Category Archives: Antioxidants
Why All The Excitement?:
Oxygen therapy is quickly becoming one of the most controversial, yet effective forms of alternative medicine to enter the medical spotlight as the turn of the millennium approaches. It has many potential uses, ranging from a means of headache relief to a possible cure for AIDS and cancer, and the treatments seem simple and inexpensive. Oxygen therapy, however, remains a sketchy area in the medical community. Despite all the claims that have been made, little evidence has been brought into the public’s eye to confirm or deny the validity of these reports. It will be shown, however, that like many other scientific claims, it is easy to separate the facts of oxygen therapy from the fiction.
Many of the advocates of oxygen therapy feel that its potential uses are limitless. This is due to the fact that:
For many years the health sciences have been seeking to identify the primary physical cause of all diseases, and the cure-all that this basic principal would yield. Now both have been found, but their utter simplicity makes them difficult to accept at first since it seems like if it’s that easy, we should have been using them all along.
This fundamental cause of all disease, according to Forest, is a lack of oxygen. This is made evident by the fact that the body is “composed mostly of water, which is eight-ninths oxygen,” and “only oxygen is in such a constant demand that it’s absence brings death in minutes” (http://www.oxytherapy.com/oxyfiles/oxy00009.html).
The Reasoning Behind Particular Methods of O2 Therapy:
Oxidative Therapy: It must be understood that oxygen therapy can be administered in many forms, yet the basis behind the treatments are essentially the same. For instance, hydrogen peroxide is produced by the body itself, and also has numerous functions. It essentially aids, however, in the use of oxygen for breathing, and “is part of a system which helps your body regulate all living cell membranes.” It is also a hormonal regulator, and is important in the production of cell energy and blood sugar. It also it helps to regulate the immune system, as well as chemicals in the nervous system (http://www.oxytherapy.com/h2o2-faq2.html).
The main use, however, of therapeutic gases such as hydrogen peroxide and ozone is to deliver more oxygen to the cells. This is due to the fact that many of the biochemical reactions that take place in the body are reduction oxidation reactions. This may lead to problems, however, because “chemically, anytime a substance is reduced something must be oxidized for your body to stay in balance.” Oxidation, in some instances, may have negative consequences, however, despite the fact that it sustains life and is also a key part of the immune system. This is the reason that “oxidative therapy” is sometimes needed “to encourage healthy oxidation in the cells and tissues” (http://www.oxytherapy.com/h2o2-faq2.html). This topic can also be approached from a different point of view. It not only aids in cell repair, but keeps foreign substances out the body that could potentially be very harmful. This is due to the fact that, “all hostile microorganisms prefer lower oxygen levels than the body’s cells require to remain healthy.” Raising the oxygen levels in the blood not only further purifies the cells, but destroys dangerous pathogens (http://www.oxytherapy.com/oxyfiles/oxy00009.html).
Ozone Therapy: Ozone therapy, like oxidative therapy, is very effective because rather than intoxicating the liver and other organs with drugs, ozone therapy involves oxidizing “the molecules in the shell of the virus.” This particular treatment is, of course, performed with ozone, which is produced by “forcing oxygen through a metal tube carrying a 300 volt charge.” A pint of blood is then drawn from the patient. This is then gently mixed in an infusion bottle with the ozone until it turns bright red. “As the ozone molecules dissolve in the blood, they give up their third oxygen atom, releasing considerable energy which destroys all lipid-enveloped viruses, and apparently all other disease organisms, while leaving the blood cells unharmed.” Moreover, the blood becomes oxygenated more sufficiently than it normally does, although this may seem hard to believe considering the fact that hemoglobin is so efficient. The blood is then injected into the patient, and this process is administered according to the severity and type of disease. “The strengthened blood confers some of its virucidal properties to the rest of the patient’s blood as it disperses,” finally evening out in the end to reach equilibrium. The patient’s state then remains the same provided he exercises, diets, and breathes deeply regularly (http://www.oxytherapy.com/oxyfiles/oxy00009.html).
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Oxygen therapy is most effective when a hyperbaric chamber is used. This is particularly effective because the air one normally breathes is around twenty-one percent oxygen, but during hyperbaric oxygen therapy, “you breath pure oxygen and the pressure surrounding your body will be increased to two or three times normal.” This increased oxygen means that the blood is carrying more oxygen to the cells, which of course leads to more substantial cell repair (http://www.oxytherapy.com/hbo-faq.html).
What Are The Claims?:
Astonishingly enough, some claim that oxygen has demonstrated reversible effects in two of the most deadly diseases plaguing the United States; AIDS and cancer. Oxygen therapy has also been reported to have many other less significant uses, including relief of poor circulation and gangrene, as well as heart disease. Among others are headaches and lung disease. These varying health problems all require different forms of oxygen therapy, and all have had varying levels of success (http://www.oxytherapy.com/h2o2-faq2.html).
Why Are These Potential Benefits Kept Secret?:
As previously mentioned, many believe oxygen therapy to be a sort of “universal” treatment that can have a positive effect on nearly every category of disease. There is certainly a lack of concrete evidence, however, to support these claims, as well as a lack of exposure. Many claim that this is due to the fact that if these treatments were readily exposed to the public, “98% of all the drugs, testing, and disease related surgery” would be rendered obsolete. Moreover, the large hospitals, pharmaceutical industrialists, and insurance companies would certainly have to deal with a fair number of unprecedented economic problems. They claim that this is the future that the world now faces, and that there are many who are trying to protect against it:
This is precisely the situation that exists, and the cure has indeed been around for ages. It has been independently reported effective against virtually every disease at one time or another, in thousands of public-domain medical articles, which had never been collected or correlated until recently. And it is so simple and basic that concealing it from physicians and the general public has required a tremendous smoke screen of artificial complications, and user hostile treatments.
