GLUTATHIONE AND THE LIVER
- EFFICIENT LIVER FUNCTION IS VITAL to the overall health of a person. Optimum Liver
function depends on constant supplies of ANTIOXIDANT NUTRIENTS.
- If the liver isn't working efficiently and antioxidant defenses are low, the effects can
be seen in any cell, tissue or organ in the body.
- A vast constellation of symptoms can result from impaired liver function that at first
glance may seem to have nothing at all to do with the liver.
- Over the last century the workload of our livers has increased significantly. A vast
amount of chemicals are now in everyday use and all of these must be processed and neutralized by
the liver. These chemicals come in the form of pharmaceutical drugs, household cleaning products,
cosmetic and personal care products as well as household furnishings and building materials, to name
but a few.
- NATURAL DETOXIFICATION (AID) whether we know it or not, we are continually inhaling
and ingesting natural and synthetic toxins. They are unavoidable in these modern times, both in our
polluted cities and our engineered food supplies.
When the body has its health and is supplied the nourishment it needs; it works tirelessly to eliminate
toxins and protect itself, however increasing levels of environmental pollution are depleting our
concentrations of glutathione more and more rapidly. This depletion comes from the utilization of GSH
in removing more and more toxins from our bodies.
- It is said that the health of the liver is the direct result of the concentration of GSH
in the liver. This means that if we have adaquate GSH levels, the liver has the capacity to detoxify
harmful chemicals and TOXINS.
Typically, when we are exposed to chemicals like alcohol and pollution which can damage the liver, the
concentration of glutathione in the liver is substantially reduced. This reduction makes the liver
susceptible to damage.
What happens if Glutathione levels are low?
Information by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
Glutathione deficiency contributes to oxidative stress, which plays a key role in aging and the
worsening of many diseases including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, liver disease, cystic
fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, HIV, AIDS, cancer, heart attack, and diabetes.
GLUTATHIONE IS SO IMPORTANT TO HEALTH
THAT IT'S DEPLETION LEADS TO CELL DEATH.
ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS ARE KNOWN TO CAUSE DEPLETION OF GLUTATHIONE
The Liver Involvment in Enviornmental Diseases
- The importance of the gut flora in ill health is becoming increasingly obvious as it is implicated as a cause of an
increasing number of illnesses.
- The health of the gut has a substantial impact on the health of the liver as everything absorbed from the
intestines passes through the liver so that harmful substances can be detoxified before the rest of the body is
exposed to them.
In one study by doctors at Biolab UK 61% of sufferers of undiagnosed chronic illnesses with predominant fatigue
were found to have overgrowth of both bacteria and yeast in the gut. As a result of their normal metabolism
these micro-organisms produce waste products that in increased amounts can be harmful to the LIVER and the
persons health as a whole. Yeast (CANDIDA - any 9 strains of Candida ) in particular produce a large amount of
ethanol (drinking alcohol) which is highly toxic to the liver, in fact alcohol is the single most toxic substance to
liver cells. As well as producing increased amounts of toxic substances for the liver to deal with, yeast or
bacterial overgrowth also causes damage to the intestinal lining causing 'leaky gut'. Increased gut permeability
results in even more potentially toxic substances from the gut being absorbed to put further stress on the livers
As mentioned earlier, the liver requires large amounts of energy and nutrients to function efficiently. If the liver
is overwhelmed by toxins, these nutrients can become depleted and the liver will function inefficiently resulting
in numerous symptoms and problems throughout the body. GSH is crucial for optimum liver function.
As you can see
Glutathione plays an extremely important role in Liver function.
FUNCTIONS OF THE LIVER:
- The liver plays an active role in the process of
digestion through the production of bile which
- The hepatocytes of the liver are tasked with
many of the important metabolic jobs that
support the cells of the body. Because all of
the blood leaving the digestive system passes
through the hepatic portal vein, the liver is
responsible for metabolizing carbohydrates,
lipids, and proteins into biologically useful
- Detoxification of potentially toxic chemicals
including drugs, alcohol and toxins from
intestinal microbes. Accomplished with
antioxidant nutrients and enzymes such as
- The liver provides storage of many essential
nutrients, vitamins, and minerals obtained from
blood passing through the hepatic portal
- The liver is responsible for the production of
several vital protein components of blood
plasma: prothrombin, fibrinogen, and albumins.
