meria® health topics

What is Glutathione (GSH)?

Glutathione (GSH) is not a drug, but a naturally occurring body-own chemical substance which is present in every body cell and, with an increased concentration, especially in the organs. Although glutathione is produced by the body itself via dietary intake, as a result of aging processes, lifestyle, nutrition and diseases there may be a gap between the demand for, and the availability of GSH. In addition, the organism's ability to self-synthesize GSH decreases always more as a result of age from approx. 40 years onward. The glutathione level in the healthy person should be approx. 4 - 15 g depending on the nutritional condition and age.

GSH performs important tasks in the body protecting the cells and is thus a central component of the immune system against acute and chronic health challenges. Figuratively speaking, GSH plays the role of a "spark plug" in the cell metabolism.

Over 60 years of research work and 80,000 scientific papers have shown that glutathione is one of the most important protective molecules in the human body.

Is glutathione (GSH) effective as an oral supplement?

The efficacy of orally administered glutathione for the improvement of GSH levels in cells and tissues has been controversially discussed and questioned in the professional world for years. This went often together with the recommendation to positively stimulate GSH levels via precursors such as N-acetylcysteine or derivatives such as S-acetylglutathione.

A new clinical study (double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled) at the Penn State College of Medicine (USA) conducted by internationally renowned scientists has now come to the clear conclusion that the oral intake of GSH significantly increases the body-specific GSH levels. The results of the study can be found here.

The indirect route via GSH-derivatives or precursors – often expensive and not sufficiently proven by conclusive clinical studies – thus seems to have become superfluous, once glutathione is available as a natural and non-chemically modified original molecule in form of a dietary supplement. The bioavailability of GSH via oral administration is now clearly demonstrated by clinical studies.

Tips for eating out

Do you know the problem: You are so busy that you actually have no time to eat? Either you ignore your hunger, eat something in passing or hastily grab a snack in the stand around the corner. This often leads to eating too fast and too much or consuming a one-sided diet and is hardly suited to deliver the energy and nutrients you need for your work. If you cannot or do not want to go to the employee canteen you should at least take small breaks, eat a snack between meals and, above all, compensate unilateral diet with, for example, fruit, vegetables and dairy products. This way you stay productive over a longer time, feel good and are able to better manage your weight.

If you want to keep your productivity high, you should pay attention to a varied diet that provides all necessary nutrients for your body and mind. Most of the canteens offer varied, wholefood meals. If there is no canteen available, it is not that difficult to eat a wholefood meal in the workplace. In that case you should consider the following tips:

Breakfast is best taken in two rounds: If you are not able to eat much in the early morning, you should catch up after two to three hours. You can alternate a more generous breakfast, with cereal or whole-grain bread, for example, with a lighter one, with fruit or yoghurt. This way even „morning haters“ get enough energy to start off their day.

Snacks in-between meals help avoid energy slumps: Distribute smaller meals with fruit, low-fat dairy products or thinly filled sandwiches throughout the day. This helps you keep focused, reduces stress on the digestive organs and circulation and prevents hunger attacks.

Avoid distracted eating: Take a small break and really enjoy your food. You will not only feel satisfied, but also feel well. Besides, you do not lose track of how much you have been eating. This helps to keep your body weight. Complement fast-food in a sensible way: The food at the snack stand, at the counter of a butcher-shop or others is usually one-sided, full of salt and fat.

If you eat there, you should supplement the missing vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber in between or in the evening with vegetables, fruit, whole-grain and dairy products. To bring food from home can be a good alternative: If you regularly freeze a portion of food after cooking or take it to work with you the next day, you will not only save money, but you can spend the entire break with eating instead of standing in the waiting line in the snack stand. Lettuce leaves, cucumber slices or a vegetable garnish make sandwiches more attractive. Salad stays fresh if you keep it separate from the sauce in an airtight container and only mix it before eating.

What is orthomolecular medicine?

Orthomolecular medicine (also referred to as nutritive medicine or functional nutritional medicine) is the medicine of micronutrients and its effects on the human organism. Its task is „to maintain good health and to treat diseases by changing the concentration of substances in the human body, which are normally present in the body and are necessary for its health”.