As Dr. Terry McGrath says, “there’s simply no economic incentive, since it’s an unpatentable” process and provides for no real financial gain (http://www.oxytherapy.com/oxyfiles/oxy00009.html).
The Truth About Oxygen Therapy:
Researchers such as Dr. Terry McGrath certainly have reasons to be excited about the prospects of oxygen therapy in the future, but it is necessary to realize that many of these claims have been based on assumptions or theory. For this reason, “hyperbaric oxygen has been described as ‘a therapy in search of diseases,'” and justifiably so. Research, however, has proven the existence of beneficial chemical and cellular effects that have caused many to reassess their feelings on the administering hyperbaric oxygen as a primary therapy. The rationale behind this treatment is rather simple. When one hundred percent oxygen is administered, the oxygen tension in living tissue can reach nearly 400 mm Hg, which results in numerous physiologic effects. With this in mind, when the environment and dosages are controlled, the benefits of oxygen therapy become substantial (Tibbles and Edelsberg, 1996).
Positive Outcomes for Cancer Research:
Claim: As previously mentioned, many believe that oxygen therapy has much to contribute to the research and potential cure of cancer. Dr. Otto Warburg has noted that hydrogen peroxide therapy may be particularly useful in destroying anaerobic cancerous growths. He arrived at this conclusion by noting the fundamental differences between cancerous and normal cells. He concluded:
Both derive energy from glucose, but the normal cell requires oxygen to combine with the glucose, while the cancer cells break down glucose without oxygen, yielding only 1/15 the energy per glucose molecule that a normal cell produces. This is why cancer cells have such a huge appetite for sugar, and also why people who consume excessive quantities of sugar tend to get cancer more often (http://www.oxytherapy.com/oxyfiles/00009.html).
The rationale behind this theory certainly seems logical enough, but it’s simplicity may cause skepticism.
Fact: Although no evidence has arisen that oxygen therapy in any form can cure cancer, there is mounting evidence that it certainly has many benefits. The majority of this evidence lies in the removal of tumors. Oxygen tension in tissues depends on metabolism and vascular supply, and in tumors, there exist many areas of irregular blood flow. This may be caused simply by the nature of the mutinous cells, or also because the blood capillaries may collapse due to external pressure resulting from unbalanced cell proliferation. This may also be the result of holes in the vessel walls, decreased diffusion capacity, alveolar hypoventilation, or even rapidly opening and closing vessel walls. These conditions may collectively result in a problem known as hypoxia within cancerous growths, which limits the effectiveness of radiation therapy (Teicher and Rose, 1984; Tarpy and Farber, 1994).
The problem of hypoxia can be a major setback in the administration of radiation therapy, but the use of oxygen-carrying perfluorochemical emulsion (PFCE) is quickly changing that. This is due to the fact that perfluorochemicals have the ability to carry large amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide. In one experiment, “the enhancement in tumor growth delay of the Lewis lung tumor observed with several i.v.-administered doses of PFCE and 95% O2:5%CO2 (carbogen) breathing in single-dose and fractional radiation treatment protocols” were described. In this study, Lewis lung tumor cells were placed into the gastrocnemius muscles of mice and allowed to grow to 50 cu mm in volume. The endpoint of the experiment was reached when the tumor reached the size of 500 cu mm, which is normally reached in 14 days when untreated. Treatment involved placing the animals in a “circulating carbogen atmosphere for 1 hour prior to and during both the morning and afternoon radiation treatments.” The results of the study indicated that “PFCE and carbogen breathing significantly enhanced X-ray induced tumor growth delay.” Specifically, in two of the groups studied the “ceiling point for tumor growth delay” was measured at 60 days, with no palpable tumors. This, however was not true of all groups studied (Teicher and Rose, 1984).
This method may have substantial benefits to humans in the future. For example, Fluosol-DA is being tested as a transport mechanism for oxygen in such instances as surgery, hemorrhage, and myocardial infection. These methods are of particular significance because they indicate a nontoxic method of delivering oxygen to deficient tissues (Teicher and Rose, 1984).
In another study the radiation chemistry of polyethylene (PE) was studied and indicated “a pronounced catalytic effect of molecular hydrogen in catalyzing the decay of alkyl radicals, -CH2CHCH2– in the solid PE at room temperature.” It has been thought that free radicals are involved in the growth of cancer, and this study aimed to find out if it was true. Mice were use in the experiment, and they all had cancerous growths as a result of prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light. After placing the mice in a glass chamber and filling it with a mixture of 97.5% hydrogen and 2.5% oxygen, it was observed after the first ten days “(i)that the tumors had turned back, (ii) that some had dropped off, (iii) that some seemed to be shrunk at their base and to be in the process of being ‘pinched off,’, and (iv) that the mice appeared to suffer no deleterious consequences”. The first three items were not observed in those mice not administered the therapy. It should also be noted that the environment of 2.5% oxygen and 97.5% hydrogen can be considered safe due to the fact that mixtures of oxygen and hydrogen containing less than 5.3% oxygen will not explode even when a spark is introduced (Dole, Wilson, and Fife, 1975). No studies, however, were found that demonstrated similar results with humans.
Hypoxia and Lung Disease:
Claim: There were no specific claims regarding this topic, however, it was claimed in several instances that oxygen therapy has beneficial effects on patients with lung disease and hypoxia.
