Glutathione and the Brain

The article below entitled "Glutathione and the Brain" is from Max.com

I have chosen to include this informative article on my site because it details how glutathione dramatically slows down aging in the brain (and the rest of the body) and protects the brain from damage from excessive free radicals!

Glutathione also greatly helps to detoxify the brain of heavy metals, such as Mercury, found in brain of Autistic children and Aluminum, found in brain of those struggling with Alzheimer's.


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Glutathione and the brain

As the brain’s master antioxidant, glutathione plays an essential role in protecting this vital organ from free radical activity. Studies indicate that damage by free radicals to brain tissue may be associated with neurodegenerative disorders.(1) The neutralization of these free radicals is, therefore, an essential function of glutathione in the brain.

The brain is without doubt one of the most fascinating and mysterious organs in the body. It goes without saying that organs don’t get more vital than the brain, yet it is highly vulnerable to free radical activity,also called oxidation.

Relative to many other organs in the human body, the brain is deficient in defenses to oxidative stress. (2)

This deficiency in the brain can leave it vulnerable to lipid peroxidation. Lipids are a broad group of naturally occurring molecules which include fats, waxes, and such vitamins as A, D, E, and K. Lipids play an important role in such functions as energy storage and cell signaling.

Cell signaling is a complex system of communication between the cells that governs cell activity and allows cells to perceive and correctly respond to their microenvironment, setting the stage for important functions such as tissue repair and support of the immune system as the result of environmental stress. Conversely, when cell signaling fails it can result in health challenges of various kinds across the board. (3)

The oxidation degeneration of lipids is called lipid peroxidation. This occurs when free radicals steal electrons from lipids in the cell membrane resulting in cell damage. (4)

The brain:

• Accounts for only about 2 percent of the body’s mass, yet it utilizes approximately 20 perfect of the body’s oxygen.

• Is rich in lipids with unsaturated fatty acids, which are targets for lipid peroxidation—which results in cell damage through free radical activity.

• Contains less SOD, CAT, and glutathione activity when compared with other major organs such as the liver. (5)

These facts only underline the importance of supporting the antioxidant system for the best possible brain function throughout a person’s life. The brain can become vulnerable to free radicals when it is subjected to chemicals that are known to decrease glutathione. During times of environmental stress, free radicals can increase dramatically and potentially result in significant cell structure damage culminating in oxidative stress. (6) Providing the body with a means to keep free radical activity in check is vital. Glutathione and other antioxidants such as SOD and CAT, work together toward this end. (7)

Effects of aging in the brain

Research suggests that oxidative damage from free radicals is a major contributor to the functional decline characteristics of aging in the brain.

An August, 2009 study conducted on two groups of rats tested the aging effects of aluminum toxicity, administered to the first group. (8) The same toxicity mixed with a substance that acted as a free radical scavenger with antioxidant properties was given to a control group with dramatically different results.

The first group, which was given only the aluminum-toxic substance, experienced:

• A significant increase to lipid peroxidation, leading to free radical damage and oxidative stress

• A decrease of SOD, glutathione and other antioxidants

The control group, which was given free radical scavenger, experienced the opposite:

• Lipid Peroxidation was lowered

• Antioxidant activity was enhanced

The study found that the free radical scavenger had a protective effect against toxin-induced changes related to aging by reducing oxidative stress. This slowed the aging process which was present in the first group. (9)

The importance of a healthy brain is self evident. Subjecting ourselves to an abundance of free radicals and environmental stressors is not only bad for us but can accelerate the aging process in the brain. The brain requires a lot of oxygen and is more susceptible to oxidative stress than many organs because of a lower natural concentration of antioxidant activity. MaxGXL® and Max N-Fuze® help the body by giving each cell, including the all-important cells found in the brain, the fuel they need to increase antioxidant activity. This will have a lasting effect on health as it slows the aging process.

References:

1. For example,see, Mariani E., Polodori M.C., et al.,“Oxidative stress in brain aging, neurodegenerative and vascular diseases:an overview.” J. of Chromatogr. B, Analyt. Tech. in Biomed

and Life Sciences, Nov. 15, 2005: 827(1) 65-75 (available online at http://ncibi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16183338) (“Polodori”)

2. Gupta Y.B., Gupta M., Kohli K., “Neuroprotective Role of Melatonin in Oxidative Stress Vulnerable Brain.” Indian J. Phiol. Pharmacol., Oct. 2003: 47 (4): 373-86 (available online at:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.gov/pubmed/15266948).

3. Cell signaling, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cell_signaling; see also, Mandel S., Weinreb O., et al., “Cell signaling pathways in the neuroprotective actions of the green tea polyphenol

(-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate: implications for neurodegenerative diseases,” Apr. 2004; 89(2) 527 (available online at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15009657)

4. Lipid Peroxidation, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipid_peroxidation

5. Dringen R.,“Metabolism and functions of glutathione in brain.” Progress in Neurobiology, 2000: (62) 649-671, (available online at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10880854)

(“Dringen”)

6. See Dringen, above, in Note 5.

7. See Dringen, above, in Note 5.

8. See Polodori, above, in Note 1.

9. Sharma D, et al. “Curcumin counteracts the aluminum-induced aging-related alterations in oxidative stress, Na+, K+ ATPase and protein kinase C in adult and old rat brain regions.”

Biogerontology. 2009 Aug; 10 (4): 489-502 (available online at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19020987) (“Sharma”)



This article "Glutathione and the Brain" is from Max.com
(Max Today Newsletter, May 2010, pages 13-14)

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