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Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant compound found in living organisms and serves a vital role in maintaining health.
Glutathione binds itself to toxins in the body and changes them into a form that can be easily collected and extracted. High glutathione levels have been found in older adults with exceptionally good health.
While glutathione supplements can be absorbed efficiently by some animals, the same may not hold true for humans. The gastrointestinal tract in humans contains large amounts of the enzyme gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase that appears to effectively break down glutathione before a significant amount can enter the blood stream. It has been suggested that glutathione can be absorbed by placing glutathione tablets between the teeth and the inner cheek.
Some health care professionals suggest that taking supplements other than oral glutathione may be a more effective way of getting glutathione into the blood stream. For example, some researchers believe that taking vitamin C can help raise blood levels of glutathione. Supplements such as lipoic acid, glutamine, methionine, s-adenosyl methionine, vitamin B6, selenium, riboflavin and whey protein may aid the body in the production of glutathione.
Other medical professionals suggest that intramuscular or intravenous injections of glutathione may help to reduce side-effects and increase the efficacy of glutathione supplementation.
While glutathione is undoubtedly a potent antioxidant, indications for its use as a supplement are still not well known. There is some evidence to suggest it might eventually prove to be useful in the management of some cancers, atherosclerosis, diabetes, lung disorders, noise-induced hearing loss, male infertility and to help prevent or ameliorate various toxicities. It may also have some anti-viral activity. Glutathione is an orphan drug for use in connection with AIDS-associated cachexia.
Usage and Administration
Glutathione is available as a single ingredient dietary supplement or in combination products. Dosage ranges from 50 to 600 milligrams daily.