Fact: Some believe that “the most important benefit of long-term oxygen therapy is its effect on the survival in patients with hypoxemia.” This is due to the fact that besides impacting the effectiveness of radiation treatment, tissue hypoxia also leads to problems in nearly every major organ in the body, which may result in “memory loss, impaired judgment, cardiac ischemia, and pulmonary hypertension.” Also, data now supports the use of oxygen therapy as a means of prolonging the lives of those with hypoxemia. “One early study found a 30 to 40% reduction in mortality in severely hypoxemic patients on continuous oxygen therapy.” Not only this, but collaboratively, the British Medical Research Council Study and the Nocturnal Oxygen Therapy Trial found that a patient survives proportionally to the number of hours that they receive supplemental oxygen every day. “Data from NOTT showed that mortality in a group of patients receiving 19 hours of oxygen per day was one-half that of a group that received 12 hours of daily oxygen.” The reason for this has not yet been clarified, but “increasingly evidence has shown that oxygen therapy can improve pulmonary hemodynamics and lead to reduced cardiac work and greater oxygen delivery” (Tarpy and Farber, 1994).
In another study the progression of pulmonary hypertension as a result of hypoxia was studied in 16 severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease before and after long-term oxygen therapy. The results were not entirely positive throughout the treatment (i.e. at some points the pulmonary artery pressure increased), but at the end of the long-term oxygen therapy, “a reversal in the progression of pulmonary arterial hypertension was observed.” Unfortunately, the pulmonary artery pressure rarely returned to normal. As a result, vasodilators may be implemented in the future (Weitzenblum, Kessler, Oswald, and Fraisse, 1994).
A Possible Cure For AIDS?:
Claim: Many researchers feel that oxygen therapy has potential benefits for AIDS patients; perhaps even a cure. For example, Dr. Preuss, in Stuttgart, supposedly has ten case histories of patients with AIDS that he has cured using oxygen therapy. The problem is that “his and the other physicians’ reports are all anecdotal rather than in the form of ‘controlled studies,’ since they could not be expected to treat some patients,” and deny it to others in order to gather evidence. As a result, their findings are not considered proof by the majority of physicians (http://www.oxytherapy.com/oxyfiles/oxy00009.html).
Fact: Unfortunately, even with all the benefits of oxygen therapy, it has not been found in any way to destroy the HIV virus. There has, however, been one study conducted that proves there may be at least some kind of relief available to AIDS patients in particular. Patients with pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) may also be included in this group, however, because similar to AIDS patients, they too “have an exceedingly large intrapulmonary shunt fraction causing severe hypoxemia.” This treatment is known as face mask continuous positive airway pressure (FMCPAP), and works best on “a patient who is able to protect his or her airway and who is able to ventilate adequately” (DeVita, Friedman, and Petrella, 1993).
This treatment can only be provided safely if the patients are well selected. Optimally, they would be “alert, cooperative, and understand their disease and the rationale for FMCPAP.” The patient should also “be failing or nearly failing ‘conventional’ oxygen support, i.e., rebreather and nonrebreather masks . . ..” Ultimately, however, there are many factors that may not allow a patient to undergo this type of procedure do to the mental strain and duration of treatment. There has been only one study conducted on such a procedure, and “there was a statistically significant improvement in oxygenation and a decrease in the respiratory rate with no deterioration in ventilation when patients were placed on CPAP.” It was also noted that in patients with AIDS, FMCPAP “improves pulmonary performance without invasion, eliminates the need for mechanical ventilation, provides a ‘bridge’ to and from mechanical intubation, delays the need for endotracheal intubation, and titrates ICU (intensive care resources),” and it provides psychological benefit in the long-term (DeVita, Friedman, and Petrella, 1993).
Treatment of Severe Trauma to the Limbs:
Claim: There were no specific claims regarding this topic, but many feel that oxygen therapy has potential benefits in regard tissue and limb problems.
Fact: Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been praised in the past for “the treatment of severe trauma to the limbs in association with surgery because of its effects on peripheral oxygen support, muscular ischemic necrosis, compartment syndrome, and infection prevention.” This is so important because in severe injuries to the extremities, prompt vascular repair may be necessary because ischemia may occur as a result of significant damage to arteries or soft tissue damage. This could be further complicated by hypoxia and other problems. HBO (hyperbaric oxygen therapy) may be implemented in such situations because it results in an increase in the amount of oxygen dissolved in plasma. This is known as hyperoxygenation, and “can be of great benefit because of its multiple effects: improvement of oxygen delivery and preservation of tissue viability in ischemic areas, vasoconstriction reducing vasogenic edema in compartment syndrome, prevention of infection notably due to anaerobic microorganisms, and enhancement of the wound healing process.” It can be said then that HBO therapy counteracts most factors that would prevent a wound from healing properly (Bouachour, Cronier, Gouello, Toulemonde, Talha, and Alquier, 1996).
A study was recently carried out to “evaluate the effect of HBO in crush injuries of the limbs and its uses as an adjunctive measure.” Over a four-year period, patients with severe limb damage were dispatched to a nearby hyperbaric chamber immediately after their initial procedure or evaluation. These patients were randomly assigned to receive the actual HBO therapy or placebo upon admission to the hyperbaric unit. “The four primary study endpoints were wound healing without tissue necrosis requiring surgical excision; new major surgical procedures in relation to progressive and massive revitalization after entry in the trial, time of healing, and length of hospitalization.” Eighteen patients were enrolled in each of the HBO and placebo groups. The results of the study were what the researchers had hoped. “Complete wound healing without tissue necrosis requiring surgical excision was obtained for 17 patients in the HBO group vs. 10 patients in the placebo group.” The subgroup with participants over the age of 40 showed even more promising results. Those with grade III soft-tissue injury healed 87.5% of the time in the HBO group, while those in the placebo group healed only 30% of the time. Little or no differences were found in the time of healing, the number of wound dressings, or the length of hospitalization (Bouachour, Cronier, Gouello, Toulemonde, Talha, and Alquier, 1996).
