Researchers have recently found convincing connections between COVID-19 and glutathione deficiencies.
Studies have found that those most likely to die from COVID-19 are also more prone to have a deficiency in glutathione. The research indicates that patients who have more serious reactions to the virus have an increased likelihood to be glutathione deficient as well.
Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that aids in many important functions throughout the body. Having healthy levels of glutathione has been attributed by health experts as a top indicator of longevity and health. (1)
So how did this powerhouse antioxidant that’s associated with good health become linked to the survival rate for COVID-19 patients?
COVID-19 And Underlying Medical Conditions
Infectious disease experts have determined that advanced age and comorbidities (having two or more diseases or illnesses simultaneously) significantly increase the risk of contracting COVID-19. (2)
Through data tracking, researchers were able to see that glutathione deficiency was common among patients who suffered the worst outcomes from the viral infection.
To address the higher incidence of the illness in patients with underlying medical conditions, researchers examined what most serious medical conditions have in common. (3) An inadequate response to oxidative stress is a common thread that presents in a majority of the chronic illnesses that are being linked to higher morbidity rates.
According to the CDC, (4) patients with these underlying conditions have the highest risk rates for severe illness related to COVID-19:
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
- Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 or higher) (5)
- Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
These illnesses all are associated with oxidative stress. This stress can wreak havoc on cells, tissues, and organs when unregulated.
The presence of higher rates of oxidative stress and a decreased ability to fight off free radicals (the byproduct of normal cellular metabolic processes) puts the high-risk groups have a greater probability of contracting the virus.
Glutathione And The Connection To COVID-19 And Elderly Patients
Studies have shown that glutathione (GSH) levels decrease with age. (6) The decrease in glutathione levels is involved in the progression of the aging process as well as age-related diseases.
Supplementation with glutathione has been studied for its role in slowing the aging process and protecting cells from damage caused by persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that are thought to contribute to aging. (7)
Glutathione deficiency is thought to be an underlying cause of aging and age-related illnesses.
The supplement was found to decrease age-related decline and also to increase longevity. (9) By decreasing stressors and maintaining health, the potential risk factors for COVID-19 could potentially be lessened.
How Oxidative Stress Is Linked To COVID-19 Patient Outcomes
Oxidative stress has been linked to everything from cancer to COVID-19 patient outcomes. (10)
These are some of the other illnesses that are associated with oxidative stress:
- Acid Reflux
- Cognitive impairment, dementia
- Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
- Macular degeneration
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Increased likelihood of frailty
The link between oxidative stress and so many debilitating diseases has prompted extensive research into how antioxidants like glutathione can be used to fight the effects of this bodily function.
Glutathione levels can rise rapidly in the body, which is beneficial for doctors who are trying to stop the spread of COVID-19 as quickly as possible.
After just one week of receiving liposomal glutathione, the biomarkers that are used to identify increased levels of oxidative stress have been shown to decrease in patients. (11)
Liposomal glutathione is the most effective way to administer glutathione orally due to its enhanced ability to be absorbed by the body versus other oral delivery methods.
Glutathione Benefits To Health And COVID-19 Outcomes
The benefits to taking glutathione have been well documented and it’s been touted as an effective aid in fighting oxidative stress and has been found to benefit these functions as well:
- Antiviral defense
- The control of various biological processes such as detoxification of foreign and endogenous compounds
- Protein folding (the process of folding proteins to develop their important three-dimensional shape)
- Regeneration of vitamins C and E (vital antioxidants that play a role in fighting free radicals and oxidative stress)
- Maintenance of mitochondrial function,
- Regulation of cellular proliferation
- Apoptosis (programmed cell death and a part of the cellular metabolic process)
- Immune response support
Researchers are showing unbridled enthusiasm for the promising effects of glutathione supplementation on human health.
“Despite a number of publications reporting beneficial effects of glutathione on human health, the key role of this powerful antioxidant in human physiology and pathology and in clinical applications still remains underestimated,” stated the researchers in one study related to COVID-19 and glutathione. (12)
How Is Glutathione Related To COVID-19 Patient Outcomes?
Studies have shown that the risk factors for severe COVID-19 infection are associated with a decrease/depletion of intracellular glutathione. (13)
The lower levels of glutathione associated with aging and the chronically ill have been linked to worse outcomes for COVID-19 patients.
The antioxidant, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties of glutathione all play a critical role in the body’s ability to effectively fight off COVID-19 and the related illnesses.
Preexisting conditions that are related to lung function and other respiratory diseases have been a major risk factor for those who contract COVID-19 as well.
Glutathione and other antioxidants are being used to treat illnesses like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, and other respiratory diseases already. (14) Using the free-radical fighters to attack COVID-19 lung conditions has been found to be highly effective for patients. (15)