Ken's Wellness Weekly

Liposomal Glutathione for Fighting Viruses

Glutathione is essential for preventing cancer, heart disease, dementia, premature aging, and many, many, more diseases. And, glutathione deficiency is found occurring in virtually all seriously ill people. Fortunately, the body produces its own glutathione. Unfortunately, it is depleted by aging, infections, medications, pollution, poor diet, radiation, stress, toxins, and trauma.

Thus, I assumed that having a good store of glutathione in the body would also help us prevent and recover from viral infections. So I did a little research to check into this theory.

What is Glutathione? Glutathione (GSH) is a substance produced naturally by the liver, necessary to protect cellular health, and the single most important antioxidant required in order for the body to properly detoxify. (For more information on glutathione have a read of this blog of mine.)

How Effective is Liposomal Glutathione? It is considered a given in the alternative health field that most glutathione products break up in the stomach acid, and do not actually elevate glutathione levels in the body. The intravenous form of glutathione is used for medical treatment in most cases, whereas the Naturopathic community will use either intravenous or liposomal glutathione.

As we discovered in a previous newsletter, liposomal vitamin C has proven to be at least as effective as intravenous vitamin C, so how effective is liposomal glutathione? Following is a study which examined just that.

“We investigated if oral administration of liposomal GSH is effective at enhancing GSH levels in vivo.”

“A 1-month clinical study of oral liposomal GSH administration at two doses (500 and 1000 mg of GSH per day) was conducted in healthy adults. GSH levels in whole blood, erythrocytes, plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were assessed in 12 subjects at the baseline and after 1, 2 and 4 weeks of GSH administration.”

“GSH levels were elevated after 1 week with maximum increases of 40% in whole blood, 25% in erythrocytes, 28% in plasma and 100% in PBMCs occurring after 2 weeks. GSH increases were accompanied by reductions in oxidative stress biomarkers....Enhancements in immune function markers were observed with liposomal GSH administration including Natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxicity, which was elevated by up to 400% by 2 weeks, and lymphocyte proliferation, which was elevated by up to 60% after 2 weeks. Overall, there were no differences observed between dose groups.” (Which indicates that one dose of 500 mg is sufficient to get all the benefits of this form of glutathione.)

“Collectively, these preliminary findings support the effectiveness of daily liposomal GSH administration at elevating stores of GSH and impacting the immune function and levels of oxidative stress.” (Study)

Does Glutathione Help Fight Viral Conditions? So, we know that liposomal glutathione is a highly effective delivery form, but is it an appropriate treatment for viral conditions?

“Decreased glutathione levels have been found in numerous diseases such as cancer, viral infections, and immune dysfunctions. Many antioxidant molecules, such as GSH and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) (which raises glutathione levels in healthy people) have been demonstrated (in lab and human studies) to inhibit viral replication through different mechanisms of action.”

As this study confirms, “GSH is not transported to most cells and tissues in a free form.”

So the researchers investigated some of the more efficient ways of elevating glutathione in the body. The portion of this study available to the public does not specifically discuss which “different approaches have been developed in the last years to circumvent this problem.”

However, having (above) established the effectiveness of liposomal glutathione, we can assume that their conclusion on the antiviral nature of effective glutathione elevators, can be applied to the liposomal form.

“This review discusses the capacity of some new molecules with potent pro-GSH effects either to exert significant antiviral activity or to augment GSH intracellular content in macrophages to generate and maintain the appropriate Th1/Th2 balance. The observations reported herein show that pro-GSH molecules represent new therapeutic agents to treat antiviral infections and Th2-mediated diseases such as allergic disorders and AIDS. (Study)

Further evidence of the antiviral properties of glutathione can be found in this study, which looked at its effectiveness in treating the herpes virus.

“The role of glutathione (GSH) in the in vitro infection and replication of human herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) was investigated. Internal GSH levels dramatically decreased in the first 24 hrs after virus adsorption, starting immediately after virus challenge. The addition of exogenous (externally introduced) GSH was not only able to restore its intracellular levels almost up to those found in uninfected cells, but also to inhibit > 99% the replication of HSV-1. This inhibition was...also maintained if the exogenous GSH was added as late as 24 hrs after virus challenge, i.e. when virus infection was fully established....Data suggest that exogenous GSH inhibits the replication of HSV-1 by interfering with very late stages of the virus life cycle, without affecting cellular metabolism.” (Study)

Finally, I have a detailed paper titled, “The Role of Glutathione in Viral Diseases of the Central Nervous System”. For those who wish, the article in its entirety is available by following the link, but the opening and closing of that paper are as follows:

“Many studies correlated the GSH levels with immune response and suggest adding the glutathione replenishment to highly active antiviral treatment...The studies in viral diseases of the CNS have suggested an important link between GSH, immune response, and antiviral response. The findings indicated that the GSH replenishment can be used in highly active antiviral treatment.” (Study)

Conclusion My point here is that glutathione is essential for a variety of viral conditions, and as it is an underlying substrate of our body’s disease-coping mechanisms, it will be of benefit for any type of virus we encounter.

Those in general good health can naturally elevate their glutathione levels with vitamin C (minimum 500 mg), milk thistle (minimum 250 mg/80% silymarin), whey protein, NAC, cooked cruciferous vegetables, and broccoli sprouts. However, for those in poor health, especially people who cannot methylate (and thus are unable to produce glutathione from the, above-mentioned, precursors), using liposomal glutathione can literally be a life saver.


Quercetin and Coronavirus

Michael Chrétien (brother of former Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien) was, at one time, the seventh most cited scientist in the world. Following the SARS epidemic, Chrétien and his collaborator Majambu Mbikay (both working out of the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal), began to test the idea that quercetin would function as a broad spectrum antiviral drug, capable of fighting a wide range of viruses. They chose this plant compound because they had already proven it to be effective at treating Ebola, and Zika viruses (at least in laboratory studies).

Quercetin is a plant-derived polyphenol, found in many fruits, vegetables, leaves, seeds, and grains; red onions and kale are common foods containing appreciable content of quercetin. Used in the alternative healing field as a natural antihistamine (for treating allergies and asthma), quercetin is also a powerful antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory.

Now, with the eruption of COVID-19, Chrétien and his team wondered if quercetin might also work on this new virus. They contacted the Chinese National Health Commission, and have been invited to start clinical trials in China.

They plan on sending samples of quercetin to the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Wuhan, where Canadian and Chinese scientists will collaborate on clinical trials (to include about 1,000 test patients).

"We believe that this particular drug interrupts the entry of viruses … so that you can attack several viruses at the same time," said co-researcher Majambu Mbikay.

Since the U.S. FDA has already approved quercetin as safe for human consumption, the researchers can skip testing on animals. In the meantime, anyone can add quercetin to their antiviral regimen, given that it is safe, economical, and easily available. (Source)

Ken Peters has been in the health and nutrition field for over 30 years as a researcher, writer, and nutritional consultant.  He works in product research and development for NutriStart Vitamin Company, among others.  
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