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OXIDATIVE STRESS AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE IN LIVER DISEASES

Updated: Mar 21, 2023

In recent years, the term "oxidative stress" has been increasingly found in scientific medical publications, which is widely used in describing the pathogenesis of many diseases and targets of drug action. Oxidative stress refers to a violation of the balance of oxidative and reducing reactions in the body (tissue, cell, its individual organelles) towards the excessive formation of free radicals, which are strong oxidants and can damage vital molecules — enzymes, proteins, phospholipids of membranes, nucleic acids. Currently, a pathogenetic relationship with oxidative stress has been identified for more than 60 diseases. Any diseases associated with infection, inflammation, ischemia syndrome, as well as oncological pathology and diabetes mellitus are accompanied by massive formation of free radicals. Pro-oxidant factors are alcohol, smoking, ionizing radiation, toxins, certain medications, as well as factors of the body and lifestyle: age, overweight, irrational nutrition, stress, hypokinesia.




Since the liver is a metabolically active organ, the detoxification "laboratory" of the body and the main place of synthesis of proteins, lipoproteins and other important molecules, where many redox reactions take place, oxidative stress accompanies almost any pathology of the liver, becoming one of the main factors of disruption of its functions and structure.


Normally, the formation of free radicals and under-oxidized metabolic products occurs continuously during the biochemical reactions of the body. The balance is maintained by antioxidant enzymes capable of neutralizing molecules with a high oxidative potential. There are four lines of antioxidant protection in the body, which consistently restore reactive oxygen species (free radicals), products of fat and protein peroxidation. The main intracellular antioxidant with a powerful detoxifying effect is glutathione.


Glutathione


Humanity has always been searching for the elixir of immortality and eternal youth. But all attempts were in vain: alchemists have not found their philosopher's stone, and the prospects of cryonics and cloning are not at all enthusiastic. Meanwhile, biochemists have managed to identify a substance that stops the processes of premature aging – this is glutathione, a tiny peptide formed by three amino acids: glycine, cysteine and glutamine.

Glutathione plays an important function in protecting the body's cells, being a strong antioxidant. In the human body, a lack of glutathione leads to many diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, tyrosinemia type I, alcohol poisoning and others. In vivo and in vitro experiments have shown that glutathione deficiency can lead to mitochondrial damage and cell death caused by an increase in the number of toxic oxygen species, leading to an increase in the number of free radicals.



Glutathione is able to prevent cell damage by combining with toxic substances and/or their metabolites. The neutralization system with the participation of glutathione plays a unique role in the formation of the body's resistance to a variety of influences and is the most important protective mechanism of the cell. Glutathione binds a huge number of lipophilic compounds (physical neutralization), preventing their introduction into the lipid layer of membranes and disruption of cell functions.


Thus, glutathione improves the stability of the cell membrane, protects the membrane of liver cells, increases the activity of enzymes and the liver and promotes detoxification and regenerative activity of the liver by destroying free radicals.

This substance has truly unique properties:

• Reacts with free radicals, turning them from destructive substances into ordinary metabolic products;

• Neutralizes poisons and toxins, removes them from the body;

• Able to restore antioxidants – vitamins A, E and C;

• Participates in the transmission of nerve impulses and is able to improve the condition of people suffering from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases;

• Acts as a protective buffer of brain cells – contributes to the preservation of sound mind and memory even in old age;

• Participates in immune defense processes by binding antigen-antibody complexes and contributing to their destruction by killer cells.


Scientists also note the connection of low levels of glutathione with some dangerous diseases. So, in oncology, liver and pancreatic diseases, its level in the blood is critically reduced. In part, this is due to the active course of destructive, oxidative processes in the body. Therefore, recently it has been administered intravenously along with the main course of therapy.


The main part of glutathione is synthesized by our cells from amino acids coming from food. Thus, it is always present in the body, and its level directly depends on the lifestyle, quality of nutrition and physical activity of a person. Age also matters. After 20 years, its production gradually decreases and reaches a critical level by the age of 35-40 – at this time, signs of aging become noticeable.

Vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids – almost everything that our body needs, it takes from food. But with glutathione, everything is not so simple – it is almost impossible to get it ready-made from food:

• It is present in small amounts in red meat and offal – liver and kidneys;

• It is also found in nuts, seeds;

• Small doses are present in egg white;

• avocado;

• asparagus;

• citrus fruits;

• spinach;

• garlic;

• green salad;

• carrots.


