Category Archives: Health & Wellness

What Is Glutathione?

What Is Glutathione?

“Glutathione is a very interesting, very small molecule that’s [produced by the body and] found in every cell,” says Gustavo Bounous, MD, director of research and development at Immunotec and a retired professor of surgery at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. “It’s the [body’s] most important antioxidant because it’s within the cell.”
Antioxidants — the most well known of which are vitamins C and E — are important for good health because they neutralize free radicals, which can build up in cells and cause damage. Because glutathione exists within the cells, it is in a prime position to neutralize free radicals. It also has potentially widespread health benefits because it can be found in all types of cells, including the cells of the immune system, whose job is to fight disease.

Glutathione occurs naturally in many foods, and people who eat well probably have enough in their diets, says Dean Jones, PhD, professor of biochemistry and director of nutritional health sciences at Emory University in Atlanta. Those with diets high in fresh fruits and vegetables and freshly prepared meats are most likely just fine. On the other hand, those with poor diets may get too little.

What Glutathione (GSH) is and
how it affects your immune health

Glutathione (or GSH) is the body’s own master antioxidant discovered way back in 1889. However, it was only about 30 years ago that the scientists began to understand its functions and discovered how to raise its levels.

GSH is a small protein molecule composed of 3 amino acids: cysteine,glutamate, and glycine called GSH precursors or building blocks.
GSH is produced out of these three precursors in every cell of the human body and performs many important roles, such as:
  • Regulation of cell growth and division
    For cells to grow and divide they go through several very complex stages. Glutathione reduces the oxides, such as hydrogen peroxide, inside the cell that would otherwise prevent cell division and growth.
  • DNA synthesis and repair (synthesis – reproduction/creation of a new copy)
    Glutathione protects the DNA from oxidative stress during cell division which allows for DNA synthesis (division). When the DNA is mutated by a free radical stealing an electron from the DNA, glutathione repairs the mutated DNA by giving up an electron to the DNA (replacing the DNA’s missing electron).
  • Protein synthesis
    Glutathione maintains our proteins in their proper form. Its sulfur atom reacts with unnatural sulfur-sulfur bonds in proteins, breaking them and allowing the proper pairings to form.
  • Amino acid transport (transport – movement into, out of, within a cell, or between cells, by means of some agent such as a transporter)
    Glutathione is predominately located in the cell, whereas a major fraction of the cellular y-glutamyl transpeptidase (glutathione enzyme) is on the external surface of cell membranes. This means intracellular glutathione is translocated out of many cells – glutathione moves substances, such as amino acids, in and out of the cell.
  • Enzyme catalysis
    Glutathione provides the mechanism by which many enzymes are changed (reduced, transformed or changed from one state to another state). Glutathione is the bridge (catalysis) in the chemical reaction between some enzymes.
  • Enzyme activation
    The highly reactive sulfide bond in glutathione wakes up or activates enzymes so that they carry out their function or are moved from one phase to the next.
  • Metabolism of toxins (metabolism or biotransformation – breaking down, activating or transforming)
    In the liver, the enzyme glutathione S-transferase takes the sulfur from glutathione and attaches it to toxic molecules, this makes the toxin more water soluble (it is diluted in water easily). Once a toxin is water soluble, it is transported to the body’s elimination systems and is excreted from the body.
  • Metabolism of carcinogens
    Glutathione enzymes transform carcinogens, through chemical reaction, to unreactive and non-genotoxic compounds that can be eliminated without causing damage to the cell or DNA.
  • Metabolism of xenobiotics (xenobiotics – chemical components (drugs and poisons) foreign to the body)