Prothrombin and fibrinogen proteins are
coagulation factors involved in the formation of
blood clots. Albumin functions as a major
transport for nutrients, electrolytes such as
calcium, sodium and potassium, hormones
such as T4, and vitally essential antioxidants
such as glutathione. Albumin is also involved in
regulating fluid balance through its modification
of colloid osmotic pressure.
- The liver has a number of important
functions in Immunity.
Hepatic involvement in innate immunity
contributes to the systemic response to
local inflammation, clearance of particles
and soluble molecules from the circulation,
and killing of invading cells such as
Hepatic involvement in adaptive immunity
allows clearance of activated T cells and
signaling molecules following inflammatory
reactions, and promotes immunologic
tolerance toward potentially antigenic
proteins that are absorbed from the
Normal GLUTATHIONE levels in LIVER cells
can be up to 85% intracellular
because of the jobs that the liver preforms in the body
FUNCTIONS OF GSH IN LIVER
- GSH is carried in the bile to the intestinal luminal compartment,
here GSH protects cells from toxins that enter the Intestine;
enabling Intestinal integrity
- metabolism of carbohydrates / lipids and proteins create
oxidative stress, GSH removes the excess oxidative stress =
better metabolism and less inflammation.
- Large quantities of Glutathione are found in the liver where a
two-stage detoxification process takes place.
- Phase One begins the chemical conversion of harmful
compounds that are mainly fat-soluble into intermediate forms.
- Phase Two is where the final transformation takes place to help
convert the intermediate toxins into water-soluble substances that
can be excreted through the bowel or kidneys. Only water-soluble
substances can be excreted. If there is not enough Glutathione to
generate the Phase two enzymes, toxins will build to dangerous
levels in the liver.
Unlike unnatural detoxification supplements, the use of
Glutathione is a natural process that allows our body to
perform its filtering capability organically and comfortably.
Many herbs that detoxify will also deplete valuable minerals
and vitamins. Glutathione inherently builds and nourishes.
- Vitamin C and B's are extremely important aids to GSH in
order to accomplish detoxification. The liver must be
healthy to allow storage of vits and minerals for use
intracellular. GSH maintains the health of the liver cells so
the liver can store vits and minerals.
- Prothrombin and Fibrinogen clotting factors - study
"Effect of glutathione on blood coagulation function"
It is concluded that glutathione influences detection results
of coagulation function.
- Albumin: Glutathione functions as one of the most critical
free radical scavenging antioxidants in the cells. Hence, low
albumin values are strongly suggestive of a decrease in
glutathione, as well as associated with increased levels of
oxidative stress and free radical toxicity.
More than 90% of the albumin in the blood is produced by the
liver. Therefore low values suggest liver dysfunction. It is
interesting to note that the liver's ability to function properly
is dependent upon its ability to remain protected by existing
glutathione in liver cells.
- Glutathione (GSH) is a major antioxidant as well as redox
and cell signaling regulator. GSH guards cells against
oxidative injury by reducing H2O2 and scavenging reactive
oxygen and nitrogen radicals. These processes have been
implicated in the pathogenesis of many liver diseases.
- Metabolism of toxins:
In the liver, the enzyme glutathione S-transferase takes the
sulfur from glutathione and attaches it to toxic molecules,
this makes the toxin more water soluble (it is diluted in water
easily). Once a toxin is water soluble, it is transported to the
body's elimination systems and is excreted from the body.
- Metabolism of carcinogens
Glutathione enzymes transform carcinogens, through
chemical reaction, to unreactive and non-genotoxic
compounds that can be eliminated without causing damage
to the cell or DNA.
- Metabolism of chemical components (drugs and poisons)
foreign to the body)
Glutathione interacts with foreign chemical (primarily, it is a
scavenger of harmful chemicals that have been oxidized)
compounds to neutralize and break them down, then
eliminate them from the body.
- Glutathione joins with heavy metals to neutralize them and
eliminate them from the body.
- Enhancement of systemic immune function
The immune system works best if the lymphoid cells have
properly balanced glutathione. The cloning of T-cells
consumes large quantities of cysteine. Macrophages (type of
white blood cells), which are only present in sufficient
quantites when there is sufficient glutathione, provide the
cysteine for the T-cell cloning.
- Glutathione regulates the binding, internalization,
degradation and T-cell proliferation by increasing, as much
as two times, the number of binding cellular receptors. More
receptors equates to more T-cells being produced
simultaneously (multiple T-cell cloning). Cellular GSH also
affects the growth and replication of T-cells through growth
- Recycling of other antioxidants (master antioxidant role)
Glutathione recycles oxidized lipoic acid, vitamin C and E by
restoring them to an active state, mostly by donating the
electrons that they used in metabolizing (neutralizing) free
radicals. So, instead of having this army of antioxidants
flushed out, they are recycled by glutathione and sent back
out to work.
