As the most abundant non-protein compound in organic tissues, glutathione is known for its vital antioxidant role. If oxidants, the molecules that are harmful to tissues and organs, outnumber the body’s antioxidants, then the resulting imbalance is known as oxidative stress. Glutathione acts like an antioxidant superhero, defending against oxidative agents and helping detoxify metabolic products (endogenous compounds) like lipid peroxides, as well as external threats from foreign or xenobiotic compounds, including heavy metals, pollutants, or drugs.* Although naturally produced by the body, glutathione levels can decrease with age, poor diet, lifestyle changes, and other factors, thereby leading to adverse health effects.
Below, we discuss how glutathione detox occurs in the liver to support your body’s optimal functioning,* and why you should include a glutathione supplement in your diet.
Before explaining glutathione activity in the liver, let’s get a better understanding of why liver detox happens, and the critical role antioxidants play in shielding liver cells from free radicals.
As noted above, oxidative stress results from an overabundance of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) — or free radicals — in cells and tissues. Increased ROS production adversely affects important cellular structures like lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids, eventually leading to impaired functions. Enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant molecules, like glutathione, are part of the body’s natural cellular defense system that protects cells and tissues from ROS-induced damage.
Because the liver’s main function is to filter the blood and help remove harmful substances from our bodies, it’s only logical that we would find a high concentration of glutathione there. This antioxidant works with a wide variety of enzymes that regulate the liver’s complex detoxification pathways and helps facilitate:
Instead of letting free radicals adversely react with our cellular machinery, glutathione molecules ‘scavenge’ these harmful free radicals and react with them in Phase I liver metabolism. During oxidative stress, the liver exports oxidized glutathione molecules into bile1 to safely degrade free radicals. In Phase II reactions, glutathione molecules join the activated intermediates produced during Phase I to make them water-soluble for excretion by the kidneys.*
The tripeptide glutathione molecule holds immense potential for the optimal functioning of the body.* Let’s take a look at some of the ways the body’s ‘master antioxidant’ supports various functions, including:
The role of glutathione can be best understood through different pathological conditions that can arise from its deficiency. For example, studies2 on the livers in mice have revealed the association of low glutathione levels with various adverse effects. for example, altered mitochondrial function in liver cells, leading to total liver failure.
Considering the importance of having an optimal level of glutathione for overall health, various strategies are being explored to increase the intracellular and intramitochondrial levels of glutathione. The obvious strategy is the direct intake of glutathione in oral, topical, intravenous, intranasal, or nebulized form.
Although oral glutathione has been shown to be well absorbed in laboratory animal models, the efficacy of oral glutathione supplements in humans has been limited, owing to the challenge of determining its absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. A clinical trial3 determining the long-term effectiveness of oral glutathione supplementation concluded that daily consumption of a glutathione supplement does help increase body compartment stores of glutathione.
To address the challenge of glutathione absorption in the body, Tesseract Medical Research has formulated SafeCell® — an acetylated form of oral glutathione. Coupled with Tesseract’s revolutionary CyLoc® - DexKey® delivery system, the SafeCell formulation is developed for superior absorption and efficacy.* The unique nutrient delivery system directly releases each molecule of acetyl glutathione into the intestinal tract — billions of molecules at a time — one by one. SafeCell®’‘s enhanced efficacy supports the optimal functioning of other antioxidants, modulating oxidative stress, and natural detoxification pathways.*
SafeCell® is Tesseract’s breakthrough detoxification solution. Contact us to learn more about glutathione detox and how incorporating an oral glutathione supplement can support your body’s optimal functioning.
1https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2596047/pdf/yjbm00117-0089.pdf Accessed 31 March 2023
2Chen Y, Yang Y, Miller ML, et al. Hepatology. 2007 May;45(5):1118-28. doi: 10.1002/hep.21635.
3Richie JP Jr., Nichenametla S, Neidig W, et al. Randomized Eur J Nutr. 2015 Mar;54(2):251-63. doi: 10.1007/s00394-014-0706-z. Epub 2014 May 5. PMID: 24791752.