But this is not enough to raise the level of glutathione to a good level. Especially if we are talking about people over 35 years old. With age, the reserves of the body are depleted and the production of valuable substances is much slower. So, at the age of 40, glutathione is formed by 10-15% less than at the age of 20, even under the same conditions of life and nutrition. Bad habits – smoking and alcohol consumption rapidly destroy the tripeptide, as it is spent on neutralizing toxins. Taking medications also involves glutathione in the chemical cycle – it participates in the processes of their excretion from the body. The level of the substance also decreases in diseases of the liver, kidneys, nervous and immune systems.

Thus, it is those who need glutathione the most who suffer from glutathione deficiency. And in this case, along with a healthy lifestyle and a rational diet, it is better to take glutathione additionally, in the form of a biologically active food supplement or intravenous injections.

The difference between these two methods of obtaining the drug is enormous. With oral administration of any drug, its availability is no more than 30-40%, and more often even less. When the drug is injected directly into the bloodstream, its bioavailability is 100%.


10 reasons to take glutathione


It is naive to believe that you have identified a glutathione deficiency by donating blood biochemistry. Most likely, you will want to take it as an "elixir of youth and longevity" or, having discovered the characteristic symptoms of its deficiency – premature aging, weakness and high fatigue, memory impairment and other disorders. Therefore, we outline 10 situations in which an additional intake of glutathione is necessary.


No. 1. Age 35+

At this time, the production of glutathione and other substances that support the youth of our body decreases so much that the aging processes become obvious. The appearance of the first wrinkles, increased fatigue, poor skin condition – all these are signals to replenish the level of a valuable substance by alternative methods.

No. 2.

The presence of relatives suffering from Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis

These diseases are largely related to heredity, and a high level of glutathione becomes a reliable protective buffer against their development. It is worth starting to take it already at the age of 30 – as soon as the "first bells" appear - memory impairment, disorientation or hand trembling;

No. 3. Menopause

At this time, the level of glutathione in women drops sharply, and the aging processes are going at an alarming rate. Glutathione will help to stop the appearance of wrinkles and change the oval of the face. He will also help to cope with the "tides", stoically endure hormonal restructuring in the body.

No. 4. Stress and depression

Oddly enough, the susceptibility to these conditions is also largely related to the level of glutathione in the body. With its deficiency, the production of serotonin and dopamine is disrupted, the rate of transmission of nerve impulses decreases, which can result in a state of prolonged depression, chronic fatigue and irritability.

No. 5. Increased physical activity

This is especially true for aerobic training. With them, the processes of oxidation and breakdown of nutrient compounds are actively going on in the body, which often prevents the gain of muscle mass and reduces endurance. Additional intake of glutathione neutralizes these phenomena and can increase the effectiveness of training.

No. 6. Vegetarianism and religious fasting

A significant proportion of essential amino acids and sulfur are found in animal products. At the same time, not every vegetarian fully compensates for their lack of nuts, cereals and vegetables. The result of a long refusal of meat and milk in 90% of cases is a lack of glutathione, premature aging and increased fatigue. It is almost impossible to compensate for the deficit without additional medication.

No. 7. Memory and concentration disorders

This is one of the first symptoms of glutathione deficiency. In this case, it is desirable to take it together with vitamins of group B.

No. 8. Liver pathology, diabetes mellitus and oncology

With all these diseases, the quality and duration of life depends on the intake of glutathione. It promotes the restoration of foci of liver damage, the recognition and destruction of cancer cells by the immune system of the body, reduces the rate of weight loss. Therefore, glutathione in severe diseases is often prescribed even intravenously.

No. 9. The desire to gain muscle mass

One of the reasons for excessive thinness and inability to gain weight is the high rate of catabolic processes. At the same time, even a high-calorie diet does not help to solve the problem. The only way is to constantly train and take protein and glutathione. The first acts as a building component of the muscles, the second slows down the processes of catabolism and helps to consolidate the achieved result.

No. 10. For injuries and sprains

Any injury, in essence, provokes an inflammatory process in the body. Glutathione is able to slow down the destruction of tissues, accelerates their healing and reduces the severity of symptoms – swelling, pain, redness.

There are no contraindications to taking it. Glutathione is a natural substance necessary for every person. And most importantly, it is almost impossible to overdose it – it easily reacts and is excreted from the body.







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