Some diseases of the liver and the role that GSH plays:
Alcohol And The Liver - Alcohol is the most heavily consumed toxin in the world. Glutathione (GSH) is
vital to your health, wellness, and longevity. Alcohol is a major glutathione depleting agent. AlcoholGSH
represents the inseparable relationship between the detrimental effects of alcohol and the beneficial effects of
glutathione to health.
Autoimmune Hepatitis - Oxidant stress, as reflected in blood and urine by a wide range of pro- and
antioxidant markers, is a significant feature of AIH and provides a probable mechanism linking hepatic
necroinflammation to fibrogenesis and disease.progresssion. High oxidant markers = low GSH = stressed
Biliary atresia (BA) - is an important clinical problem involving impairments in bile flow that manifest as
neonatal jaundice and can lead to progressive fibrosis and end-stage liver cirrhosis [1, 2]. Oxidative stress and
mitochondrial dysfunction are involved in the pathogenesis of chronic liver cholestasis . Oxidative stress in
cells or tissues is an abnormal phenomenon that occurs when the production of oxygen radicals exceeds that of
the antioxidant capacity . These excess free radicals damage essential cellular macromolecules, leading to
abnormal gene expression and cell death . Antioxidant enzymes catalyze the decomposition of these free
radicals. The major antioxidant enzymes include glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and catalase (CAT), which differ
in structure, tissue distribution, and cofactor requirements .
Disturbances in the antioxidant system could play a role in the pathogenesis of chronic liver disease [6–8] and
could result in different types of liver diseases in infancy
Cirrhosis and Complications / liver cancer - antioxidant system of cirrhosis and hepatocellular
carcinoma is severely impaired. This is associated with changes of glutathione level and activities of GSH-
dependent enzymes in liver tissue. GSH and enzymes cooperating with it are important factors in the process of
liver diseases development.
Fatty Liver Disease - Abstract In chronic steatosic liver disease, alcohol or non-alcohol related or HBV,
HCV, HDV associated, a reduction in hepatic glutathione and, consequently, in the detoxifying effects of
hepatocytes is observed. GSH replenishing aids fatty liver disease
Galactosemia - The enzyme glutathione reductase which reduces oxidized glutathione to GSH is inhibited.
(b) The cofactor NADPH which both the aldose reductase of polyol pathway and glutathione reductase require
becomes depleted under hyperglycemia to the point that there is an insufficient amount for glutathione
reduction. (c) Membrane permeability is increased
Gallstones - data show that gall stone patients have a high level of oxidative stress in the gall bladder
mucosa, a finding that may be related to a decreased activity of functional enzymes in mucosal cells. Such a
condition might result in an altered gall bladder absorption and secretion of bile components such as mucins
and glycoproteins. The resultant increased risk of bile saturation would further contribute to the progress of gall
stone formation. GSH REMOVES oxidative stress thererfore aiding gall bladder
Hemochromatosis - whey protein ameliorates the oxidative changes induced by iron overload. In
addition, whey protein supplementation fully inhibited iron overload-induced DNA damage in leukocytes and
colonocytes. A highly significant positive correlation was observed between plasma iron levels and DNA
damage in leukocytes and colonocytes. These results show the antioxidative and antigenotoxic effects of whey
protein in an in vivo model of iron overload-induced oxidative stress.
Porphyria - presence of metals in liver - GSH plays a key role in detoxification, having the ability to bind to
heavy metals and other toxins through its sulfur molecules, thereby providing the means for the body to
eliminate these toxins. Studies have shown that children with autism have low levels of GSH which researchers
attribute to abnormalities in their methionine pathway.
Another extremely important function of GSH is its ability to protect (or at least minimize) the deadly effects on
our cells from all forms of radiation, from x-rays to microwaves.
Sarcoidosis - DISCUSSION: The endogenous antioxidant defense was significantly reduced in sarcoidosis,
indicating that oxidative stress underlies the pathology of this disease. Furthermore, the inflammatory status
was significantly enhanced in sarcoidosis.
GSH is the most effective method of removing inflammation in our body
Viral Hepatitis A, B, C - 2014 study - We concluded that the determination of antioxidant system,
oxidative stress and liver function tests may be considered as accurate biomarkers for determining the
progression of HBV infection. Also treatment with antioxidant supplementation is very important in case of HBV