Similarly, calciphylaxis is a rare condition leading to skin ulcers that can be very difficult to treat. In one case, “in an effort to evaluate tissue oxygenation, it was decided to map out transcutaneous oxygen tension around ulcers using a large Clark polarographic electrode modified to contain a heating element and thermistor.” This was attempted after the usual initial treatment of parathyroidecomy did not work. When the electrode was heated, it produced vasodilatation in the surrounding arterioles and capillaries, thus increasing the size of the skin pores. “These responses produce oxygen tension sat the skin surface that closely approximate arterial oxygenation.” It was then speculated that hypoxia existed in the ulcers themselves (Vassa, Twardowski, and Campbell, 1994).
The actual HBO therapy consisted “of high-dose oxygen inhalation while the patient is exposed to elevated ambient pressure in a metal and acrylic chamber.” After 38 “dives” the treatment was over. Following this end it was noted that the skin grafts were more easily accepted, and all the skin lesions had completely healed. The patient was finally permitted to go home making remarkable progress (Vassa, Twardowski, and Campbell, 1994).
Headache Relief and More:
Claim: Oxygen therapy provides pain relief in headaches.
Fact: Carbon monoxide poisoning is known to have both mild and deadly effects. Although not in any way directly correlated to the common headache, headaches induced from mild carbon monoxide inhalation may be relieved through oxygen therapy. A toxicologist would be able to assess the severity of one’s condition and determine whether or not 100% oxygen administered for 4 to 6 hours would be necessary (Tibbles and Edelsberg, 1996).
More importantly, however, carbon monoxide poisoning is the most prevalent cause of poison-induced death in the United States. Unlike mild carbon monoxide poisoning, severe carbon monoxide poisoning may be characterized “by loss of consciousness (syncope, seizures, and coma), neurologic deficits, pulmonary edema, myocardial ischemia, and severe metabolic acidosis.” Promising studies, however, indicate that both the mild and severe cases of carbon monoxide poisoning can be countered with oxygen therapy as well. In one trial “in which 17 of 26 patients had transient loss of consciousness, hyperbaric oxygen was beneficia.” (Tibbles and Edelsberg, 1996). Unfortunately, all victims of carbon monoxide inhalation are at risk for neuropsychological sequelae. It should also be noted, however, that “analysis of the NOTT data has shown an improvement in the general alertness, motor speed, and hand grip in patients receiving oxygen” in COPD cases where neuropsychologic factors played a role (Tarpy and Farber, 1994).
One can clearly see many changes in the field of oxygen therapy these days as tests are performed every day and theories are rendered beneficial or obsolete. “Originally a mode of treatment largely based on clinical experience, more and more indications are now accepted only on the basis of sound experimental evidence and randomized clinical trials” (Bakker 1992). This is highly beneficial to the medical community because the realities of a very effective treatment are finally coming into the light. Good and bad results come of this, but that is to be expected with any treatment as broad as oxygen therapy. Particularly promising results were arrived at in cancer research, lung disease, and limb trauma. AIDS is a problem that may continue to plague the world for a long time, and it is a bit radical to even “claim” that oxygen therapy can actually cure AIDS. Despite the benefits of oxygen therapy in many illnesses, it is rarely an actual cure for anything. It merely alleviates the problem in many cases or slows the progress of the particular disease. This, however, is better than no positive result at all, and many people stand to benefit a great deal from these treatments in the future.
In the future the many aspects of oxygen therapy will be studied and perfected so that everyone may share its benefits. Among new applications ready to be tested are the “different ways of monitoring and measuring tissue oxygen tensions, hyperbaric lung lavage in pulmonary alveolar proteinosis, the influence of hyperbaric oxygen on cultivated neuroblastoma cell lines in vitro, the influence of hyperbaric oxygen on organ preservation for transplantation purposes, and the influence of hyperbaric oxygen on mycosis and yeasts both in vitro and in vivo” (Bakker 1992). Oxygen therapy is certainly not a “universal” treatment as some claim, but it will most likely make very serious contributions to the medical community in the future.
Bakker, D.J. (1992). Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Past, Present and Future Indications. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 317, 95-105.
Bouachour, G., Cronier, P., Gouello, J.P., Toulemonde, J.L., Talha, A. & Alquier, P. (1996). Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in the Management of Crush Injuries: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Journal of Trauma, 41, 333-339.
DeVita, M.A., Friedman, Y. & Petrella, V. (1993). Mask Continuous Positive Airway Pressure in AIDS. Critical Care Clinics, 9, 137-151.
Dole, M., Wilson, F.R. & Fife, W.P. (1975). Hyperbaric Hydrogen Therapy: A Possible Treatment for Cancer. Science, 190, 152-154.
Tarpy, S.P., Farber, H.W. (1994). Chronic Lung Disease: When to Prescribe Home Oxygen. Geriatrics, 49, 27-28, 31-33.
Teicher, B.A. & Rose, C.M. (1984). Oxygen-Carrying Perfluorochemical Emulsion as an Adjuvant to Radiation Therapyin Mice. Cancer Research, 44, 4285-4288.
Tibbles, P. & Edelsberg, J.S. (1996). Hyperbaric-Oxygen Therapy. The New England Journal of Medicine, 334, 1642-1648.
Vassa, N., Twardowski, Z.J. & Campbell, J. (1994). Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in Calciphylaxis-Induced Skin Necrosis in a Peritoneal Dialysis Patient. American Journal of Kidney Diseases, 23, 878-881.
Weitzenblum, E., Kessler, R., Oswald, M. & Fraisse, P. (1994). Medical Treatment of Pulmonary Hypertension in Chronic Lung Disease. European Respiratory Journal, 7, 148-152.
The Health Psychology Home Page is produced and maintained by David Schlundt, PhD.
