The Role of GSH in Heart Disease
GSH is the principal antioxidant in our cells. This applies to the endothelial cells of the arteries, including every red blood and platelet cell.
As a result, fighting oxidative damage by raising your GSH levels may help prevent the following complications of heart disease:
- heart attack & stroke
- protect the lining of the arteries
- diminish oxidation of cholesterol
In addition, having high GSH levels may help by:
- providing Immune System support
- slowing the disease progression
This is where it all begins. The process of your arteries hardening – often ending with the big one – a heart attack or stroke. Even the lesser consequences are disasterous – high blood pressure and impaired circulation – slowly depriving vital organs and muscles of oxygen.
Say’s Dr. Gutman, “Without the anti-oxidant protection benefit of GSH to combat free radicals and lipid peroxidation, your vascular systems are systematically overcome by arteriosclerosis”.
Arteriosclerosis, previously thought of as an ‘old age’ condition, has now been conclusively linked to diet, smoking and lifestyle issues.
University of Louisiana researchers found overweight children ages 6 through fifteen years, in the beginning to advanced stages of arteriosclerosis. It is now common for 30-year-old persons to suffer significant damage.
A study published in Neurosurgery, titled: ‘Reduction of intracellular glutathione levels produces sustained arterial narrowing’, found convincing evidence that low GSH levels allow free radical damage to go unchecked – narrowing the arteries.
It depends where arteriosclerosis develops – as to where you feel the outcome:
- The pain of angina comes from blocked blood flow.
- If a major artery to the neck or brain becomes narrowed – you’re primed for a stroke.
- If the arteries to your kidneys become narrowed – you’re on the path to kidney failure.
- If the blockage is in your leg – poor circulation could lead to fatigue, muscle cramps – even gangrene.
- However, the process of fatty deposits sticking to inflexible arteries is literally a gradual ‘buildup’ – this entire insidious process – can lead to one sudden event. No warning.
Commenting on this, Dr. Pressman notes, “Angina or a heart attack could be your first and maybe your last warning.”
The prevention of LDL cholesterol from oxidising (turning rancid) should be a priority if you have high cholesterol readings. GSH is the cells endogenous antioxidant – thus it’s your body’s principal mechanism for combating the oxidation of fats, known as lipid peroxidation. The process that creates rancid cholesterol deposits – that stick to your artery walls.
Lipid peroxidation in-turn creates even more oxidative damage and subsequent hardening of your arteries, giving you the disastrous consequences of arteriosclerosis. Increased GSH levels have been shown to reduce overall cholesterol levels by raising the activity of the enzyme cholesterol hydroxylase.
The British Journal of Nutrition published researchers X. Zhang and A.C. Beynen’s findings had the aim of comparing various proteins that reduce cholesterol in the blood and the liver. They found that by restoring the level of glutathione in the liver – the liver inhibited the synthesis of cholesterol – thereby, lowering a persons cholesterol level.
In a double blind study, P.V. Luoma’s team was able to improve the ratio of HDL (good) to LDL (bad) cholesterol in healthy subjects by raising GSH levels. An Italian research group had similar success altering HDL to LDL cholesterol ratios – by boosting the GSH levels in patients.
Other researchers continue to confirm the link between low GSH levels – and the epidemic of high bad cholesterol – and the progression to heart disease.
GSH has been shown to lower cholesterol by naturally inhibiting the production of cholesterol in the liver. Yet, the current cholesterol-blockers known as Statins interfere with an enzyme needed for cholesterol production.
While lowering overall cholesterol levels, statin drugs have known side effects, such as liver damage and arthritis. In addition, weight gain, insomnia, migraine, eye hemorrhage, fatigue, impotence and breast enlargement and impotence in men, and hair loss in women, are also commonly reported.
American Journal of Medicine, December 1, 2004, reports that a new side effect is reduction in mental and memory functions. A team of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh has found that statin drugs reduce brain levels of an essential fatty acid, known as Omega-3.
Similar to glutathione’s protective role in a stroke, when there is adequate GSH within the cells, the damage from a heart attack is kept to a minimum and dramatically increasing your odds of a better outcome.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and reported by USA Today, was so conclusive on the link between low GSH levels and heart attack – it stated, “low levels of glutathione suggest a coming heart attack.”
According to the report, by measuring GSH blood levels, doctors will now have “a way to diagnose an imminent heart attack and act to prevent it.” The Japan Heart Journal published a study that measured the red blood cell GSH count in patients with heart attacks – they found an evident GSH depletion.
This joins the mountain of scientific evidence pointing to a heart event – as presenting major demands for GSH.
