Augmenting Glutathione

Glutathione is one of the tablets I wake up and take as if I’m attending to daily Gospel prayer; after I’ve been to the toilet that is. In 2009, after regaining my health, I stopped taking it. I mean, who’d want be stuffing themselves with vitamin pills when they feel so healthy? Me, that’s who. The next time I make it out of here, I’ll still take all the supplements that are helping me now. However… For the last two years, well, yes, it has been exactly like a religious practice: it’s just something I have to do.

Taking Glutathione is one of the few supplements that all my doctors agree on: it was Professor Rob Allen, Doctor of Environmental Medicine, here in Melbourne at the NIMM (National Institute of Integrative Medicine) Clinic, who first recommended them, a while back, before I recovered, way back in 2007—my health had improved, but I was still chronically sensitive to chemicals so that’s when I began seeing the good Professor. Now, Dr Colin Little, my Immunologist (whom I also see), is not big on vitamins—except for vitamin D, or anything else that shows up missing in a blood test. He’s not hot for natural therapies either for that matter, but this supplement is one of the few he advises is beneficial to take. So, along with my two favourite—but more importantly, knowledgable and helpful—doctor’s input, and my own antidotal evidence, this mineral is real firecracker!

If you haven’t heard of this important trace mineral, then know this: when enough is present, it helps prevent cancers and most other diseases. But when it’s not, in contrast, low levels, are associated with damage to all bodily tissues and much poorer health. Glutathione helps regulate the detoxification process and scientific studies have shown that people with immune disorders, or people deficient in Glutathione can have trouble detoxifying chemicals, particularly, heavy metals, like mercury. (It’s funny, in a you’d-think-this-is-a-bloody-corporation-money-making-conspiracy kind of way, that dentists are filling people’s mouths with mercury (amalgam) fillings, then these same people, after getting ill (cancer, chemical sensitivities, chronic allergies, chronic fatigue, ME, and many other immune dysfunctional disorders) are then paying other dentists to have it removed, and then seeing natural therapists in the hope they can detox it from their bodies—I’m not saying mercury is to blame, but all of us who are sick, and can afford it, are having our mercury amalgam fillings removed. (I did, and I promise, I’ll share the gist of this little gem another time!) Glutathione is already present in our bodies—in all mammalian cells actually—but may be especially important for organs with intense exposure to exogenous toxins (coming from an external source and effecting internal areas) such as the liver, kidney, lung and intestine. (Ring any bells here?)

Now, I take it in the capsule form; there are two types, I keep handy: the Deluxe Scavengers, made by Metabolic Maintenance, which come over from the US. (For Australians and New Zealanders, they can also be sourced from FxMed in New Zealand (NZ), but places in the US like I-Herb, and NEEDS are, by far, cheaper; especially if you buy a few bottles to cover the postage: you will save a lot of money if you live in Australia.) The other bonus about getting them from the US: the ones from I-Herb come in a glass bottle; the ones from FxMed in NZ are in plastic. Same product, different packaging. (Now that I’m living down near the beach in my awesome beach house, in much fresher air, with this intention of healing my health, and the beginning of seeing it improve all the time, I now find myself travelling to Uni, and then later to see my daughter, and then home again: I want my vitamins to be kept in glass because the car can heat up; it would be idiotic to keep them in plastic—PBA free, or not! Not that I have problems with plastic (Wow! One chemical I’m not sensitive too!) but there’s caution to abide by here, cause I know of many other chemically sensitive people who have become extremely physically reactive to it!)

 

The Scavengers also have a lot of the supplements recommended in Dr Martin Pall’s protocolThe Tenth Paradigm: Vitamin C, Q10, Vitamin E, A, B12, zinc, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), Flavonoids, Vitamin B6, and Selenium. Professor Allen recommends I take these, and other things, three times a day, but depending on whether I have any gut issues or not (usually meaning I’ve had high chemical exposures), then that will decide if I take them. For me, I’ve found that some days I’m better off not taking anything at all. For a while there, oxymoronically, I was taking so many vitamins, desperate to get better, yet feeling incredibly vomiting-in-my-mouth kind of sick from taking so many at once. (My last post was about an Elimination Diet that I’m on right now, as of March 2013, which is proving to have a lot to do with relieving me of these awful symptoms. I’ve lost a lot of weight, so I really need to work hard at ‘Being’ Healthy :)

The other one I take is just plain Glutathione; a brand called Thorne: Like a prayer where I’m down on my knees begging (for relief), I always take this after an exposure  when suffering with symptoms. These are at the same dose, 100 mg, but also have 120 mg of vitamin C, which not only helps me recover quicker, but, studies show vitamin C is needed for the body to be able to process Glutathione (Also need is Selenium (which is already in the Scavengers).) Neither of these options upset my digestion, which is rare for any tablet or capsule these days.

Interestingly, there are other ways to take it: here’s one that comes highly recommend from the chemically challenged women over at the Anglefire blog, and author Katherine Treat’s allergictolifemybattle: Intravenous Glutathione injection, which apparently, is a far more intensive and concentrated way to do it. And one that delivers spot on results. Professor Rob Allen has agreed that I could do this, but besides the fact of not having Private Health insurance, I’d be even the more sorer off, having to travel to his rooms in Malvern on the other side of the city to do this, and we both agreed that the chemical exposure from the traffic fumes, and possibly fragrances on other patients in the waiting rooms, would outweigh the benefit of doing it. So, bring on the capsules. Treat has pointed out that, although of great benefit to the improvement to her health, it leaves her feeling drained of energy, especially along with her Low Dose Antigen (LDA) treatments.