    Glutathione interacts with foreign chemicals (primarily, it is a scavenger of harmful xenobiotics that have been oxidized) compounds to neutralize and break them down, then eliminate them from the body.
  • Conjugation to heavy metals (conjugation – joining with and transforming by becoming part of)
    Glutathione joins with heavy metals to neutralize them and eliminate them from the body.
  • Conjugation to xenobiotics
    In some instances, depending on the state of the xenobiotic, glutathione joins with it instead of metabolizing it.
  • Enhancement of systemic immune function
    The immune system works best if the lymphoid cells have properly balanced glutathione. The cloning of T-cells consumes large quantities of cysteine. Macrophages (type of white blood cells), which are only present in sufficient quintiles when there is sufficient glutathione, provide the cysteine for the T-cell cloning. Glutathione regulates the binding, internalization, degradation and T-cell proliferation by increasing, as much as two times, the number of binding cellular receptors. More receptors equates to more T-cells being produced simultaneously (multiple T-cell cloning). Cellular GSH also affects the growth and replication of T-cells through growth stimulating cytokines.
  • Enhancement of humoral immune function
    The role of glutathione in the humoral response is that it protects the cells taking part in the humoral response all along this complex process.
    A quick synapsis of the humoral immune response: “humoral” means circulating in the bloodstream. This is an immune response (chiefly against bacterial invasion) that is mediated by B cells and involves the transformation of B cells into plasma cells that produce and secrete antibodies to a specific antigen.
    The process in a nutshell: macrophages engulf and digest the invading pathogen. The digested pieces activate helper T cells which in turn activate the proliferation of B cells that are programed for the specific invading pathogen.
  • Resistance to UV radiation
    Glutathione detoxifies reactive oxygen radicals created by radiation which reduces the damage to the cell. Glutathione also interacts covalently and noncovalently (neutralizes the reactivity in several ways) with parts of the cell that keep the cell from triggering apoptosis (cell death).
  • Decreases radiation damage
    The action of glutathione in decreasing the damage from radiation is the same as in resistance to UV radiation above.
  • Decreases free radical damage
    The crucial cysteine molecule is the key to the protection afforded by glutathione. Its sulfur atom scavenges destructive molecules (peroxides and free radicals) converting them to harmless compounds, such as water.
  • Decreases oxyradical damage
    Glutathione detoxifies reactive oxygen radicals by giving them an electron which effectively neutralizes them, or glutathione joins with the oxyradical which again neutralizes it.
  • Metabolizing of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)
    Glutathione biotransforms hydrogen peroxide by turning it into harmless water.
  • Recycling of other antioxidants (master antioxidant role)
    Glutathione recycles oxidized lipoic acid, vitamin C and E by restoring them to an active state, mostly by donating the electrons that they used in metabolizing (neutralizing) free radicals. So, instead of having this army of antioxidants flushed out, they are recycled by glutathione and sent back out to work.
  • Storage and transport of cysteine
    Glutathione is a tripeptide made up of amino acids CYSTEINE, glycine and glutamate. Glutathione provides and determines the amount and availability of neuronal cysteine.
  • Regulation of homocysteine
    The methionine cycle and the transsulfuration sequence compose the mechanisms for homocysteine metabolism. Transsulfuration sequence requires large quantities of cysteine. It is suspected that the rapid turnover of glutathione in the liver, kidneys, small intestine and pancreas accounts for the metabolism of homocysteine in these organs. Homocysteine metabolism also involves multiple enzymes. Excessive homocysteine is a known contributing factor of hardening of arteries (atherosclerosis).
  • Participation in nutrient metabolism
  • and more
WHAT DOES GLUTATHIONE DO IN OUR BODIES?

