Protandim and autoimmune diseases
Here’s where glutathione comes in. As I explained in last week’s Underground Antioxidant blog, one of glutathione’s primary roles is detoxification. It acts like sticky paper grabbing onto toxins and carrying them out of the body for you. In other words, when rogue chemicals and bad guys come into your body, glutathione takes the hit for you, allowing the immune system to rest.
However, when glutathione levels are depleted due to aging, toxicity, stress, and poor diet, YOU take the hit. And you take it right in the immune system! When environmental toxins enter the body with your glutathione defenses down, big bad TH-17 is upregulated, contributing to autoimmune flare-ups.
If you recall, the activity of the TH-17 system determines the severity of the autoimmune flare-up. If you are currently dealing with autoimmunity, or would like to avoid it altogether, downregulating TH-17 by way of maximizing glutathione levels is certainly in your best interest.
Note: If you are a practitioner and suspect toxicity is playing a role in your patient’s or client’s autoimmune condition, you may want to think twice about using heavy detox protocols (like chelation) without increasing glutathione levels first. Heavy metal chelation can be devastating to anyone with autoimmunity if glutathione is not there to take the hit.
Let’s get back to the TH-1 and TH-2 balancing act. Autoimmune conditions typically (but not always) show dominance in one system over the other. The role of the T-regulatory cells is to reduce this polarity. When there is a downregulation of these T-regulatory cells, TH-1 and TH-2 go off kilter, thus triggering the faulty immune process.
Glutathione to the rescue!
Research shows that glutathione plays a critical role in upregulating T-regulatory cells, bringing TH-1 and TH-2 back into balance and calming autoimmunity.
Speaking of research, this study published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Science demonstrated “a significant correlation between plasma glutathione and SLE (lupus) severity exists that may aid evaluation of the disease severity and usefulness of the management of SLE”. (sources: Pubmed & Kharrazian lecture slides)
SLE, or lupus, is the most destructive of all autoimmune conditions. This study showed that those with the most severe symptoms had the lowest glutathione levels.
If its role in the activation of the T-regulatory cells, the balancing of TH-1 and TH-2, downregulation of destructive TH-17, and improved detoxification isn’t enough for you, consider this. Glutathione also reduces intestinal barrier inflammation, promotes healing of the mucosa, and contributes to healthy gut function. In other words, it helps keep the flies out, reducing or eliminating yet another autoimmune trigger.
Glutathione’s ability to enhance tissue healing is critical not only for preventing autoimmunity but also for recovery from autoimmune flare-ups. This likely explains the reduced exercise-induced muscle soreness when taking Protandim, which is proven by peer-reviewed research to increase glutathione by 300%.
An additional therapeutic measure for dampening autoimmunity is to increase levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), another powerful antioxidant enzyme. Coincidentally, the discoverer of SOD is Dr. Joe McCord, the primary formulator of Protandim and winner of the 1997 Elliott Cresson medal for co-discovering the biology of free radical reactions in living organisms. That means he co-discovered the entire field of free radical biology. If are ready to get a hold of your oxidative stress then click here