What is Acetyl-Glutathione?
Glutathione is a tripeptide composed of three amino acids: cysteine, glycine, and glutamic acid (or glutamate). Often called the “master antioxidant,” glutathione is naturally produced in the human body. Its most concentrated levels are found in the pancreas, kidneys, and liver, but it is present in every cell in every organ. It is the most protective antioxidant our bodies make.
Glutathione provides detoxification and antioxidant protection, plus it boosts the action and recycling of other antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, alpha-lipoic acid, and CoQ10. One important role it has is to protect the mitochondria power-plants in our cells. It also supports cysteine storage, DNA construction, immune function, production of sperm cells, cell growth and death, cell communication, enzyme function, and other vital activities.
We don’t absorb glutathione well from foods and, taken as an oral supplement, plain glutathione is almost entirely destroyed by digestive enzymes in the stomach and small intestines. However, binding the acetyl molecule to glutathione produces a chemical that survives well in the digestive tract. Taking acetyl-glutathione has been shown to boost levels of glutathione in the body and may help improve and preserve health in a number of ways.
Benefits of Acetyl-Glutathione
There have been many studies on the benefits of glutathione supplementation, and research continues on more and more diseases as positive effects are identified. We know that low glutathione levels are associated with chronic diseases and aging, and this has opened up a significant new option for treating these diseases.
Oxidative damage is the cause or effect of almost every chronic or progressive disease you are faced with on a regular basis. Glutathione is a very strong antioxidant, with high concentrations in every cell of the healthy body. Restoring levels to their normal healthy range helps the body protect itself and do its own healing work. Here are some examples of the effects that have been demonstrated:
Balancing glutathione levels is critical in helping to rid the body of toxins. Strengthening the glutathione system improves all three phases of the body’s natural detoxification. Glutathione neutralizes the free radicals produced by Phase I liver metabolism. It is part of the Phase II reactions that make toxins water-soluble so they can be transported and eliminated by the kidneys in Phase III. Glutathione is also critical in transporting mercury, specifically, out of cells and the brain.
The less glutathione in your body, the more cellular breakdown and apoptosis (cell death) occurs. This lowers resistance to disease, decreases energy, even contributes to wrinkles and hyperpigmentation in the skin. Acetyl-glutathione is being used to help slow or reverse these effects.
When mitochondria are attacked and damaged by oxidative molecules, they slow down and make less adenosine triphosphate (ATP), in turn slowing down the functioning of the entire cell. The patient can feel fatigue, lack of mental focus, brain fog, aches, and pains. This condition is called “mitochondrial dysfunction” and occurs when glutathione levels fall too low. Autoimmune diseases like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Addison’s, and Crohn’s all involve mitochondrial dysfunction that may be improved by raising glutathione levels.
Neurons in our brain become damaged as we age, leaving us with brains that don’t function quite as well as they used to. The process is unavoidable, but glutathione plays a role in protecting these neurons and so may be able to help slow or even reverse some of the damage. Certain brain disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s show high levels of oxidative stress and low levels of active glutathione.
Heart disease starts with plaque buildup in the arteries. Our natural glutathione inactivates the various free radicals and chemicals that lipid oxidize cholesterol particles in the blood and lead to plaque formation. In this way, it may lower the risk of heart attacks.
Research shows that glutathione preps white cells to produce more infection-fighting substances like interleukins-2 and -12 and interferon-gamma, giving it an important role in combating both bacterial and viral infections. Multiple studies have shown that glutathione boosts immunity. It can be used to help fight secondary infections in chronic diseases such as AIDS, hepatitis, and Lyme that suppress the immune system, as well as aid older people and other at-risk patients in fighting off infection.
Chronic inflammation is present in virtually every chronic illness. Research has found that glutathione’s influence on our white cells helps ensure that our inflammatory reaction is strong when needed and subsides when it’s no longer useful. Boosting glutathione levels may bring chronic inflammation under better control. In a disease like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), normal glutathione levels could protect lung tissue from inflammation, reduce long-term damage, and maintain healthy lung function.
There are many illnesses in which acetyl-glutathione may provide relief from some symptoms or complications, due to its anti-oxidation, detoxification, and anti-inflammatory actions. Research is ongoing to demonstrate its positive effects on diabetes complications, hepatitis, fatty liver disease, ulcerative colitis, autism spectrum complications, Parkinson’s, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, asthma, and more.
Dosage and Form
The following dosage forms and strengths of acetyl-glutathione currently fall within our formulary:
How Belmar Can Help
If you’re a clinician interested in prescribing compound medications to your patients, contact us for information on how to get started and to access all of our clinical resources. If you are new to compounding, you may find our page on How to Write a Compounding Prescription helpful. You can also visit our Treatment Options page to find a formulary and learn more about all the medication solutions available from Belmar.
Contact Belmar Pharma Solutions
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