Tim Guilford, MD

Glutathione: a key to healing

Date Aired: January 5, 2018

Episode Description

Glutathione is the mother of all antioxidants. Every plant and animal uses glutathione which is crucial in antioxidant defenses, detoxification and the optimal functioning of the immune system. Glutathione also is essential I’m making vitamin B 12. Low glutathione can worsen heart disease, multiple chemical sensitivity, asthma and neurodegenerative diseases Dr. Guilford discusses the importance of glutathione, the conditions that deplete glutathione and how to raise glutathione levels.


  • is a peptide
  • Glycine, glutamine, cysteine prominent sulfur group that allows the donation of a hydrogen

Free Radicals

  • Free radicals are very unstable compounds that and react quickly to grab electrons from other compounds to gain stability.
  • free radicals can ruin enzymes and membranes


  • reverses rusting of iron
    • For example, put antioxidant on a copper penny, it becomes shiny again
  • Regenerate function of enzymes and prevention of damage, rusting to membranes
  • Glutathione will work directly and in conjunction with enzymes
  • Vitamins C and E are antioxidants

Source of Free Radicals

  • Frommetabolism in mitochondria
  • This produces ATP energy packet used in every cell of body
  • While it is being formed, electrons may stick on oxygen in an inappropriate places
  • They go around looking for electrons taking electrons disrupting enzymes and membranes


  • Chemicals, insecticides
  • Metals, mercury, mold
    • When Brush or pick at teeth with mercury fillings, mercury vapors go right into brain
  • Bad diet which leads to a bad “gut”
  • From normal defensive action of cell get out of hand, toxins that can damage normal issues

Glutathione Actions

  • Is essential in detoxification
  • Is major antioxidant in cell and in mitochondria
    • Helps recycle other antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E
    • These are not easily recycled because they are large and don’t easily revert to active form
  • can work with enzymes that prevents oxidization of lipid membranes
  • Supports the immune function
  • Improves defense against infection
    • Ability to defend against intracellular infections
  • Mercury Detoxification
    • Mercury is removed by glutathione which binds to mercury
    • The combination of mercury and glutathione looks like glutathione and is pumped into blood stream to liver which excretes it into bile out into GI tract
      • Normal bowel function important in managing mercury detox
      • Bile needs glutathione to function
    • glutathione works with key enzymes that maintain stable membranes called glutathione peroxidase
    • In the GI tract, glutathione constantly removing toxins
    • Defensive cells inside lung macrophage in surface of aveolae and picks up particulate matter
      • these depend on glutathione eat, kill

Glutathione Mechanisms

  • When things are oxidized, they are depleted of hydrogen and extra electron
  • provided glutathione in the reduced, active state
  • There are enzyme s that can regenerate glutathione to its active state
  • oxidized lipid membrane cases damage like when iron rusts
  • glutathione peroxidase neutralizes free radicals
    • Glutathione transferase- matchmaker to many different toxins
    • Different transferases for different toxins
    • Some populations deficient in some transferases
    • Metals, mercury removed from cell directly by combining with glutathione
  • after glutathione does its job, it is oxidized
  • Normally body responds with enzymes to make more glutathione

Results of Low glutathione

  • Can’t make vitamin B 12
    • need glutathione to stabilize cobalamine (B 12) in production of active B 12
      • methyl group is a carbon
      • methyl B 12 glutathione needed
      • example of may enzyme that function better with glutathione
    • Can’t make testosterone as well
    • Macrophages and immunity are impaired
    • Once glutathione is low, toxins accumulate
      • mercury,
      • microtoxins from mold
      • as well as inflammation and infections
    • Low glutathione bacteria grow rapidly and cannot defend against infection
      • After liposomal glutathione, these cells can defend against this infection