On the one hand, orthomolecular medicine and the substances it uses are nowadays well known as to the biochemistry involved and their physiological function in the organism. Besides, their high relevance for the entire human metabolism is unquestioned among experts. On the other hand, their usefulness in prevention and therapy for many indications has been proven by a large number of studies that meet the requirements of the so-called evidence-based medicine with reasonable certainty.  

Orthomolecular medicine takes the view that vitamins, trace elements, minerals, amino acids and various other substances, considered vital substances, are more compatible with the human body than substances which are foreign to it, and that it is almost impossible for humans in our modern times to satisfy the body‘s need for vital nutrients by food alone.

Vitamin deficiency discussion: facts or emotions and interests?

The so called “National Consumption Study II” from the year 2008 (NVS II) provides hard facts on the status of nutrition in Germany and the supply of vitamins and trace elements. Within the framework of this investigation, carried out by the Max-Rubner Federal Research Institute and financed by the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, the dietary habits of almost 20,000 German-speaking citizens were examined in detail.

The results are dramatic:

More than a third of the population from all age groups consumes too much energy (“eats too much”), the energy is far too much absorbed through fats, but also alcohol. At the same time, a large part of the population shows a lack regarding a variety of vitamins, minerals and trace elements.

The importance of nutrition and micronutrients

“Let your food be your remedy”, Hippocrates already warned. “A good doctor must be able to cook”, say the Chinese. Both proverbs point in a similar direction: The right food keeps us healthy and has a beneficial effect on disease; the wrong food makes us sick. That is why good therapists always ask their patients about their dietary and drinking habits. Unfavorable influences can often be already detected here, maybe even the causes of health disorders themselves.

Nutrition plays a very important role in human life, and a balanced, wholefood diet is among the basic prerequisites for all activities intended to maintain and optimize effective performance capacity as well as prevent and treat all kinds of diseases.

Our food is made up of macronutrients that are mainly used for energy production and structural functions, as well as of micronutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids, fatty acids, enzymes and secondary phytochemicals. They are just as vital as the macronutrients and they are the ones that enable the metabolism to be activated, which includes energy production and functioning of all immune system areas, the formation and use of proteins and hormones or the transport of substances and information within the organism.

Micronutrients also include antioxidants or free-radical scavengers and their co-factors which recruit themselves from different micronutrient groups. They take over important tasks in protecting the body from adversely acting radicals and in helping to detoxify harmful substances.

What does a diet rich in vitamins and minerals look like?

A balanced, varied, wholefood diet should meet the needs of healthy humans with regard to all vitamins, minerals and other bio factors. The daily diet should include a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grain products and legumes. In addition, low-fat dairy products, fish, lean meat and high-quality vegetable oils should be a regular part of the menu.

It should be noted that the body’s biofactor needs can increase considerably due to diseases, use of medication, absorption disturbances in the gastrointestinal tract (resorption problems) or stress, pregnancy, nursing and growth. In these cases even a balanced diet can reach its limits and a deficiency can be produced.

What are secondary phytochemicals?

Secondary phytochemicals such as anthocyanins and flavonoids are part of our daily diet. They are found in fruit, vegetables, potatoes, legumes, nuts, whole grain products and fermented foods, for example sauerkraut, and give the plant-based foods their color. They are used by plants, among others, as a defense against plant-eating predators or microbial attack and also act as growth regulators. Secondary phytochemicals are not yet considered by humans as essential nutrients, but they do have an influence on a variety of metabolic processes. Thus, various health-promoting effects are attributed to them. They are said to protect against different tumor types and help bring about vascular effects such as blood vessel dilation and lowering of blood pressure. Furthermore, secondary phytochemicals display neurological, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. Due to the current data situation, however, recommendations for the supply of individual secondary phytochemicals cannot be given at present.

For the effect to take place, the intake of different phytochemicals along with food might be necessary. The German Society for Nutrition e.V. (DGE), therefore, recommends a high consumption of fruit and vegetables and other plant-based foods to ensure a good supply with secondary phytochemicals.

Scientists recommend a daily dose of 3000-6000 ORAC as a way to protect the body cells from free radicals. The ORAC method (for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) is used in science to evaluate the antioxidant effect of substances or of food.