Glutathione is a natural substance that is present in all human cells. Studies over many years have shown that levels of glutathione directly correspond to the health and function of cells. As humans age, the balance of glutathione is interrupted and healthy levels can become depleted.
How does it work? Glutathione functions as an antioxidant, which means it donates electrons to quench free radicals, ultimately protecting cells. If glutathione is depleted, it will lead to cell death. Glutathione protects many cell types, especially the skin, lens, retina and cornea.
Glutathione is a co-factor in many bodily processes and is the foundation for the main detoxification pathway in the liver, kidneys, lungs, intestinal lining and other organs.
Some people lack the enzymes to produce healthy levels of glutathione on their own, often caused by an inherited genetic defect that appears later in life. Liver cirrhosis, viral hepatitis and non-alcoholic liver disease can also cause low glutathione in the blood. Certain lung diseases, COPD, asthma and fibrosis are associated with low glutathione. Elderly patients, people with gastritis, ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes and pancreatic inflammation often have altered glutathione levels.