And, there is one another way, using a nebuliser (like the one in Dr Grace Ziem’s Neural Sensitisation programme), or via a nasal spray, which I’m particularly interested in. It’s just another way to get it into the body; but because my symptoms are mostly upper respiratory, my eyes, and/or /cognitive after an exposure, inhaling it seems like a satisfactory way to get it. However, it’s also a cost I can’t even consider while renting my little palace out near the ocean; also, it’s not a popular treatment that I’ve heard of many people doing over here, in Australia; but, I do know that if a person really wants to, they can have it made up at a Compounding Pharmacy. (I’ll try to post more on this at another time, as I have a whole host of information that a lovely, kind gentleman passed my way a few years back.)

Metabolic Maintenance claim that Glutathione—taken along with the other ingredients included in the Deluxe Scavengers—have a beneficial effect on the immune system of people with allergies (Now that’s a huge claim to make, and just because every pharmaceutical company, and his cousin, the manufacturer of natural medicines makes this claim, it’s even the more so unbelievable):

“Optimum doses of essential antioxidants are combined in one formula to create this powerful daily supplement. In addition to Beta Carotene and Vitamins A and E, patients benefit from Selenium, L-Cysteine and Lemon Bioflavonoids. • Selenium and Cysteine help to form glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme responsible for detoxification and for synthesis of hydroxyeicosatetranoic acid (HETE), an anti-inflammatory modulator • Lemon Bioflavonoids support the body’s normal reactions to allergens, viruses and carcinogens Our Deluxe Scavengers also include Riboflavin 5′ Phosphate, CoQ10, Glutathione and NAC.”

However, for me, and others I’ve met, their is truth in this claim: the first time I took these, before I recovered, I wasn’t even sure if they’d helped. The Scavengers were something I took as if I were dipping into a lucky dip, hoping I’d get better. Then when I did, and so fast and so miraculously so, I really wondered whether they’d helped or not. Now, I’m sure they did. Deluxe Scavengers and the added doses of Glutathione (after chemical exposures) are only two facets of the many things that worked: the most important being CLEAN AIR!

More important than taking tablets though, is the Glutathione we can get from foods. From Livestrong, I gathered this list, adding my own thoughts to it:

  • Chicken can help facilitate the delivery of it, but if you are deficient in Glutathione and/or overtoxified or suffering from an immune disorder, then, rather then stuffing yourself with fried chicken (okay steamed, baked, or boiled), some of the options above your key to increasing the levels of glutathione.
  • Turmeric (the yellow spice in mustard and in food eaten in India); the curcumin in this spice has been shown to stimulate glutathione production.
  • Many fruits, in their raw states, can boost your glutathione levels: avocado, grapefruit (pink and white), watermelon, cantaloupe, pear, banana, papaya, mango, apple, grapes, tomato, tomato juice, orange, orange juice, peach and strawberries.
  • Vegetables, if not overcooked, or even, eaten raw: acorn squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, okra, beets, spinach, zucchini, onions, peas, carrots, turnip greens, cabbage, leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, Brussels sprouts, sweet red peppers, green bell peppers, black-eyed peas, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, corn and pinto beans.
  • Finally, most sources of proteins, grains and dairy (if you can handle those last two) will help boost Glutathione levels.

If you are over-toxified, experiencing symptoms from chemical exposure, have an auto-immune disease, or suffer from chronic fatigue, then boosting it with foods may not be enough; but having said that, if your body can’t tolerate certain foods, and that list gets longer, as does, the list of chemicals causing you symptoms, then that could be a sign that you need to boost your glutathione levels.

Need More Information?

Livestrong: How to Increase Glutathione Levels

Click here, for a short clip on Glutathione and it’s relation to other vitamins

The Environmental Illness Resource: What is the best way to raise Glutathione levels?

 

References

Analysis of glutathione: implication in redox and detoxification

Glutathione metabolism and its role in hepatotoxicity (on liver cells)

Augmenting Glutathione in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

 

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About Michellina van Loder

Michellina Van Loder is a budding novelist, a poet and a Professional Writing & Editing student @ Victoria University (VU). This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities.

Comments

  1. Thank you for the discussion about glutathione. I think it leaves me tired the day I get the IV’s is because it does facilitate detoxing and starts moving toxins from my body. There is another form of glutathione. I have also taken liquid liposomal glutathione. It has added phospholipids. Because it is liquid, it gets into your system rather quickly.

    • WordPress.com Support says:

      Thanks for the liquid tip! I’m in the process of trying to find where I can buy it. In Australia, we can’t buy it except for Queensland or overseas. I’ve also been told that taking it in tablet/capsule form is useless but as I’ve had no other method, it’s all I’ve got, and it seems to work well, but the liquid is definitely what I want to try next. I herb don’t have it, but NEEDS do, so I guess I have to get it from there!

    • WordPress.com Support says:

      Thanks for the liquid tip! I’m in the process of trying to find where I can buy it. In Australia, we can’t buy it except for up north in Queensland or from overseas. I’ve also been told that taking it in tablet/capsule form is useless but as I’ve had no other method, it’s all I’ve got, and it seems to work well, but the liquid is definitely what I want to try next. Iherb don’t have it, but NEEDS do, so I guess I have to get it from there!

  2. wonderful products as well as the wonderful posts… nice to read it.

    • Michellina Van Loder says:

      Glad you enjoyed it. The hefty price tag of Glutathione, and having to order if from overseas is one I could live without but the beauty of the nature of it’s ability to speed up recovery from illness is one that I couldn’t. :)

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Copyright Michellina van Loder 2012. All words & photography by Michellina van Loder—unless otherwise stated.