Glutathione: Bringing Order to Free-radical Chaos
by Corey Resnick, N.D.
Imagine for a minute, 20 unruly seven-year-olds at a birthday party. After the cake and ice cream, they file into a playroom containing 19 bright balloons. As the children make a mad dash for the balloons, the child without a balloon swiftly steals one from a kid next to him. This balloon-less child in turn grabs one from someone else. The room quickly becomes chaotic as the children lose then steal balloons. In their fervor, the wild and crazy kids accidentally knock over furniture, bang into the walls, and even rip down drapes.
Finally, the birthday boy's big brother enters the room. He, too, has a balloon, but willingly gives it to the current balloon-less child. All the children are now paired with a balloon and order is restored.
Human beings are basically a collection of atoms and molecules that use oxygen to convert food into energy. During this energy production, some of the outer shell electrons naturally become unpaired. While paired electrons orbit around the nucleus with stability and grace, the unpaired electrons, or free radicals, are a mess. Unstable, they run around looking for another electron to orbit with. Just like the children at the birthday party, a free radical steals an electron from a stable atom's outer shell. But, once robbed, the stable atom now becomes a free radical and the electron-stealing rampage begins.
As free radicals generate more free radicals, the number of stable atoms to steal from quickly plummets. If continued, this chaos is capable of generating millions of free radicals in a matter of seconds resulting in wrecked cells and ruined DNA.
Enter the antioxidant—Mother Nature's solution to wild and crazy free-radical formation. Like the big brother, an antioxidant willingly donates electrons to free radicals, protecting our cells and tissues from damage. However, some antioxidants are more powerful than others. When weak antioxidants donate an electron, they become depleted and their usefulness and ability to restore order is short lived. Antioxidants like vitamins C and E actually become free radicals themselves after they donate their electrons. They must be regenerated and recycled back to their useful antioxidant form before they can again control free radicals and prevent cellular damage.
While we get some antioxidants, like vitamins C and E, plant flavonoids, beta-carotene, and selenium, from the foods we eat, our bodies make others. In fact, one of the most important and powerful antioxidants, glutathione, is made within our cells.
To understand how glutathione works, we need to revisit the birthday party. This time, the birthday boy has invited all the kids in the neighborhood to help him celebrate. As the children start to arrive, each selects one of the bright balloons floating around the playroom. When the number of kids exceeds the number of balloons, the chain reaction of losing and gaining balloons begins. The amount of children without balloons rapidly increases, and the party becomes very rowdy.
Instead of donating a single balloon to stabilize this frenzy, the big brother brings a whole box of balloons and an air tank to fill them. And when the birthday boy needs a balloon, he no longer has to steal one from the kid next to him. The big brother provides a steady supply of balloons for each child and order is once more restored.
By recycling "used" antioxidants like vitamins C and E back to their potent antioxidant state, glutathione, like the big brother, provides a steady supply of antioxidant action. It promotes healthy DNA production and repair, supports proper immune function, and the healthy production of white blood cells. Glutathione also supports the body's detoxification of potentially harmful compounds.
When we're young, our ability to make glutathione is pretty strong. However, with each birthday, our bodies develop more and more free-radical damage, due in part to decreased levels of glutathione. We end up needing more glutathione antioxidant action than our bodies can generate. A lack of glutathione has been shown to leave the body more vulnerable to damage by free radicals, thus speeding up oxidation (wearing down) of the body. Exposure to environmental toxins and certain health conditions can also deplete the body's store of glutathione.
To help assure an adequate supply in the body, glutathione can be taken as a nutritional supplement. However, supplemental glutathione is complicated. It must be in a reduced form to work properly. The "un-reduced" form of glutathione is known as oxidized glutathione. Oxidized glutathione lacks the antioxidant activity and other metabolic benefits of reduced glutathione.
Recancostat™ 400, from Integrative Therapeutics, is a patented all-natural supplement that combines reduced glutathione and L-cysteine with a group of potent plant antioxidants called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins possess the ability to regenerate reduced glutathione from oxidized glutathione even in the presence of free radicals and help recycle oxidized glutathione back to its biologically active reduced form.
Clinical studies have shown that Recancostat 400 increases the level of glutathione in the body. Only Recancostat 400 contains the patented combination of reduced glutathione and anthocyanins that provides cellular detoxification, immune support, protection of DNA, recycling of vitamins E and C, and the prevention of free-radical damage to all types of tissues.
Using reduced glutathione, you will always have all the balloons you need.