- by Nils Osmar. September 30, 2023
- This post is not intended as, and should not be taken as, medical advice.
- See full Medical Disclaimer
Glutathione is a naturally-occuring compound which has many beneficial effects, and is associated both with healthy aging and life extension. According to a study called GlyNAC (Glycine and N-Acetylcysteine) Supplementation in Mice Increases Length of Life by Correcting Glutathione Deficiency, Oxidative Stress, Mitochondrial Dysfunction, Abnormalities in Mitophagy and Nutrient Sensing, and Genomic Damage:
Mice receiving GlyNAC supplementation (1) lived 24% longer than control mice; (2) improved/corrected impaired GSH synthesis, GSH deficiency, OxS, mitochondrial dysfunction, abnormal mitophagy and nutrient-sensing, and genomic-damage. These studies provide proof-of-concept that GlyNAC supplementation can increase lifespan and improve multiple age-associated defects. GlyNAC could be a novel and simple nutritional supplement to improve lifespan and healthspan, and warrants additional investigation.
Our bodies use glutathione for:
- Regenerating oxidized vitamin C and vitamin E
- Reducing oxidative stress and breaking down free radicals. (Glutathione is a potent natural antioxidant.)
- Reducing cell damage in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
- Improving insulin resistance.
- Nitric oxide (and sexual energy) “SH is an essential cofactor for NO synthase and NO plays a pivotal role in the relaxation of human penile smooth muscle and penile erection (Angulo et al., 2000). We hypothesize that low levels of this cofactor can contribute to ED by reducing NO production (Ghigo et al., 1993).” See study
- Increasing mobility for people with peripheral artery disease.
- Reducing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
- Making DNA, the building blocks of our cells
- Modulating DNA repair
- Supporting immune function.
- Lowering inflammation
- Helping remove mercury from our bodies (including our brains)
- Some studies suggest that glutathione may help fight against autoimmune disease.
- For males: Supporting the production of healthy human sperm and improving male fertility
- For females: Protecting human eggs from oxidative damage.
Glutathione levels drop as we age. We can increase it by:
- Taking GlyNAC – i.e., taking NAC (N. Acetyl Cysteine) along with glycine. According to this study, the combination of glycine and N-acetyl cysteine supplementation in older adults improves glutathione deficiency, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, inflammation, insulin resistance, endothelial dysfunction, genotoxicity, muscle strength, and cognition.
- Drinking or eating foods containing whey powder. (I add a scoop of raw grass-fed whey powder to Greek yogurt and eat it after exercising on my workout days.)
- Eating sulfur rich foods such as eggs, onions and garlic.
- Eating foods rich in selenium, or taking a selenium supplement. Note: Selenium is essential to health but overdoses can be toxic. I’m limiting my consumption to around 200 mcg/day. See article: “Dietary selenium increases cellular glutathione peroxidase activity and reduces the enhanced susceptibility to lipid peroxidation of plasma and low-density lipoprotein in kidney transplant recipients“
- Taking a sulforaphane supplement, or eating foods high in sulforaphane such as broccoli seeds or sprouts.. See article. I’m currently taking two 200 mg. capsules of DoNotAge Sulforaboost every morning along with my NAD boosters. Any high quality sulforaphane supplement should work.
- Making sure you’re eating enough protein. Some people in the anti-aging community are actively restricting their protein, hoping to lower the activation of mTOR; but we need all of the essential amino acids for the body to produce glutathione. Meat and milk contain these amino acids; if you eat a more plant-based diet you may need to supplement with some amino acids that are lower in plants proteins.
- Taking milk thistle supplements has also been found to activate glutathione production in the body.
Recently I’ve been combining interventions, by taking:
- 1/3 cup of whey in some water (or sometimes raw milk) – along with:
- 200 mcg of selenium or 400 mcg of selenomethionine
- 2 grams of NAC and 2 grams of glycine.
- I also eat sulfur-rich foods such as egg yolks, garlic or onions every day.
What I’ve noticed
This is anecdotal of course, but I get a bigger boost from taking them all together than separately. I also have more interest in sex. I can tell when my glutathione is high because it increases my alertness; when I take them together around noon the effect lasts all day.
Possible side effects
With any intervention, it’s good to thoroughly explore both the potential benefits and side effects so that you can make an informed decision. To use NAC as an example, according to WebMD website, “When taken by mouth: N-acetyl cysteine is likely safe for most adults. N-acetyl cysteine is an FDA-approved prescription drug. It can cause side effects such as dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.” It has an unpleasant odor that some people find hard to tolerate.” Some studies suggest that antioxidants have an anti-cancer effect in the body; others suggest that they may increase the risk of some types of cancer.
Not medical advice
This article is not intended as, and should not be taken as, medical advice. I’m not advising that people eat any particular diet or take any particular supplement(s), just reporting on what I’m doing. Supplements, like medications and other interventions, can have side effects; I would encourage people to research both possible benefits and side effects before starting on any supplementation regimen, and consult with a medical professional about any issues which might have a medical component. See full Medical Disclaimer
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