Antioxidant – GSH is the body’s master Antioxidant, our bodies depend on GSH for the removal of toxins and GSH is at the heart of all immune functions. Other antioxidants in our body depend on GSH to function properly.
Detoxification – GSH detoxifies a large number of pollutants by binding to carcinogens, heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides and radiation by forming a soluble compound with the toxin that can then be excreted through the urine or bile.
Immune system – Healthy growth and activity of immune cells depends on the availability of GSH. The protective activity of GSH is two-fold – it enhances the activity of immune cells and also functions as an antioxidant within them.
Increased Energy – Our energy levels are a result of many factors – everything from the biochemical reactions taking place within our cells, to muscle function and even your sense of well-being. GSH enables the mitochondria of a cell to remain fully charged, enhancing muscle strength and endurance. Clinical trials have shown that lowering GSH in the mitochondria results in cell death.
Repair – Our body is constantly under attack from free radicals, some from external sources and some generated in our own body. Free radicals attack the nearest stable molecule, “stealing” its electron. A molecule that loses an electron then becomes a free radical itself and attacks the next nearest stable molecule, this begins a chain reaction. Once the reaction is started it can cascade through hundreds of molecules. As this occurs over and over again the cell eventually dies or mutates. Sometimes the mutated cell mutates to a point that we know as cancer. GSH performs a vital role in repairing the damaged DNA by replacing the missing electron. Normal to elevated GSH keeps the repair of our cells at a maximum and reduces the number of cell mutations that would occur otherwise.
GSH is at the heart of all immune functions and low GSH levels are seen in many diseases such as AIDS, advanced diabetes, and cancers. Raising and maintaining GSH levels can help minimize the risk of diseases.
Glutathione exists in reduced (GSH) and oxidized (GSSG) states. In healthy cells and tissue, more than 90% of the total Glutathione is in the reduced form (GSH) and less than 10% exists in the oxidized form (GSSG). An increased GSSG-to-GSH ratio is considered indicative of oxidative stress. The ratio of reduced Glutathione to oxidized Glutathione within cells is often used scientifically as a measure of cellular toxicity.
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Glutathione is recommended for vegans and vegetarians

Glutathione deficiency has been linked to:
  • Age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • Coronary and autoimmune diseases
  • Arthritis, asthma and other inflammatory conditions
  • Cancer
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Muscle weakness and fatigue

What Foods Promote the Highest Glutathione Levels?

Many whole foods contain significant amounts of glutathione or its precursors. Foods richest in sulfur-containing amino acids are usually the best sources of glutathione:
  • The overall top food for maximizing your glutathione is high quality whey protein. It must be cold pressed whey protein derived from grass fed cows, and free of hormones, chemicals and sugar. 
    Quality whey provides all the key amino acids for glutathione production (cysteine, glycine and glutamate) and contains a unique cysteine residue (glutamylcysteine) that is highly bioactive in its affinity for converting to glutathione. 

    Glutamylcysteine is a bonded cysteine molecule (cysteine plus glutamate) that naturally occurs in Bovine Serum Albumin – a fragile immune component of the whey. This unique cysteine is exclusive to whey and rarely appears in other protein foods – which makes whey protein the best glutathione-promoting food source. 

    Furthermore, whey provides critical co-factors, immunoglobulins, lactoferrin and alpha Lactalbumin (also a great source of cysteine), which together help create the right metabolic environment for high glutathione activity.

  • Raw milk products, raw eggs and meat: Glutathione occurs in the highest levels in fresh, uncooked meats and raw milk, but is almost entirely absent in pasteurized dairy products.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables provide excellent glutathione, but once cooked, values become negligible. Spinach, potatoes, asparagus, avocado, squash, okra, cauliflower, broccoli, walnuts, garlic and tomatoes have the highest glutathione per serving.
  • The herb milk thistle is an excellent source of the antioxidant compound silymarin, which may help to prevent glutathione depletion in the liver. Glutathione is crucial in the liver for detoxification and can become depleted from acetaminophen (Tylenol), alcohol consumption, and general toxic overload.
  • Curcumin may also be useful for increasing glutathione levels.
Keeping your glutathione levels up is a matter of increasing factors that boost your glutathione and decreasing factors that lower it. The things that deplete your glutathione the fastest are chemicals, toxins and sugar.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/04/10/can-you-use-food-to-increase-glutathione-instead-of-supplements.aspx 

