Glutathione is known as the 'master antioxidant', and it plays a key role in protecting many cellular processes. It protects cells against oxidative stress, xenobiotics (unusual chemicals in the body) and radiation such as UV, which can cause damage to DNA, potentially leading to cancer. It also serves to help recycle other antioxidants.
Glutathione, because of its importance in fighting oxidisation, can be associated with the body's defence against a whole range of human diseases. These range from diabetes, HIV/AIDS, cystic fibrosis, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases to the process of ageing itself.
Normally, the body can create its own glutathione, however as we age, the synthesis protein becomes slower and less efficient. We are therefore becoming more vulnerable to the ravages of oxidisation as age progresses. Scientific research suggests a direct correlation between the amount of glutathione and other antioxidants in cells and the age and health of a patient (see fig. 2). Once the level of glutathione declines below a certain level, cells begin to die.