Glutathione (GSH) carries many beneficial effects for everyday life, although scientists are also looking into the effects and interrelation of oxidative stress and glutathione production correlating to COVID-19, hypothesizing that the impaired redox homeostasis responsible for the reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation are directly affected by levels of glutathione and could be potentially crucial in minimizing the detrimental inflammation in COVID-19 patients. Additionally, because glutathione has antiviral effects that are non-specific, it's reasonable to believe that increasing or restoring glutathione levels in COVID-19 patients could be promising.
Discover why science is looking into glutathione for COVID-19 and learn the connection some studies are drawing in immune system responsiveness and the promising outlook glutathione holds.
Glutathione & Our Bodies
Playing a central role in numerous processes throughout the body, the “master antioxidant” glutathione (GSH) is necessary for fighting free radicals, neutralizing harmful oxidative stress, reducing inflammation, boosting immune function, and so much more.
Our Glutathione Production As We Age
As we age, our bodies predictably produce less and less glutathione, resulting in slower, less efficient functions and a higher susceptibility to oxidative stress that are also exacerbated by stress and poor diet.
Similarly, scientists have found higher rates of serious illness and death from COVID-19 infection among older people, specifically, “impaired redox homeostasis and associated oxidative stress appear to be important biological processes that may account for increased individual susceptibility to diverse environmental insults.”
Free Radicals & Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is a nonspecific pathological condition that constitutes an imbalance between the increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and an inability for the body to detoxify, resulting in inflammation. Not only is there a connection between oxidative stress-induced inflammation and COVID-19 that scientists are interested in studying, but it is also the lack of defense against oxidative stress that incites interest surrounding the mechanisms underlying nonspecific sensitivity or resistance to infectious agents.
GSH for COVID-19: Responsiveness & Potential
Playing a crucial role in immune health and antioxidant defense against oxidative damage of cells from ROS, glutathione works to improve the body’s responsiveness to viral infections and protect through its antioxidant mechanism.
One specific study found that “endogenous glutathione deficiency appears to be a crucial factor enhancing SARS-CoV-2-induced oxidative damage of the lung and, as a result, leads to serious manifestations, such as acute respiratory distress syndrome, multiorgan failure, and death in COVID-19 patients.” Additionally:
When the antiviral activity of GSH is taken into account, individuals with glutathione deficiency seem to have a higher susceptibility for uncontrolled replication of SARS-CoV-2 virus and thereby suffer from an increasing viral load. The severity of clinical manifestations in COVID-19 patients is apparently determined by the degree of impaired redox homeostasis attributable to the deficiency of reduced glutathione and increased ROS production.
Since the antiviral effect of glutathione is nonspecific, there is reason to believe that glutathione is also active against SARS-CoV-2. Therefore, restoration of glutathione levels in COVID-19 patients would be a promising approach for the management of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. (Source.)
While more and more studies are highlighting the beneficial effects of glutathione in its connection with COVID-19, the ultimate power of the “master antioxidant” is still greatly underestimated and underutilized.