Let’s talk today about the very important antioxidant called glutathione. It is made in largest amounts in liver cells. Glutathione protects liver cells against damage from free radicals which could be endangered by unhealthy foods, smoking, viruses or just getting older. So, we want our liver to make plenty of it. People with liver problems often don’t make enough glutathione in the liver. This powerful antioxidant that is made in the liver not only protects the liver but it’s sent by the liver to the kidneys and lungs to protects those organs and and is crucial for neutralising toxins and assisting the liver and kidneys to properly detoxify.

Glutathione is the most powerful antioxidant in the body.

Cysteine supplementation is also recommended for people who want to improve the condition of their hair, nails and skin, as well as support the detoxification process of the body. NAC is often used during cancer therapies, as well as in the case of infections or poisoning, for example with heavy metals. It is an amino acid also used in the treatment of ailments such as PCOS, insulin resistance, and also in the treatment of addiction.

When taken regularly, it helps to minimize the side effects of environmental pollutants and stressors in everyday life.

o Protects the liver and kidneys: Without adequate levels of glutathione available, the liver and kidneys would not be able to properly detoxify the body from harmful substances. Emergency departments in hospitals actually use NAC as an antidote for paracetamol overdose, that could otherwise result in liver failure. Restoring glutathione levels assists the liver cells for protection against damage caused by drugs, alcohol, viral infections and fatty accumulation. 80% of glutathione produced in the liver is transported to the kidneys for detoxification. The need for supplementation is increased in those with a damaged or poor functioning liver, as the liver is responsible for producing glutathione.

o Neutralizes toxins: NAC has strong antioxidant properties, and helps to neutralise toxins in the body and protect against free radical damage. We are constantly exposed to environmental and dietary toxins and pollutants that can damage our cells and organs. Heavy metals can accumulate in the liver, kidneys and other fatty tissues. NAC helps to neutralize these toxins to prevent them from causing DNA damage.

o Supports a healthy respiratory system: NAC acts as a mucolytic. This means that it helps to thin or dissolve mucous secretion from the lungs. Breaking down the mucous makes it easier for the mucous to be cleared from the lungs. This is useful for those who have a respiratory infection such as bronchitis or pneumonia, as the NAC helps to clear out bacteria that is trapped in the mucous. It could also be beneficial for those with compromised lung function such as asthma, to strengthen the immune system and help protect against infection.

o Decreases inflammation: Glutathione plays a protective role against inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation in the body can contribute to degenerative disorders, autoimmune conditions, impaired glucose control and organ disease. Supplementing with NAC will help to increase glutathione levels in the body, assisting in decreasing systemic inflammation.

o Supports muscle growth: NAC can help to prevent muscle wasting that occurs during ageing, and can also help to support and accelerate muscle growth in those who exercise. When taken prior to exercise, it could also aid in improving performance and endurance and delaying muscle fatigue

So how we can maintain high levels glutathione in our body?

The one way is to supplement with NAC which stays for N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine. That is particularly well absorbed form of cysteine. Also, to enhance glutathione function we do recommend supplementing selenium.

Expert opinion

Let’s find out what Doctor Sandra Cabot says about NAC supplementation in the video below.