Eye Twitching and Eyelid Twitches

What are the

  •  causes of eye twitching
  • remedies

Eye twitching, eyelid tics and spasms are pretty common. Usually only the bottom lid of one eye is involved, but the top eyelid also can twitch. Most eye twitches come and go, although they can last for weeks or even months.
I once received an e-mail from a patient’s wife, who told me her left lower eyelid had been twitching for several weeks, and it was driving her crazy. Could I help?
To find a solution for eye twitching, we needed to determine the underlying cause of this annoying problem. Called myokymia in doctor lingo, these rippling muscle contractions in an eyelid can be triggered by:
  • Stress
  • Tiredness
  • Eye strain
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Dry eyes
  • Nutritional imbalances
  • Allergies
Almost all sudden-onset eyelid twitching is benign, meaning the condition is not serious or a sign of a medical problem.
However, this kind of eye twitching also can be hard to treat. The only option for making the twitching stop may be to figure out the cause and deal with it.
More serious forms of eyelid twitching are caused by neurological conditions such asblepharospasm or hemifacial spasm. These conditions are much less common and should be diagnosed and treated by an eye doctor.


When your eyelid is twitching, you may feel that everyone else can see it, as in this animation that exaggerates the movement. But usually the spasm is so subtle that others wouldn’t even notice.

(If you can’t see the image, you may need Flash Player.)

Why Does My Eye Twitch?

Stress: While we’re all under stress at times, our bodies react in different ways. Eye twitching can be one sign of stress, especially when it is related to vision problems such as eye strain (see below). Reducing the cause of the stress can help make the twitching stop.
Tiredness: A lack of sleep, whether because of stress or some other reason, can trigger eyelid spasms. Catching up on your sleep can help.
Eye strain: Vision-related stress can occur if, for instance, you need glasses or a change of glasses. Your eyes may be working too hard, triggering eyelid twitching.
Computer eye strain from overuse of computers, tablets and smartphones is also a very common cause of vision-related stress.
If your eyelid twitching is persistent and very annoying (like the problem experienced by my patient’s wife), you should have an eye exam, because you may need vision correction.
If you spend a lot of time on the computer, you also should consider talking to your eye doctor about special computer eyeglasses.
Caffeine and alcohol: Many experts believe that too much caffeine and/or alcohol can trigger eye twitching. If your caffeine (coffee, tea, soda pop, etc.) and/or alcohol intake has increased, cutting back is worth a try.
Dry eyes: More than half of the older population experiences dry eyes, due to aging. Dry eyes also are very common for people who use computers, take certain medications (antihistamines, antidepressants, etc.), wear contact lenses and consume caffeine and/or alcohol. If you are tired and under stress, you also may develop dry eye.
It’s best to see your eye doctor for a dry eye evaluation, because many treatments are now available.
Nutritional imbalances: Some reports indicate a lack of certain nutritional substances, such as magnesium, can trigger eyelid spasms. Although these reports lack scientific evidence, I can’t rule this out as a possible cause of eye twitching.
If you suspect a nutritional deficiency may be affecting you, however, I suggest talking this over with your family doctor for expert advice rather than randomly buying over-the-counter nutritional products.
Allergies: People with eye allergies can have itching, swelling and watery eyes. When eyes are rubbed, this releases histamine into the lid tissues and the tears. This is significant, because some evidence indicates that histamine can cause eyelid twitching.
To offset this problem, some eye doctors have recommended antihistamine eye drops or tablets to help some eyelid twitches. But remember that antihistamines also can cause dry eyes. It’s best to work with your eye doctor to make sure you’re doing the right thing for your eyes.

Eye Twitching Remedies

In rare cases, some eye twitching just won’t go away. Some of these types of twitches can be successfully treated with Botox injections that help stop muscle contractions. See your eye doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment if the twitching affects half your face or your entire eye, causing the lids to clamp shut.
So, what caused my patient’s wife to have eyelid twitching? The problem turned out to be a combination of dry eyes and an incorrect contact lens prescription.
Luckily, I was able to solve her annoying problem by prescribing new bifocal contacts made of a material designed specifically for people with dry eyes.