A spicy dish of Indian biryani and a hot dog purchased at the ball game may seem to have little in common, but both feature a liberal quantity of turmeric (Curcuma longa). In the biryani, the spice is an essential part of the curry mixture that gives the dish its distinctive zing. In the dog, turmeric is what makes the slathering of American mustard bright yellow.
The good news about this cross-cultural spice is that elderly villagers in India, who eat turmeric in their daily curries, have the world’s lowest rate of Alzheimer’s disease. That does not appear to be a coincidence. In a study at the University of California at Los Angeles, scientists fed curcumin, an active compound in turmeric tea, to rats prone to accumulate beta-amyloid plaque in their brains – the abnormality associated with Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Curcumin blocked the plaque’s accumulation. It also appeared to reduce inflammation related to Alzheimer’s disease in neural tissue. The rats fed curcumin also performed better on memory tests than rats on normal diets.
Other studies have suggested turmeric has broad anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects as well. But few Americans eat enough curry to achieve these protective effects. Although Dr. Weil does not recommend daily mustard-laden hot dogs as the ideal turmeric delivery device, he found a potential solution during one of his many trips to Okinawa, the island nation with the world’s longest average life span, 81.2 years.
Okinawans drink copious quantities of turmeric tea. Some brew it fresh, but others simply buy cans or powdered instant versions of unsweetened tea from their local stores.
If you would like to try it, here’s a recipe. Feel free to experiment with the ingredients and flavorings until you find a combination that suits your taste:
- Bring four cups of water to a boil.
- Add one teaspoon of ground turmeric and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
- Strain the tea through a fine sieve into a cup, add honey and/or lemon to taste.
Some people like to add a teaspoon of ginger along with the turmeric. While ground versions are more convenient, it’s worthwhile to experiment with freshly grated turmeric for a more vibrant flavor. These distinctive, deep-orange roots are increasingly available in American grocery and natural food stores. Enjoy!
Read other articles by Dr. Weil and explore the power of tea.
|Natural Vitamin Supplements
Green Tea Benefits
3 Reasons to Use Turmeric
Tags: Healthy Turmeric Tea
February 15, 2014 Glutathione: This ONE Antioxidant Keeps All Other Antioxidants Performing at Peak Levels
By Dr. Mercola, & Ori Hofmekler
Glutathione is your body’s most powerful antioxidant and has even been called “the master antioxidant.” It is a tripeptide found inside every single cell in your body.
Antioxidants are crucial in eliminating free radicals from your body. Free radicals are basically very reactive particles that bounce all around the cell damaging everything they touch. Most originate during the process of metabolism but they can also arise from exposure to toxins, irradiation, and toxic metals.
Because free radicals are so destructive, cells have a network of defenses designed to neutralize them. This antioxidant network is composed of numerous components that include vitamins, minerals and special chemicals called thiols (glutathione and alpha-lipoic acid).
Glutathione is comprised of three amino acids: cysteine, glutamate, and glycine.
Glutathione is sometimes confused with glutamine and glutamate due to the similarity in names. Although all three molecules are related, they are different in composition and function. When you are healthy, the three are balanced and do a delicate dance within your body.
In a nutshell, this is the difference between the three:
- Glutamine: Your body’s most abundant amino acid, made in your brain from glutamate; has a major role in various anti-injury processes and muscle repair; a precursor to glutathione.
- Glutathione (two types, GSH and GSSG): The “master antioxidant”—most powerful antioxidant in your body, present in every cell. Protects cells, and especially important for liver health; breaks down into free glutamate.
- Glutamate (aka glutamic acid or L-glutamate): Monopeptide amino acid neurotransmitter in your brain—required for synaptic activity. You don’t want too much of it—it’s an excitotoxin. (See also monosodium glutamate, or MSG)
Glutathione is different from other antioxidants in that it is intracellular. It has the unique ability of maximizing the activity of all the other antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, CoQ10, alpha lipoic acid, and the fresh veggies and fruits you (hopefully) eat every day. It removes toxins from your cells and protects you from the damaging effects of radiation, chemicals, and environmental pollutants.
You might think that a miracle molecule such as glutathione might be a good thing to put into supplement form. As usual, science loses to nature when it comes to optimizing this health-promoting little gem.
There is currently a great deal of hype about glutathione supplementation, highly popularized as a “miracle” means to boost health, prevent disease and fight aging.
Let’s separate some of the facts from the myths about how glutathione works and look at the right way to build your body’s glutathione reserves.
How Glutathione Works
The main function of glutathione is to protect your cells and mitochondria from oxidative and peroxidative damage. As you age, your body’s ability to produce glutathione decreases.
Glutathione isn’t just an endogenous antioxidant–it is also an essential factor in energy utilization, detoxification, and preventing the diseases we associate with aging. Glutathione deficiency has been linked to:
- Age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
- Coronary and autoimmune diseases
- Arthritis, asthma and other inflammatory conditions
- Mitochondrial dysfunction
- Muscle weakness and fatigue
Synthesis of glutathione depends upon adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the molecule that provides cellular energy. It follows that glutathione levels are linked to energy deficiency, or low ATP.
This is a major reason why exercise is so beneficial for your overall health—among other things, it boosts your glutathione levels!
If you can enhance internal glutathione production, you will strengthen your immune system in a way that will shield you from many of the adverse effects of aging.
Do Glutathione Supplements Work?
Your body is quite poor at getting glutathione from your digestive system into your blood. Most oral glutathione supplements have been shown to be poorly absorbed and a waste of your hard-earned money.
There has been some success with intravenous glutathione supplementation, but this is certainly not practical and very expensive and should be reserved for extreme situations. Glutathione supplementation can help people with immunodeficiency but only to a certain degree, and only temporarily—kind of like recharging a dead battery.
