Glutathione is a natural substance that is present in all human cells. It functions as an antioxidant, which means that it donates electrons to quench free radicals, ultimately protecting cells. If glutathione is depleted in a cell, it will lead to cell death. Glutathione protects cells of many types, especially the skin, lens, retina, and cornea. It is also a cofactor in many bodily processes and is the foundation for the main detoxification pathway in the liver, kidneys, lungs, intestinal lining, and other organs. G lutathione has been the subject of scientific research for many years. Studies have shown that levels of glutathione directly correspond to the health and function of cells.
Parkinson’s Disease and Glutathione treatment
Many diseases are linked to glutathione deficiencies, including neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s is characterized by loss of dopamine in a specific part of the brain called the substantia nigra. Glutathione is significantly depleted in the substantia nigra in the preclinical stages of Parkinson’s disease as the earliest biochemical change. This deficiency causes increased free radicals that further the disease process. Mitochondrial cells, which produce energy, are the most vulnerable to low glutathione and can die when glutathione levels are below 70%. Mitochondrial failure has been specifically connected with Parkinson’s disease. Medical trials have shown that intravenous (IV) glutathione supplementation resulted in improvements in rigidity, posture, gait, speech, and hypokinesia (decreased body movement). At the Center for Integrative Medicine we offer intravenous (IV) glutathione supplementation tailored to each patient’s specific needs. The dosing range depends on the individual patient, but usually is 2-3 grams of glutathione per infusion for the adjunctive treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
Other Uses for Supplementary Glutathione
Some people lack the enzymes to make glutathione because of the inherited genetic defect that may manifest with neurologic or hematologic (blood) problems later in life. Patients with HIV/AIDS have systemic glutathione depletion and may benefit from repletion. Liver cirrhosis, viral hepatitis, and nonalcoholic liver disease can result in low glutathione in the blood. Lung diseases like COPD, asthma, fibrosis, and some acute conditions are associated with low glutathione. Elderly patients, people with gastritis, ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, and pancreatic inflammation often have altered glutathione levels. Overall, the aging process is associated with changes in the balance of glutathione. As research proves more disease states manifesting glutathione deficiency, glutathione repletion therapy will continue to be a helpful therapeutic strategy.
Glutathione supplementation is relatively safe, but one should consult a licensed healthcare provider before initiating treatment. Caution is taken for people with sulfite sensitivities and patients undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
Dr. Perlmutter in Naples, FL, has conducted much of the pioneering work on the use of glutathione for neurological disorders.
Glutathione Therapy for Parkinson’s, Dr. Perlmutter:
- Part One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxno30sQkyU
- Part Two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9sVN7OIKMg&feature=related
- Gaby, AR. Nutritional Medicine. Fritz Perlberg Publishing, 2011
- Glutathione, Reduced (GSH). Alt Med Rev, 6(6) 2001: 601-607
- Schulz JB, Lindenau J, Seyfried J, Dichgans J. Glutathione, oxidative stress and neurdegeneration. Eur J Biochem 2000; 267:4904-4911.
- Sechi G, Deledda MG, Bua G, et al. Reduced intravenous glutathione in the treatment of early Parkinson’s disease. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 1996; 20:1159-1170.
- Venkateshappa C, Harrish G, Mythri RB, et al. Increased oxidative damage and decreased antioxidant function in aging human substantia nigra compared to striatum: Implications for Parkinson’s disease. Neurochem Res, 2011.
In addition to the above listed infusions, we provide other individualized formulas. We also work closely with several practices across the country to provide continuity infusions during patients’ travels. If your physician prescribed a specific nutritional IV formula, we may be able to provide it for you. Please contact us directly at 202-833-5055 if you have questions.