Read more:

Uterine Fibroids

Uterine Fibroid, also called myoma, leiomyomata, fibromyoma, uterine polyps, uterine myoma, leioma, fibroma or hysteromyoma, are noncancerous tumors of the uterus. Uterine fibroids are also known as leiomyomata, myomas or uterine polyps. Uterine fibroids grow within the muscles of the uterus, on the outside of the uterus, hang in the uterine cavity or very rarely form within the cervix. They can range in size from microscopic to many pounds. Uterine fibroids form in the childbearing years of a woman’s life. There may be just one fibroid or many, with differing locations. Uterine fibroids are rarely a cause for concern, but when they become too large, or there are many present, they may become a problem.

Types of Uterine Fibroids

Submucosal: grow in the innermost layer of the uterus
Intramural: grow in the middle layer of the uterus
Subserous: grow in the outer wall of the uterus
Pedunculated: attached to a stalk either outside of the uterus or within the uterine cavity
Cervical: in the cervical tissue
Interligamentous: between the uterine broad ligaments

Causes of Uterine Fibroids

Though a large percentage of women suffer from uterine fibroids, doctors are actually unsure of what causes them to occur. What they do know however, is that estrogen and progesterone, both female hormones, contribute to the growth of the fibroids.
This means that the hormones will increase during the years a woman has a menstrual cycle, because it is during these years the body produces the highest levels of these hormones. Generally, after menopause occurs and your body produces lower levels of progesterone and estrogen, the fibroids will begin to shrink and any symptoms that have occurred from the hormones will subside.
Uterine fibroids are hormone dependent. They develop during the hormonally active years and decline in menopause. Fibroid tissue has a higher amount of estrogen and progesterone receptors. Fibroid tissue is hypersensitive to estrogen, but does not have the capacity to regulate estrogen response, this is why they can grow to become quite large. Other hormones play a role in the growth of uterine fibroids as well, including prolactin, parathyroid hormone, insulin growth factor, and pituitary growth hormone.
Fibroids are two to three times more likely to develop in African American women compared to any other ethnicity.
Factors that May Increase Fibroid Development
  • Increased lifetime exposure to estrogen. This is due to early menarche, fewer pregnancies, increased follicular phase and/or obesity. Body fat produces and stores estrogen.
  • Exposure to xenoestrogens such as plastics, pesticides, herbicides, synthetic hormones in both meat and dairy products, or hormone replacement therapy.
  • Poor estrogen metabolism. Some women’s bodies have a harder time removing and metabolizing excess estrogen.
  • Hypertension
  • Infection complications from IUD use
  • Perineal talc use
  • Anovulatory cycles
  • Endometrial hyperplasia (common in women with PCOS)

Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids

While many women will never even know that they have uterine fibroids because the condition often exhibits no symptoms, there are some women that will experience certain effects from the fibroids presence. Symptoms of uterine fibroids include:
  • A sensation of fullness or pressure in the abdominal area
  • Excessive bleeding during menstruation
  • Excessive length of menstruation
  • Extreme cramping during menstruation
  • Lower back pain
  • Painful intercourse
  • A frequent urge to urinate

Uterine Fibroids May Negatively Impact Conception and Pregnancy

Fibroids are thought to be the cause of infertility in 2%-10% of infertility cases. Reports have shown uterine fibroids may be responsible for the following fertility, conception and pregnancy problems:
  • Interfere with implantation of the ovum
  • May compress the fallopian tubes, preventing conception
  • Cause anovulatory cycles
  • Cause abnormal uterine blood flow, hindering movement of sperm to ova
  • Cause miscarriage
  • May cause intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR)
  • May cause premature rupture of the membranes
  • Contribute to retained placenta after birth
  • Cause postpartum hemorrhage
  • Cause abnormal labor
Not all women with uterine fibroids will experience these kinds of troubles and many go on to have healthy pregnancies even with uterine fibroids present. Because there are risks to your fertility and possibly pregnancy, it is best to work to reduce fibroid growth, prevent formation of new fibroids and to maintain healthy lifestyle choices to continue working to bring about the best possible uterine health.