Ironically, glutathione supplements may actually interfere with your body’s own glutathione production.
The human body is programmed to self-produce its own antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione and SOD (superoxide dismutase, the first antioxidant mobilized by your cells for defense). And synthetic supplementation of these compounds actually signal your body to stop its own production – which leaves you dependent on synthetic substances (supplements or drugs).
Glutathione levels can be enhanced somewhat by taking supplements such as alpha lipoic acid, which is known to regenerate glutathione. Alpha lipoic acid also helps to regenerate vitamins C and E so that they remain active longer in your body. Red meat and organ meats are the best dietary source of alpha lipoic acid.
Glutamine can be used as a supplement since it’s a direct precursor to glutathione. However, there is quite a bit of evidence it is poorly absorbed.
There is also evidence that vitamin D increases intracellular glutathione. Unless you are a newcomer to my website, you know that I am an enthusiastic fan of vitamin D, and this is yet one more reason it’s so important for your health.
Some nutritional authorities recommend taking a form of cysteine known as N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), but I would advise against using this supplement if you still have mercury amalgam fillings because it could interfere with detoxification of the mercury.
Fortunately, there are natural ways to boost your body’s glutathione reserves.
Vitamins and supplements have their uses but are always less desirable than nutrients in their natural form, obtained from the foods you eat. What has been proven beyond a doubt is that whole food based diets–rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and quality protein–promote health and longevity.
What Foods Promote the Highest Glutathione Levels?
Many whole foods contain significant amounts of glutathione or its precursors. Foods richest in sulfur-containing amino acids are usually the best sources of glutathione:
- The overall top food for maximizing your glutathione is high quality whey protein. It must be cold pressed whey protein derived from grass fed cows, and free of hormones, chemicals and sugar.
Quality whey provides all the key amino acids for glutathione production (cysteine, glycine and glutamate) and contains a unique cysteine residue (glutamylcysteine) that is highly bioactive in its affinity for converting to glutathione. Glutamylcysteine is a bonded cysteine molecule (cysteine plus glutamate) that naturally occurs in Bovine Serum Albumin – a fragile immune component of the whey. This unique cysteine is exclusive to whey and rarely appears in other protein foods – which makes whey protein the best glutathione-promoting food source. Furthermore, whey provides critical co-factors, immunoglobulins, lactoferrin and alpha Lactalbumin (also a great source of cysteine), which together help create the right metabolic environment for high glutathione activity.
- Raw milk products, raw eggs and meat: Glutathione occurs in the highest levels in fresh, uncooked meats and raw milk, but is almost entirely absent in pasteurized dairy products.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables provide excellent glutathione, but once cooked, values become negligible. Spinach, potatoes, asparagus, avocado, squash, okra, cauliflower, broccoli, walnuts, garlic and tomatoes have the highest glutathione per serving.
- The herb milk thistle is an excellent source of the antioxidant compound silymarin, which may help to prevent glutathione depletion in the liver. Glutathione is crucial in the liver for detoxification and can become depleted from acetaminophen (Tylenol), alcohol consumption, and general toxic overload.
- Curcumin may also be useful for increasing glutathione levels.
Keeping your glutathione levels up is a matter of increasing factors that boost your glutathione and decreasing factors that lower it. The things that deplete your glutathione the fastest are chemicals, toxins and sugar.
The Right Whey
If you want to supplement your diet with whey protein products, you have to be careful because not all whey protein products are created equal. Supermarket and nutrition store shelves are lined with protein powder choices, 99 percent of which are loaded with sugar and chemicals that don’t support your health goal.
If you’re going to supplement, you should only use a high quality whey protein that provides all the necessary nutritional elements for NATURALLY boosting glutathione and also preventing its decline.
Be sure your whey protein supplement has the following features:
- The whey comes from grass-fed cows that are not treated with pesticides or hormones
- Cold processed, since heat destroys whey’s fragile molecular structure
- Whey protein concentrate, not protein isolates
- Sweetened naturally, not artificially, and low in carbohydrates
- Highly digestible—look for medium chain fatty acids (MCTs), not long chain fatty acids
- Bounous G. Whey protein concentrate (WPC) and glutathione modulation in cancer treatment. Anticancer Res. 2000 Nov-Dec;20(6C):4785-92.
- Bounous G., Gold P. 1991. The biological activity of undenatured dietary whey proteins: role of glutathione. Clin Invest Med.Aug;14(4):296-309.
- Dickinson D., Iles K., Zhang K., Blank V., and Forman H. (2003) Curcumin alters EpRE and AP-1 binding complexes and elevates glutamate-cysteine ligase gene expression. J FASEB 17, 472.
- Donnini D., Zambito A.M., Perrella G; Ambesi-Impiombato F.S., Curcio F. Glucose may induce cell death through a free radical-mediated mechanism. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 219(2):412-7 1996 Feb 15.
- El-Hawary Z., El-Hawary M.F.S., Morcus S.R. 1977. Blood glucose, glutathione, and total keto-acids levels in alloxan-diabetic rats. Zeitschrift für Ernährungswissenschaft 16(4): 227-230.
- Fidelus R.K., Tsan M.F. Glutathione and lymphocyte activation: a function of aging and auto-immune disease. Immunology. 1987 61:503-508.
- Glutathione White Paper. Richard Van Konynenburg, PhD.
- Herbert F.K., Cotonio Bourne M., Groen J. 1930. The effect of glutathione on the determination of blood-sugar. Department of Chemical Pathology, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London.
- Higashi T., Tateshi N., Naruse A., Sakamoto Y. (1977) A novel physiological role of liver glutathione as a reservoir of L-cystein. J Biochem. 82, 117.
