Glutathione And Amino Acids
Glutathione also known as GSH is an antioxidant in fungi, plants, animals, and some bacteria. Glutathione is highly capable in preventing damage to important cellular components caused by reactive oxygen species such as free radicals, lipid peroxides, peroxides and heavy metals.
In human body, Glutathione is synthesized from the amino acids like, L-glutamic acid, L-cysteine, and glycine and hence it is not an essential nutrient. Glutathione does not have to be present in its direct form in diet as a supplement. Glutathione synthesis in the liver is essential for all animals.
Glutathione has multiple functions:
1. Glutathione maintains levels of reduced glutaredoxin and glutathione peroxidase.
2. It is an antioxidant produced by the cells, participating directly in the neutralization of free radicals such as reactive oxygen compounds. It also maintains antioxidants such as vitamins C and E in their active forms.
3. It is used in metabolic and biochemical reactions such as DNA synthesis and repair, protein synthesis, amino acid transport, prostaglandin synthesis, and enzyme activation. Thus, every system in the body can be affected by the state of the glutathione system, especially the nervous system, immune system, the gastrointestinal system, and the lungs. It has a vital function in iron metabolism.
4. It plays a major role in a cell’s life cycle progression, including cell death.
Biological implications of Glutathione
1. The sulphur rich characters of glutathione can result in forming relatively strong complexes with the heavy metal lead.
2. Once a cancerous tumor has been established, increased levels of glutathione may hinder cancerous cells by gaining resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs.
3. Several studies are in progress on the effectiveness of introducing inhaled glutathione to people with cystic fibrosis.
4. It is also observed that Glutathione has a major role in Alzheimer’s disease.
Uses of Glutathione
Glutathione is present in the first raw form of wine which determines the browning effect or caramelizing effect, during the production of white wine. Glutathione concentration in wine is measured by UPLC-MRM mass spectrometry.
Glutathione has important role in preventing oxidative damage to the skin. Glutathione has the ability to lighten the skin. The role of glutathione as a skin whitener was discovered as a side effect of large doses of glutathione. It controls the melanin production which gives color to skin. Glutathione’s protects the skin from UV radiation. IT also resists the internal stressors that generate free radicals that cause skin damage and hyperpigmentation.