Medical Treatment for Uterine Fibroids

In many cases, the effects of uterine fibroids are so minor that many woman use a general over-the-counter pain medicine to treat any cramping or pain associated with the fibroid tumors. Since the tumors can also cause excessive menstrual bleeding which can lead to anemia, an iron supplement is recommended if excessive bleeding is occurring.
In the medical world, the only successful treatment for fibroids is surgery. The two main types of surgery used for treating uterine fibroids are a myomectomy, which only removes the existing fibroids, and a hysterectomy, which removes the entire uterus.

Myomectomy

    A myomectomy can help to remove the existing tumors that you have, but it will not prevent the tumors from growing back (only lifestyle changes can help to balance the body and promote hormonal balance). However, this method of uterine fibroid removal is the best of the two surgery choices for those women that are still wanting to conceive a child.
Hysterectomy
This surgical procedure removes the uterus completely. With a hysterectomy, you can guarantee that the tumors will not grow back. Unfortunately, there are many other side effects that can occur from a hysterectomy including early menopause, an increased risk of osteoporosis and of course, the inability to become pregnant. Approximately 17% of hysterectomies performed in the United States are due to uterine fibroids.
Uterine Fibroid Embolization
Another newer procedure that is being used for treating uterine fibroids is uterine fibroid embolization. This method of treatment has proven effective at shrinking fibroids or destroying them completely, however it is not without side effects. This treatment should not be used by those women that are wanting to become pregnant, since it is known to throw the body into early menopause and can even cause infertility.
Uterine fibroids can be quite hard to treat naturally or through hormonal medications prescribed by doctors. If after trying either hormonal medications or natural therapies you continue to suffer from uterine fibroids, it may be time to seriously consider surgical options. Doctors nor natural healthcare practitioners have been able to find an exact solution to getting rid of uterine fibroids permanently. Even after surgery uterine fibroids may grow again, or new ones may form. This is why step 1 under our Natural Therapies guide below is extremely important. It is vital to reduce exposure to xenohormones and continue to eat well to keep estrogen levels in balance.

The Best Natural Remedies for Uterine Fibroids…

Natural Treatments Shrink and Eliminate Fibroid Tumors

 
 

Spirulina – World’s Richest Whole Food

World’s Healthiest Super Food
“THE BEST FOOD FOR THE FUTURE”, according to United Nations. Tests done by NASA found spirulina to be an excellent compact space food for astronauts. In fact, NASA found that 1kilogram of Spirulina contains about the same nutrients as 1,000 kilograms of assorted vegetables!


– aquatic microscopic vegetable organism (blue green algae) which contains the most remarkable concentration of functional nutrients ever known in any food.
– one of the cleanest, most naturally sterile foods found in nature.
– retains its nutritional value even when subjected to high temperatures during processing and shelf storage.
– richest source of natural antioxidants of any whole food.
– contains potent anti-cancer phytochemical called phycocyanin
– has unusual phytonutrients for health and cleansing
– supports and stimulates growth of “friendly” bacteria in the intestines and colon
– highest source of B-12, essential for healthy nerves and tissues, especially for vegetarians
– 65 to 71% complete protein with all essential amino acids in perfect balance, compared to beef which is only 22%, and also superior to typical plant protein, such as from legumes.
– easy to digest vegetable protein without the fat and cholesterol of meat
– richest natural source of GLA (Gamma-linolenic acid) found in mother’s milk which boosts immunity, increases mental capacity, helps regulate blood sugar and insulin, and suppresses appetite and reduces cravings to help you lose weight
– has 58 times the iron of raw spinach and 28 times that of raw beef liver, and easier to absorb than iron supplements
– also contains more beta-carotene 10x more concentrated than carrots.
– rich in vitamins and minerals such as B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, Vitamin C, D, E, calcium, selenium, zinc, sodium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, magnesium and manganese.