Conditions From Low Glutathione

  • Aging
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Arthritis
  • Alzheimer’s Disease, AIDs,
  • Alcoholic liver disease
  • Cancer
  • Cardio vascular diseases
    • amount reduced glutathione in plasma (circulating blood) is a biomarker for the progression of CVD
    • when reduced glutathione low, get more progression of heart disease.
  • Cataracts
  • HIV
  • Lung diseases such as asthma, cystic fibrosis.
  • Metabolic diseases: type 2 Diabetes
  • Neurological diseases: Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease
  • Oxidation associated with these conditions
  • glutathione deficient in many ENT diseases
    • ENT have increased exposure to oxygen
    • Inside cells of body is lower concentration of oxygen
    • ENT has higher rate of oxidative stress
      • Otitis Media, laryngitis, rhinitis nasal inflammation
      • liposomal glutathione can clear up Otitis Media
    • Allergic rhinitis
      • Pollen molecules contain oxidase enzyme in cover when hits membrane causes ox stress locally
      • Enough of it transforms immune response making Antibodies
    • Low glutathione results in immune cells make pattern cytokine response (immune hormones ) pattern Th2 making antibodies
      • Cytokines Associated with oxidative stress
      • Give outside glutathione can restore that to a more normal level.


  • Cancer cells manufacture their own glutathione
  • Cancer cells make their own glutathione and have ample glutathione
  • Cancer cells are active and have mitochondria that work overtime
  • Cancer patients have blood that is deficient in glutathione
  • Which came first? oxidative stressà changed DNA or does cancer provide materials that deplete glutathione?
  • One researcher shows cancer cells produce peroxide that affects cell environment

Monitoring Glutathione Status: GGT

  • Measure GGT, an inexpensive blood test of oxidative stress
    • Oxidative stressresults in the loss of antioxidant function: cells put gamma glutamyl transferase (GGT) on outside of cell
    • This is an enzyme that breaks down glutathione in the blood
    • When a cell needs glutathione, most cells cannot import it directly and have to break it down directly, break it down into amino acid components and bring into cell to make glutathione
  • Excess GGT is the first sign of oxidative stress
  • Inexpensive test on chemistry panel show need for glutathione
  • Associated with toxins, liver disease, excess intake alcohol
  • In cell have to put glutathione back together is enzyme glutamine cysteine lipase (GCL) need to put to aa tougher  then another enzyme puts rest on
    • Diseases with low GCL
      • Autoimmune disease GCL not formed well
      • Brain tissue in AD misses GCL
      • Autism modifier unit is missing

Conditions lowering glutathione

  • Toxins
    • Mercury
    • Persistent Organic Pollutants,Hg,
    • Heavy metals
    • Microtoxins
      • Microtoxins lower glutathione because microtoxins bind to glutathione in an attempt to remove it
      • Microtoxins prevent formation of glutathione
      • May explain why people develop illness and have trouble pulling out of it
    • Nicotine
    • Alcohol puts stress on glutathione system
    • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
      • Worse before or after alcohol.
    • Vitamin Deficiencies
      • Almost all vitamins involved in making glutathione
      • With low magnesium cannot produce glutathione
        • Low glutathione associated with low Magnesium
      • Low niacin, zinc, vitamin B 12 can lead to low glutathione
      • Vitamins B6, B5, B1 and zinc are involved in regeneration of glutathione
      • Vitamins B 2, B 3
      • Selenium helps glutathione peroxidase
        • Be careful; excess selenium can be damaging
      • Vegetarian Diet
        • low in B 12
        • B 12 needed for methionineà homocysteine
        • High homocysteine marker of problems
        • Homocysteineà cysteine so not enough B 12 can decrease glutathione production
      • Progeny of animals given nicotine while pregnant infants are depleted of glutathione as well

How toincrease glutathione

  • Diet
    • Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli
    • Coffee
    • Foods high in sulfur
      • Onions, garlic, eggs
    • Exercise (oxidative experience)
      • Marathoners have excess oxidative stress
    • Supplements
      • Cysteine
      • N Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
        • Information glutathione
        • Thought cysteine is limiting factor but giving glutathione precursors may not be enough
        • Give IV NAC in Emergency Room for impending liver damage
          • Helps lessen damage
        • Liposome glutathione keeps glutathione in stable state and active
          • Restores glutathione 1000 times that of NAC
          • Readily absorbed bypasses stomach and liver which can use glutathione for other purposes
          • Absorbed by stomach cell wall
          • Take with juice or water twice a day on empty stomach
            • If take it with food, it may glom onto food and be digested with food

Other Detoxification Approaches

  • infrared sauna heats person and not air they breathe
  • go slowly if ill
  • betonite clay, charcoal binding agents
  • cholestyramine