- Huh K., Kwon T.H., Kim J.S., Park J.M. Role of the hepatic xanthine oxidase in thyroid dysfunction: effect of thyroid hormones in oxidative stress in rat liver. Arch Pharm Res; 21(3):236-40 Jun 1998.
- Loven D., Schedl H., Wilson H., Daabees T.T., Stegink L.D., Diekus M., Oberley L. Effect of insulin and oral glutathione on glutathione levels and superoxide dismutase activities in organs of rats with streptozocin-induced diabetes.
- Meister A. (1983) Selective modification of glutathione metabolism. Science. 220, 472.
- Meredith M.J., Reed D.J. (1983) Depletion in vitro of mitochondrial glutathione in rat hepatocytes and enhancement of lipid peroxidation by adriamycin and 1,3Bis(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosaurea (BCNU). Biochem Pharmacol. 32, 1383.
- Powell L.A., Warpeha K.M., Xu W., Walker B., Trimble E.R. High glucose decreases intracellular glutathione concentrations and upregulates inducible nitric oxide synthase gene expression in intestinal epithelial cells. Journal of Molecular Endocrinology. December 1, 2004 33:797-803.
- Seymen, O., Seven A., Candan G., Yigit G., Hatemi S., Hatemi H. The effect of iron supplementation on GSH levels, GSH-Px, and SOD activities of erythrocytes in L-thyroxine administration. Acta Med Okayama. 51(3):129-33 1997 Jun.
- Stohs S.J., Lawson T., Al-Turk W.A. (1984) Changes in glutathione and glutathione metabolizing enzymes erythrocytes and lymphocytes of mice as a function of age. Gen Pharmacol. 15, 267.
- Tsan M.F., Danis E.H., Del Vecchio P.J., Rosano C.B. (1985) Enhancement of intracellular glutathione protects endothelial cells against oxidative damage. Biochem Biophys. Res. Commun. 127, 270.
- Wellner V.P., Anderson M.E., Puri R.N., Jensen G.L., Meister A. (1982) Radioprotection by glutathione ester: transport of glutathione ester in human lymphoid cells and fibroblasts. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 81, 4732.
A recently developed hemp plant may prove to provide the ideal cooking oil; watch out, olive oil. The University of York reported that they have developed a hemp plant that contains a significantly higher quantity of oleic acid. The new hemp oil not only offers a longer shelf life and a higher heat tolerance but also has a very similar fatty acid makeup to olive oil.
The research, published in the Plant Biotechnology Journal, demonstrates that the scientists were able to traditionally breed the plants for a composition that had less polyunsaturated fatty acids and instead contained more monounsaturated oleic acids. In fact, the oil from the plant was almost 80% oleic acid. Oleic acid is an omega-9 fatty acid and is found in high quantities in olive oil and many nuts. A high monounsaturated profile accompanied by a low polyunsaturated profile makes the oil more stable and temperature-resistant, which opens doors for many industrial applications. This makes growing hemp as an oil product very intriguing for farmers, because it is a high-yielding dual-crop while also being a low-input crop.
One cardiovascular benefit that has been associated with hemp oil and its omega-3 composition is that it can help lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol and improve insulin sensitivity. Likewise, oleic acid (omega-9) has been associated with helping cells absorb omega-3s more efficiently! They also have been found to lower triglyceride levels and raise the “good” HDL cholesterol. This provides a very powerful effective combination to protect the heart. In fact, many studies have indicated that oleic acid is associated with lowered rates of heart disease. The true, complete composition of hemp oil is just starting to be recognized. For instance, a study published by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry detailed the numerous compounds in hempseed oil, which contains aliphatic alcohols, sterols and linolenic acids, which have all been associated with promoting good health.
The dramatically increased oleic acid content of this new hemp oil can greatly affect the marketability of hemp and provide farmers with another crop alternative. Not only is the oleic acid content of the newly developed hemp plant more heat-tolerant and more stable, which can increase its industrial and cooking uses, but this oil’s high oleic acid content can provide a very effective way of improving heart health.
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About the author:
If you would like more information on living a healthy sustainable lifestyle check out Always Active Athletics. There you will find convenient, sustainable exercise and nutrition tips to help you get the results you want and deserve! Our nutritional philosophy is “if you are hungry, eat!” Eat so many healthy foods, like veggies and fruits, that you wont be hungry to eat junk food and empty calories.
February 13, 2014 Global cancer rates to skyrocket by 70% over next 20 years as conventional medicine fails
The overall number of new people who will develop cancer in a given year is expected to nearly double over the next two decades, claims a new report put out by the World Health Organization (WHO). Analysts at the international governing body say the current global rate of about 14 million new cancer cases annually, per 2012 data, will eventually balloon to somewhere in the ballpark of 25 million new cancer cases annually by 2035.
The sobering report comes on the heels of an earlier one out of France that similarly calculated a 75 percent increase in cancer diagnoses by 2030. With the exception of a few minor variances, both reports speculate that, based on current trends, new cases of cancer will skyrocket in the coming years. And the hardest hit will be poor and developing countries, many of which are right now undergoing major changes as a result of Western influence.
As far as the latest WHO report, this expected increase in new cancer cases has already been dubbed an imminent “human disaster,” according to the U.K.’s Guardian. Unless the governments and medical systems of the world make a rapid switch to focusing on prevention rather than treatment, WHO says, the devastation that is soon to come, both in terms of unsustainable medical costs and widespread societal loss, will be unprecedented.
“The global cancer burden is increasing and quite markedly, due predominantly to the aging of the populations and population growth,” alleges Chris Wild, director of WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, as quoted by BBC News. “If we look at the cost of treatment of cancers, it is spiraling out of control, even for the high-income countries. Prevention is absolutely critical and it’s been somewhat neglected.”
