The morbidity and mortality of COVID-19 are due in large part to severe cytokine storm and hypercoagulable state brought on by dysregulated host-inflammatory immune response, ultimately leading to multi-organ failure. 1 A common denominator in all conditions associated with COVID-19 appears to be the impaired redox homeostasis responsible for reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation; therefore, levels of glutathione (GSH), the key anti-oxidant guardian in all tissues, could be critical in extinguishing the exacerbated inflammation that triggers organ failure in COVID-19. 2
Glutathione is an essential component to the body's natural defense system. It prevents oxidative stress and inflammation and helps boost the immune function of other cells in the body. GSH protects cells by neutralizing reactive oxygen species, which are key signaling molecules that play an important role in the progression of inflammatory disorders. 3
Glutathione Levels and COVID-19
Age. A well recognized factors in severe illnesses, complications and death from Covid-19 infections. Animal and human studies suggest that low levels of endogenous glutathione progressively decline by age, thus making elderly more susceptible to oxidative damage caused by different environmental factors.
Sex. It has been observed that men are more likely to suffer severe effects of COVID-19 infection and experience a higher mortality rate than women. Additionally, men have lower plasma levels of reduced glutathione (GSH) than women, making men more susceptible to oxidative stress and inflammation.
Comorbidity. Decreased levels of glutathione occurring in COVID-19 patients with chronic diseases could be a triggering factor that shifts redox homeostasis toward oxidative stress, thereby exacerbating lung inflammation and leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), multiorgan failure, and death. 4
Smoking. Cigarette smoke is known to deplete the cellular glutathione pool in the airways, exacerbating oxidative damage and inflammation in the lung, which is likely the reason why smokers with COVID-19 more likely require intensive medical interventions. 5
SO WHY TAKE GLUTATHIONE (GSH)?
The deficiency of glutathione could be one of the contributing factors leading to the progression of COVID-19 from mild infection to severe conditions. It could cause more oxidative stress and exacerbate inflammation in the lung, which may lead to respiratory distress syndrome and possible death. 6 It is observed that the common denominator of all COVID-19 patients with moderate-to-severe COVID-19-infection had lower levels of glutathione than patients with mild illness.
EVIDENCE THAT GLUTATHIONE WORKS
Glutathione is not easily absorbed orally. When replacement is needed, it can be given by intravenous administration, oral liposomal capsules, or via nebulization (inhalation). 8
In the clinical article, oral supplementation with liposomal glutathione elevates body stores of glutathione and markers of immune function, preliminary findings support the effectiveness of daily administration of liposomal forms of glutathione for increasing levels of glutathione and affecting immune function and levels of oxidative stress: Oral supplementation with liposomal glutathione elevates body stores of glutathione and markers of immune function. 9
GUIDE TO GLUTATHIONE
Always talk to your doctor before adding this supplement to your diet, to discuss possible risks and potential interactions with any medications you may be taking.
It is best to buy from a legit distributor or supplier to avoid counterfeit or fake products.
Glutathione products that are made in Korea are usually have the best quality among other glutathione products in the market as it is perceived as high-end and with great efficacy.
Always check for the brands that are trusted in the market.
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