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Aging, Cysteine, and Glutathione

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.
Aging, Cysteine, and Glutathione
Aging, Cysteine, and Glutathione

When it comes to our health, there are many individuals who look at their own life and say, “I need to concentrate on my diet,” or “I should concentrate on exercise.” Some people go as far as adding supplements to their daily diet, and routine, to reverse, or prevent the quick onset of disease and aging. I feel that the information we all need to take care of your health, is out there. We have all learned about vitamins and cholesterol in the last 50 years, we have since learned about trans fats, and antioxidants, but if people don’t know where to start, or know what to look for, the information that they need to know, could pass them by.

I think some important medical information about health should be publicized and introduced to the people through government media outlets. The public should have more education on what I have come to believe determines their physiological fate, the immune system. I think the current focus on cysteine, and glutathione in biological research, will change the future of the healthcare system.


A recent press release by CBS highlighted the need for a “universal or all-purpose drug” able to combat whatever germ or toxic chemical released by hostile forces. In general, the idea would be to bolster the defenses we already possess, in particular the immune system, to fight against infections and cancer. CBS made brief mention of two substances, cysteine and glutathione, that deserve much greater attention.

(Kongshavn. n.d.)


What I have learned over the past twelve years is, when you look at every living thing on the planet, there is life, death, and the aging in between, it all breaks down to the health of every individual cell, in every living thing. The quicker cells die, the quicker the host body dies. Every cell is very fragile. Every cell has a purpose. Every cell has the potential to die or become cancerous, or not. Trees, plants, slugs and humans alike, depend on a proper combination of water and nutrients to maintain strong cellular function, and defense.


Then why is it that some cells become weak and breakdown and die, and why doesn’t the body naturally fix itself?

Research on diet and the immune system have been conducted to reveal that there is in fact a defense mechanism in every cell and it is called intra-cellular Glutathione (GSH), a small protein, which is quantitatively the most important antioxidant in cells and tissue. Antioxidants are nutrients in our foods which can prevent or slowdown the oxidative damage done to our body, an example of oxidative damage that you could visualize would be an apple turning brown because of too much exposure to oxygen by the internal cells once the skin, or outer membrane has been breached. When our cells use oxygen, they produce free radicals that can actually cause damage to the cell. Antioxidants act as "free radical scavengers" like vitamin C, for instance, and these antioxidants prevent, and repair damage done by the free radicals.  In today’s lifestyle with daily exposure to toxins, and improper nutritional habits, the question is often asked, If this is true about glutathione, do we have enough in our body to defend each cell properly? The answer is no.

Without proper levels of Glutathione within a cell, apoptosis (cell death) occurs.  “Intracellular glutathione depletion is an indicative cause of apoptosis.”

 The term "first cause of death" describes a process that is believed to limit the maximum life span of animals and humans.

People are depleting the body’s minimal amount of glutathione on a regular basis by smoking or breathing in toxins at work or at home, even fumes from cars on the highway deplete glutathione. We deplete glutathione by being in the sun and exposure to UV rays, even though it help with vitamin D. Drinking alcohol and coffee cause depletion of glutathione in the body. If you were to take Tylenol or acetaminophen you are destroying glutathione in the liver, by depleting the most important antioxidant, and detoxifier in the liver. Taking any drug, or even exercising vigorously will deplete glutathione. (Kwyer, 2000). Many studies have been conducted in regards to the functions and importance of glutathione in the body, and the role it plays in almost every disease known to man. There have been thousands of studies regarding glutathione and causes of aging, thousands have been written, that are based on nutrition, and exercise, and tens of thousands, that are chronic disease related. There are over 90,000 citations about glutathione at The U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Glutathione, or (GSH), is the major antioxidant produced within the cell, protecting the cell from free radicals. (GSH) is a very important detoxifying agent, the most important one after water, making it possible for the body to get rid of toxins and pollutants, plus it plays a crucial role in maintaining a balance between the processes of oxidation and anti-oxidation.


 (GSH) is required in many of the detailed steps required to carry out an immune reaction or response in the immune system. For example, it is needed for lymphocytes to increase to develop a strong immune response, and for ‘killer’ lymphocytes to be able to kill bad cells such as cancer cells or cells infected with a virus. Lymphocytes are (T cells or B cells) the B cells make antibodies that attack bacteria and toxins while the T cells attack cells when they have been taken over by viruses or have become cancerous.

Glutathione is becoming the newest household word in disease prevention, and longevity. Since the 1981 discovery by Drs. Gustavo Bounous, and Patricia Kongshavn, at McGill University glutathione has opened the doors to understand how the immune system works and breaks.

 The wonders of glutathione are almost endless but... there is one limiting factor in maintaining glutathione levels, and to live a healthy life style we deserve, that limiting factor is cysteine.

Cysteine it is a non-essential amino acid, which means that it is biosynthesized in humans, for example, biosynthesis of proteins, amino acids or fatty acids). This one amino-acid appears to be the food for the immune system.
The availability of glutathione is minimal in the Western diet; so it needs to be biosynthesized from the amino acids, cysteine, glycine and glutamic acid. The cysteine is limited in the foods we eat; therefore, glutathione is limited for overall cellular protection. We can't afford the daily damage.

In several clinical trials, cysteine supplementation improved skeletal muscle functions, decreased the body fat/lean body mass ratio, decreased plasma levels of the inflammatory cytokine tumour necrosis factor α (TNF-α), improved immune functions, and increased plasma albumin levels. As all these parameters degenerate with age, these findings suggest: (i) that loss of youth, health and quality of life may be partly explained by a deficit in cysteine and (ii) that the dietary consumption of cysteine is generally suboptimal and everybody is likely to have a cysteine deficiency sooner or later. (Dröge, December, 2005)

From research that has been conducted, and the obvious implications for health benefits in aging, and disease, that have been observed, there are signs of a trend directed in finding a drug to help person raise (GSH) levels to an optimal level. Pharmaceutical companies have been racing to be the first to market the right drug to do just that. The problem for drug companies is that, intra-cellular glutathione is created within the cell so it can only be made by the body, and a pill won’t do the job, due to how the drug is absorbed in the digestive system. Research has shown, there has to be the right bioactive process that combines the building blocks, or amino acids, glycine, glutamine, and cysteine to bond together at make (GSH) through natural process to produce the glutathione required for maximum cellular protection and function, in turn slowing down the rate of programmed cell death, and the onset of disease, and aging.

If you didn't know about cysteine and glutathione, then my objective is fulfilled and my goal is to educate people about Glutathione and Cysteine


Randy Grover



Dröge, W. (2005, December) Oxidative stress and ageing: is ageing a cysteine deficiency syndrome?  Retrieved May 17, 2010 from

Exner, R. Wessner, B. Manhart, N. Roth, E. (2000, July) Therapeutic potential of glutathione.       Retrieved on May 17, 2010 from

Kongshavn, P. (2001) Glutathione – the undiscovered “natural drug”

Kwyer, T. (November, 2000) The Role of Glutathione in Cell Defense, with References to Clinical Deficiencies and Treatment                     

Donn J. (2001) Search Is On For Universal Drugs  


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itsRandy (Randy Grover)
Dartmouth and Halifax, N.S.
Member since September 2015


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