein fraction of milk, is a source of glutathione precursors. The glutathione building blocks in whey are very fragile, but techniques to extract these valuable proteins have been developed. Researchers at McGill University had started investigating these GSH precursors as early as the 1980’s. The original research team headed by Dr. Gustavo Bounous eventually formed a private enterprise to further develop and market these glutathione building blocks. They adopted the trade name “Immunocal” for the eventual formulation and Immunotec continues to enhance this product. Immunocal is a natural source of the glutathione precursor cysteine for the maintenance of a strong immune system.
Living Longer, Living Stronger
As time goes by, it has become increasingly clearer that glutathione and cysteine levels not only fall as we age, but the levels of these two critical substances are directly related to how well and older person is doing. Studies have not only looked at physical health, but quality of life, mental functioning and sense of well-being.
Dr. Wulf Dröge has been for many years an advocate of taking advantage of this strategy. His research goes back over several decades and has set the foundations for many other researchers to build upon. One such study was published in January 2008. (Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2008 Jan;11(1):40-4). Australians A. Hayes and PJ Cribb have suggested that we approach the aspect of strength and muscle mass in aging the same way as we approach an RSP (retirement savings plan). The more we pay attention to investing in our bodies at an earlier age, the higher the payoff when we are older.
Nice to be constantly reassured that we are doing the right thing!
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