Does Glutathione Deficiency Increase Risk?
Glutathione is your body's master antioxidant. It is the primary intracellular antioxidant that prevents and addresses oxidative stress in your body. Oxidative stress is a harmful condition caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS). Accumulation of these ROS is linked to lung disease, heart disease, inflammation, neurological disorders, diabetic complications, kidney disease and advanced aging processes.
It appears that the infection from COVID-19, by causing a severe cytokine inflammatory response, increases oxidative stress by 654%, 1007% and 70.6% in the age groups studied. This heavily challenges your body's ability to prevent and repair oxidative stress.
With the damage associated with oxidative stress these findings are important. Many of the negative health outcomes, severity of sickness and particularly the post-infection symptoms are associated with this cellular damage.
As Dr. Kumar explains, "we speculate that if boosting GSH can inhibit replication of the SARS-Cov-2 virus which causes COVID-19, this could be a gamechanger in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic."
This particularly study was limited by measuring Glutathione levels in infected, hospitalized COVID-19 patients vs their healthy counterpart. We do have studies currently ongoing to look at the protective nature of glutathione in patients with adequate levels who get infected by COVID-19 vs those who have suboptimal levels.
What Does This Mean?
Having adequate levels of glutathione is a good indicator of overall health and immunity. It is one of the compounds that improves health, disease and aging for a large portion of the population. There is a blood test that you can perform to find out your total glutathione levels and your reduced glutathione levels.
Taking the precursor compounds that are able to be absorbed by the cells has been shown to increase glutathione levels by up to 300%. If you fall into that category, then this data would suggest that improving that level could be very beneficial.
This research shows that hospitalized patients with COVID-19 have significantly reduced levels of Glutathione vs their age matched controls.
In Dr. Kumar's words, "Because Glutathione supplementation has been shown to be highly effective in correcting glutathione deficiency, lowering oxidative stress and oxidant damage in diverse populations including older adults, HIV patients and diabetic patients, it could also improve these defects in patients with COVID-19, and needs to be evaluated in future trials."