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The following is an excerpt from the above HCV E-book


HEPATITIS C AND GLUTATHIONE

WHAT IS GLUTATHIONE?

Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that is produced in the liver. The largest store of glutathione is found in the liver, where it detoxifies harmful compounds so that they cab be excreted through the bile. Glutathione is considered useful to those with Hepatitis C Virus HCV as it supports the liver's ability to handle toxins. However, supplemental glutathione is expensive and the effectiveness of oral formulas is questionable. (3)

A better way to raise glutathione levels is to supply the body with the raw materials it uses to make this compound: cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine. The N-acetyl form of cysteine (N-acetylcysteine) is considered particularly effective for this purpose.(3)

The goal is to raise "tissue glutathione levels". Glutathione pays a critical role in the defense against free-radical damage.

A deficiency of intracellular glutathione has been identified in a number of clinical conditions including cancer, alcohol-induced liver disease, and AIDS. (2) A patient with hepatitis may want to ask their doctor if they are deficient of glutathione or whether their form of hepatitis is identified as having this deficiency.

Do glutathione or N-acytlcysteine supplements elevate and maintain good tissue glutathione levels?

Here is what Michael T. Murray N.D. has written on the subject,
"Studies indicate that vitamin C can decrease cellular damage in patients with hereditary glutathione deficiency and is more effective and less expensive than N-acetylcysteine (NAC). Vitamin C may offer the benefits attributed to NAC at only a slightly reduced cost. Over the past 5 to 10 years, the use of NAC and glutathione products as antioxidants has become increasingly popular among nutritionally oriented physicians and the public. Some biochemists believe that NAC acts as a precursor for glutathione and that taking extra glutathione should raise tissue glutathione levels. While supplementing the diet with high does of NAC may be beneficial in cases of extreme oxidative stress (e.g., AIDs), it may be an unwise proactive in healthy individuals.

One study indicated ... a dose of 1.2 grams per day... actually increased oxidative damage by acting as a pro-oxidant. Intravenous glutathione shows some promise in increasing intracellular glutathione concentrations; however, the question of oral absorption remains in doubt. A daily dosage of 500 milligrams of vitamin C may be sufficient to elevate good tissue glutathione levels.

Consumers and physicians... may want to use vitamin c instead of higher priced 'super antioxidants'."

Some sources indicate that Hepatitis C patients have a systemic depletion of glutathione, especially in the liver and they believe this factor may be underlying the resistance to interferon therapy. Thus it is believed by some that supplements such as NAC and glutathione can be adjuvant or assisting therapies to interferon.

Other alternative solutions/supplements that have been reported to boost glutathione levels: Whey protein isolate concentrate powder, garlic, berries, selenium, alpha lipoic acid, cysteine.

Many experts say that HCV patients have "severely depressed" levels of glutathione. However, not all sources believe this is the case. Matthew Dolan sums it up, " Whether of not HCV patients are consistently deficient in glutathione, and therefore generally indicated for supplementation, is a question that has yet to be satisfactorily answered."

Even though it is not clear that HCV patients are consistently deficient, raising glutathione levels seems that it would be a favorable objective considering the benefits this substance is reported to have within the liver. It is considered to be an intracellular damage limiting agent which plays a major role in the detoxification process. It is speculated that it also performs as in immunomodulator which activates killer lymphocytes (important in the immune system).

This topic, obviously should be discussed with your doctor. You would first want to determine whether or not you fall into the category of glutathione deficiency. Then you would want to discuss the available options for increasing your glutathione levels.

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