GMOs, fluoride and processed food linked to rising cancer rates
While correct in his assessment that prevention needs to play a more prominent role in how society deals with cancer, Wild grossly misjudges why an increasing number of people across the globe are developing the disease in the first place. While age is definitely a factor in determining cancer risk, so are things like genetically modified organisms (GMOs), trans fats, fluoridated drinking water and many other ubiquitous facets of modern life in North America that are largely ignored.
While WHO gives a nod to the damage that can be caused by abusing alcohol and cigarettes, as well as the risks associated with being obese, the organization stops short of warning people about the cancer risks of consuming sodium nitrite, for instance, which is found in virtually all the deli meat sold at your neighborhood grocer.
WHO has also repeatedly failed to warn women about the dangers associated with submitting their bodies to regular mammograms, which multiple studies, including one recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, have found can lead to breast cancer overdiagnosis. The ionizing radiation released during a mammogram has also been linked to causing breast cancer as well.
“Our food is sprayed about 30 times, with a cocktail of poisons, before we eat it,” writes a commenter on The Guardian, pointing out WHO’s apparent lack of concern about the many obvious carcinogens that we are all increasingly exposed to on a regular basis.
“[O]ur bathrooms are full of unregulated chemicals, which might well be carcinogenic ; our diet is not, in most cases, conducive to maintaining optimum health ; we do less and less exercise, and become sluggardly and overweight ; it is little wonder that people are becoming terminally ill to an increasing extent.”
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RSBellMediaChannel Published on Feb 12, 2014
Super Don and The Health Freedom Express visits Fry Family Farm in Talent Oregon.
Fry Family Farm has been growing certified organic vegetables, flowers and nursery plants in the Rogue Valley since 1990. They started with one small greenhouse and a few acres in Talent when their children were young. Farming was a passion that Steven and Suzanne Fry had. It was a job that didn’t pollute the planet, their lives, or anyone else, and a good way to stay home and raise their five daughters in a wholesome way.
Fry Family Farm is also a member of Our Family Farms Coalition – Farmers who are dedicated to protecting their farms and livelihoods from genetically engineered crops in the Rogue Valley. You can learn more about them at https://www.facebook.com/ourfamilyfarmscoalition
Dr. Daniel G. Clark, author of Colostrum, Life’s First Food states: ” … bovine colostrum rebuilds the immune system, destroys viruses, bacteria, and fungi, accelerates healing of all body tissue, helps lose weight, burn fat, increase bone and lean muscle mass and slows down and even reverses aging.” Colostrum is in the milk that any mammal produces just before giving birth. It becomes part of the mother’s first food for the newborn to provide defenses against pathogens and to stimulate growth. After a short time, this wondrous substance that supports rapid growth and disease prevention is no longer in the milk.
Bovine colostrum is gathered from cows’ whole raw milk, usually within eight hours of a calf’s birth – and not just from any cows. Factory dairies are not appropriate as colostrum supplement sources. It’s important to exclude rBGH and antibiotics. Only cows without added hormones and antibiotics that graze on grass or non-GMO alfalfa in open pastures should be used for colostrum supplements.
Glutathione Is Provided by Colostrum
Glutathione, or GSH, is considered the ultimate antioxidant. But it cannot be supplemented orally because it gets disassembled in the gut before it can get into cells where it belongs. It has to be manufactured internally, mostly by the liver. People with serious debilitating diseases, including cancer and AIDS, usually have low glutathione levels.
GSH regulates other antioxidants and triggers the immune system response with lymphocytes, or T and B white blood cells to counterattack pathogenic invaders in our bodies. Glutathione is composed from three amino acid precursors – glycine, glutamic acid and cysteine. Cysteine is the missing link rarely found in our food.
Cysteine can be toxic in the gut, but cystine, which is two bound cysteine molecules, is abundantly present in colostrum, and it passes through the digestive system for the cells to break it down into two cysteine molecules. Yes, colostrum has these three amino acids raring to produce GSH for you!
It appears there are information feuds festering a bit between colostrum providers and whey based GSH precursor providers, each claiming their product outperforms the other. But research has shown no significant difference between properly processed colostrum and whey for glutathione production.
Colostrum outperforms whey in other areas to offer a complete package. Anti-aging depends more on certain hormones that diminish as we grow older. Enter the coveted growth hormones and growth factor isolates. A small amount of Growth Hormone (GH) is available. Since it’s very potent, a small amount is good enough to have an impact.
In addition, there are five Growth Factors (GFs) attached: Platelet derived GF, insulin-like GF, transforming GF, epithelial GF, and fibroblast GF. Maintaining an adequate supply of Growth Hormone and associated factors promotes cellular growth and minimizes cellular destruction. Thus healing is promoted more quickly. Anti-aging factors beyond glutathione are very high in colostrum.
Immune System Enhancement
With colostrum you get glutathione plus other immunity factors. Remember, this is first food for just born mammals. They need all the immunity they can get.
Immunoglobulins found in colostrum destroy bacteria and neutralize microbes and toxins in the lymph and circulatory system. Lactoferrin, a protein in colostrum, is antiviral, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory.
Proline-Rich Polypeptide (PRP) in colostrum is a hormone essential to the thymus gland, which regulates the immune system up or down as needed.
Make sure the colostrum is complete with fats, and is taken from properly raised cows shortly after giving birth. In addition to matching whey’s ability for providing glutathione production, colostrum offers even more anti-aging potential and rebuilds your immune system.
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About the author
Paul Fassa is dedicated to warning others about the current corruption of food and medicine and guiding others toward a direction for better health with no restrictions on health freedom. You can visit his blog at http://healthmaven.blogspot.com