When the blood flowing to your heart is suddenly blocked, the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen. Some heart cells are irreversibly injured and stop working. Your heart has been attacked. During the time when the heart cells aren’t getting any oxygen (ischemia stage), they undergo a free radical build up.
When the blockage is surgically cleared – blood floods back into the injured tissue – bringing new oxygen – creating further unrestrained free radical damage (reperfusion injury). This occurs at a time when your heart’s antioxidant defense mechanism is critically low – it now becomes overwhelmed.
In a surgical procedure, any incision exposes your cells to oxygen. Surgery by definition generates massive amounts of oxidative stress on your body. Both Japanese and Canadian researchers have found raising your levels of antioxidant protection – prior to procedures such as angioplasty, coronary bypass and thrombolysis to help prevent complications – significantly improving recovery.
You risk having a stroke is often affected by:
- Family history
- High blood pressure
- High stress
- Smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke
- History of mini-strokes
- Low antioxidant mechanism
Neurologists from the University of California at San Francisco showed the importance of GSH in protecting the brain from a stroke. They found when GSH levels were low – the result was significantly greater brain damage suffered after a stroke.
Neurosurgeons at the University of Washington went further, demonstrating that GSH depletion also leads to further narrowing of the critical arteries taking oxygen to your brain. According to a study done by Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, brain cell levels of glutathione drop by as much as 80 percent when injured.
Specifically of interest, they noted, ”Levels of glutathione, – protect brain cells from death when they’re deprived of oxygen”, concluding, “brain cells die much more quickly when there’s a drop in glutathione levels.”
Dr. Alan Pressman, in his book ‘The GSH Phenomenon – Natures Most Powerful Antioxidant and Healing Agent’ sums up, “Stroke victims whose glutathione levels are low have a poorer prognosis than those whose glutathione levels are higher.”
As in the case of a heart attack, if you experience a stroke, GSH intervenes to protect and increase your odds – by minimising injury to your brain.
Professor Jeremy Pearson, of the British Heart Foundation, believes: “Fatty deposits (arteriosclerosis) which accumulate are due to a chronic inflammatory disease.” The Foundations medical spokesperson Judy O’Sullivan, agrees stating: “Inflammation in general is often associated with risk factors for coronary heart disease, such as smoking, poor diet… and may prove to be a key factor in the development of coronary heart disease”.
GSH, protecting our cells from free radicals – minimises inflammation of plaque in the arteries. Inflammation is in itself, an indication of a high degree of oxidative damage. Samples of inflamed tissue show consistent evidence of severe oxidative stress, where the degree of oxidative damage has been correlated to the degree of inflammation.
Australian researcher G.D. Buffington studying inflamed tissue noted the significant depletion of Glutathione within the tissue. Of all the antioxidants that can prevent or retard the pain response, GSH has been identified as the central one.
Evidence demonstrating the importance of combating oxidative stress with optimal GSH levels, for an anti-inflammatory effect throughout your body is consistent.
My benefits from 8 months of Immunocal: My cholesterol went from 266 to 204 and all arteries are now clear and heart functions are normal! Carl
About two years ago, Norman became very ill with Congestive Heart Failure and Pneumonia. Later on, they found Prostate Cancer. Norman could not walk 10 feet without being totally out of breath. Norman started taking 3 pouches a day and in a month he was getting up, going out in the yard doing things. When we went to the Doctor, Norman’s PSA had dropped from 53 to 0.4. Today, he is not on any medication, but takes 2-3 pouches of Immunocal a day, and is doing very well.Norman
My cholesterol level went from 340 to 140 after only 15 days of taking 2 packets of Immunocal per day. Also, I had a fairly large cyst in my breast which my doctor first saw 4 or 5 years ago. Each year I had an ultra sound and it was slowly getting bigger. The doctor was going to biopsy it this year, but after my ultrasound, it had almost completely disappeared! Immunocal is the only thing I have been doing differently.Liz
Importance of Glutathione for our Cardiovascular Health
- GSH protects your heart and brain in the event of an attack. GSH diminishes damage to oxygen-deprived tissue during and after the attack.
- GSH protects against lipid peroxidation – the process that turns cholesterol (a waxy fatty substance) rancid. This process causes cholesterol deposits to stick to the artery walls.
- GSH has been shown to prevent and even reverse hardening of the endothelial – the delicate elastic inner lining – a condition known as arteriosclerosis.
There is overwhelming evidence that GSH combats free radical damage to your cardiovascular system – damage that occurs over time – setting the stage for a heart attack or stroke.
Your heart is the principal beneficiary of glutathione’s oxidative protection.
Noted researcher Dr. Alan Pressman, sums up, “The best way to protect yourself is to maintain high levels of antioxidants in your body. In particular keep your GSH levels high.”