COVID 19 Update
One important area of research is to better understand this disease, especially why some individuals are more susceptible to the virus and the severe inflammatory consequences that may ensue. We now know that COVID may cause much more than acute respiratory distress. The consequences of this virus seem to affect every system of the body.
How is this possible? It looks like the virus can impair cellular processes that create greatly increased oxidative stress. This pathological condition is due to the overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which damage the body and potentially create irreversible harm. If a person experiences increased ROS production as a response to COVID infection and has low antioxidant levels prior to infection, there is evidence that this is the kind of individual who will be at an increased risk of having a severe health crisis as a response to COVID 19.
WHAT IS GLUTATHIONE AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Glutathione is a natural antioxidant made in abundance in our bodies. Glutathione is a potent antiviral, supports the immune response, prevents damage from ROS, and regenerates Vitamin C and E. But what happens if there is a deficiency in the amount of glutathione that the body can produce? Current research suggests that decreased synthesis of glutathione will cause more severe presentation of COVID 19 in some individuals.
WHY DO SOME PEOPLE NOT MAKE GLUTATHIONE?
Firstly, as we age, we make less glutathione. Also, the presence of chronic disease, like diabetes or hypertension can also cause decreased glutathione synthesis. In addition, men produce less glutathione than women. Cigarette smoking causes depletion of glutathione in the lungs, resulting in greater oxidative stress and inflammation. Lastly, a nutrient-deficient diet will mean that glutathione production suffers. All of these factors related to glutathione depletion are also risk factors for severe consequences of COVID infection.
WHAT ABOUT VITAMIN D AND GLUTATHIONE?
I have advocated to my patients to make sure they are getting sufficient Vitamin D to support immunity. But did you know that glutathione is essential for the synthesis of Vitamin D in the body?
The higher your level of glutathione, the more Vitamin D is actively made in your body. Furthermore, the amino acid L-cysteine, a precursor for glutathione, increases the Vitamin D binding protein, which is responsible for increasing the body’s Vitamin D levels. Current research has found that Vitamin D regulatory genes are profoundly affected by the oxidative stress caused by low glutathione. Once restored to optimal amounts, people will be able to metabolize more Vitamin D due to the increased expression of Vitamin D regulatory genes.
So you can see Vitamin D levels and glutathione levels are intimately connected and both need to be optimized to support our immune function.
HOW CAN GLUTATHIONE PROTECT IN COVID 19?
Glutathione deficiency can lead to uncontrolled replication of the COVID 19 virus, increasing the severity of disease manifestation. This can then lead to more ROS damage, more inflammation, and a whole negative cascade of events leading to respiratory distress, blood clots, and organ failure.
So how can we support this essential natural defense system of our body? Glutathione is not well absorbed orally, but the amino acid N-Acetyl-Cysteine is very well absorbed and easy to take. NAC is the precursor for glutathione. Also some fruits and vegetables can dramatically increase the production of glutathione; especially avocado, garlic, onions, spinach, the cabbage family of vegetables, almonds and walnuts. Oral Vitamin C also supports glutathione production.
Lastly, glutathione can be nebulized and breathed directly into the lungs, which is a very effective treatment to raise body glutathione. It can also be injected into the muscle or infused by intravenous treatments. All of these treatments are available right here at the clinic. Please call the office at (416) 385-9277 to ask me if any of these treatments are right for you.
To recap, high body levels of glutathione seem to be protective against the most severe manifestations of COVID. The nutrients NAC, Vitamin C and Vitamin D are all important contributors to glutathione production, as well as a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. To quickly replenish glutathione, consider receiving it here at the office as a nebulized treatment or by injection.
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