Where is glutathione needed?
Glutathione is needed inside your cells where it neutralizes toxins and free radicals produced during normal respiration and metabolism. Every cell is responsible for making its own supply of glutathione and has all the enzymes to do so, providing that the blood stream delivers them all the required nutrients. Given that, they should be able to maintain healthy glutathione levels*.
Problems occur when our cells do not have enough glutathione to protect us against free radicals and toxins. Our glutathione levels can be depleted rapidly due to our lifestyle choices and misfortunes or slowly depleted due to persistently higher than normal levels of free radicals production or the onset of problems with the particular enzyme our cells use to produce gamma-glutamylcysteine (GGC).
NAC (N-acetylcysteine) and glutathione supplements – do they work?
Acute glutathione depletion
A sudden increase in toxins and/or free radicals can result in rapid depletion of glutathione levels. In such situations, administering cysteine can be effective. NAC is commonly used in these situations to restore glutathione levels. Glutathione can also provide the required cysteine to restore glutathione levels but NAC is more economical*.
Chronic glutathione depletion
In the case of chronic glutathione depletion, something may go permanently wrong with the first (glutamate cysteine ligase, GCL) of the two enzymes involved in glutathione synthesis, which means we are not making enough gamma-glutamylcysteine (GGC, GlyteineTM). This is where NAC and glutathione are going to be of little help as both these compounds are broken down by enzymes during the process of entering cells. Both are simply sources of cysteine, which feed into the damaged GCL enzyme. They do not help meet the shortfall in GGC.
Why can't glutathione supplements increase glutathione levels that are permanently depleted?
Glutathione cannot enter cells by osmosis. This is simply because the concentration of glutathione inside cells, even when they are glutathione depleted, is nearly a thousand fold higher than the concentration in the blood. So, taking a glutathione supplement may increase the glutathione levels in your blood, but it is inside your cells where it is really needed. Glutathione cannot be taken up intact by the vast majority of cell types. As a consequence, dietary glutathione cannot help to increase cellular glutathione levels.
Then why should Gamma Glutamyl Cysteine (GGC) work?
Unlike glutathione, orally administered GGC will have a higher concentration in plasma than inside cells, so it can enter cells via osmosis. Once inside, the GGC is converted to glutathione by the second enzyme (glutathione synthase), which then drives more GGC to enter the cell, leading to a progressive increase in the cell’s glutathione content. Of course, once the supply of GGC slows down, glutathione levels will start to decline, and so consuming GGC twice a day, morning and evening, can help support healthy "Glutathione levels"*.
When should I take ContinualTMG products that contain GlyteineTM?
Short answer – every day for the rest of your life, even if you are in good health.
Taking ContinualTMG will provide continual support for your cellular glutathione levels, which is surely a good thing.