A recent, popular television show educated viewers on the importance of raising glutathione levels. Although the practical suggestions given were accurate, there is much more to know about this topic. Especially important for Hepatitis C patients, two supplements demonstrate unparalleled glutathione-boosting power.
by Nicole Cutler, L.Ac.
Similar to many serious illnesses where disease progression is a concern, Hepatitis C is filled with challenges. One of those challenges includes finding ways to protect liver cells from harm. Because they interfere with cellular damage and prevent cells from being injured by free radicals, antioxidants represent one of the most effective ways to approach chronic Hepatitis C infection.
On a recent television segment of the Dr. Oz show, he and Dr. David Katz discussed how glutathione is the superhero of antioxidants. As the substance your body relies on to defend against toxins, glutathione is every free radical's enemy. Building on Dr. Oz's advice, two specific supplements provide the best of the best for raising glutathione levels. Since liver cell protection and antioxidant regeneration ease the struggle on a chronically inflamed liver, these optimal glutathione production supplements are highly regarded in the Hepatitis C community.
An enzyme found inside cells to protect against potential damage from waste and toxins, glutathione is a well-known chemical that helps anyone with a chronic disease. Due to its constant battle to defend itself against Hepatitis C, a liver with this virus can use all the harm deflection help it can get. As the main substance that enables cells to resist injury from toxic compounds - that help is delivered from glutathione.
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which can build up in cells and cause damage. Because glutathione resides within the cells, it is in the best position to neutralize free radicals. A person who does not have enough glutathione has trouble eliminating toxic substances from his or her body. Unfortunately, most of the studies on people with Hepatitis C have found that they have significantly low levels of glutathione. Experts now know that for anyone with chronic Hepatitis C, glutathione deficiency is an important factor contributing to further liver damage.
Especially for people with chronic liver disease, no one is questioning if glutathione levels need to be raised. Rather, the more important question is how this can best be done. In Dr. Oz's television segment on glutathione, several suggestions for raising glutathione levels were given. By supplying the building blocks needed to make glutathione, Dr. Oz suggests:
· eating more sulfur-rich vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, garlic and onions.
· eating more selenium-rich foods like oats, brazil nuts, tuna and black beans.
Because glutathione is produced in the liver, Dr. Oz also suggested the following for boosting glutathione production:
· Supplement with milk thistle. This herb protects liver cells from free radicals, further enabling glutathione production.
· Exercise regularly. Frequent physical activity ensures steady blood flow to the liver, further enabling glutathione production.
More Glutathione Boosting Details
Those in the know about glutathione's importance in fighting chronic liver disease are familiar with two supplements omitted from Dr. Oz's glutathione-boosting list. The first is an improved version of what was advised by Dr. Oz, and the second must have been cut due to time restraints:
1. Silybin Phytosome - While milk thistle has demonstrated the ability to protect liver cells from damage, it is notoriously hard for the body to absorb. Thankfully, preparing milk thistle in a phytosome form solves its absorption problem. In addition, studies have shown that silybin, the most abundant and potent constituent of milk thistle, is responsible for milk thistle's liver protectiveness. Silybin phytosome delivers the most therapeutic portion of the milk thistle plant in a form that is up to 10 times more absorbable than a standard milk thistle extract. This kind of super-charged milk thistle supplement is ideal for those concerned with increasing glutathione production.
2. Alpha R-Lipoic Acid - Antioxidants are typically depleted as they attack free radicals, but there is evidence that alpha lipoic acid may help to recycle glutathione back into its active, fighting form. Such a capability is highly desired when constant liver inflammation from Hepatitis C threatens to form new free radicals. Of the two forms of alpha lipoic acid (R and S), only alpha R-lipoic acid is naturally occurring. In addition, the R form has demonstrated a greater ability to recycle glutathione.
Dr. Oz did an amazing job of educating people about the importance of keeping glutathione levels up. However, those with chronic Hepatitis C would benefit from taking this knowledge to the next level. Besides eating foods that boost its production and exercising to ensure circulation within the liver, supplementing with silybin phytosome and alpha R-lipoic acid are two more powerful and proven routes to raise glutathione levels - the undisputed superhero of antioxidants.
Nicole Cutler is a licensed acupuncturist. While this doesn’t necessarily make her thoughts right or wrong, it does tell me she’s probably not any more qualified to write about HCV management than say, you or I.
Did I miss something? How does Glutathione help the liver if someone has liver disease?
"On a recent television segment of the Dr. Oz show, he and Dr. David Katz discussed how glutathione is the superhero of antioxidants. As the substance your body relies on to defend against toxins, glutathione is every free radical's enemy".
"...protect against potential damage from waste and toxins, glutathione is a well-known chemical that helps anyone with a chronic disease. Due to its constant battle to defend itself against Hepatitis C, a liver with this virus can use all the harm deflection help it can get. As the main substance that enables cells to resist injury from toxic compounds".
"Defend against toxins"? What "toxic compounds"? Toxins are not involved in liver inflammation or fibrosis. Hepatitis C is a virus, not a toxin. This is rudimentary. If someone doesn't understand this simple fact, I would question their medical knowledge at least when it comes to the liver.
Liver inflammation and fibrosis is cause by the natural wound healing process. Not toxins or some other "bad" actor. It is the body's own defense system trying to protect itself from the injury caused by the hepatitis c virus that causes liver inflammation and fibrosis. This is no mystery it is common knowledge to any hepatologist. If the body didn't defend itself from outside injuries such as virus none of us would be alive.
Dr. Oz is an accomplished man. A cardiothoracic surgeon, author, TV host etc. But if he believes what Nicole Cutler has to say then he could be very knowledgeable about the treatment of conditions affecting the heart and lungs but when it comes to hepatitis and liver disease he is no expert.
World Journal of Gastroenterology
Annals of Hepatology
I can appreciate the attempt at integrative medicine that Dr. Oz is incorporating into his show along with his main goal of trying to make health education something interesting... (I don't favor the span over depth format so have only watched a few times.)
That said, I have long heard that glutathione is extremely important to the body. No one has to look far to find the research on this if they are interested. I will include this information on N-Acetylcysteine, taken from "The Immortality Edge" which is a book based on the Nobel prize-winning research on telomeres and how they relate to longevity and health. Basically, if you want to increase the body's level of glutathione, which is currently considered *the* major antioxidant, take the acetylated form of the amino acid L-cysteine, N-acetylcysteine. It's rapidly metabolized in the body and is the precursor to intercellular glutathione. (BTW, NAC is what is given in the ED for Tylenol overdose to try and save the liver.) While you can take glutathione as a supplement, unless it's given IV, very little is passed through to the cells.
IMO, you don't need to have hep C to benefit from NAC.
Toxins stick to glutathione and then gets carried out by bile and the stool. Our bodies produce it naturally but if you are sick you may be deficient. Broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower are supposed to be good sources.
I like Dr. Oz, he is sooo entertaining and gives you food for thought. A lot of times I will research something that is said on his show.
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