Diseases of the lungs: Potential Benefit of Glutathione in asthma, cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, and bronchiolitis obliterans
Increasing glutathione levels in the lungs may be beneficial in lung disease. Although there are few studies using glutathione (GSH) ehnancement therapies or nebulized (aerosolized and inhaled) glutathione in lung diseases, there is good data (mostly in animal models) suggesting increasing the potent antioxidant and free-radical scavenger glutathione would be beneficial in certain degenerative lung conditions associated with increased free radical load including asthma, cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis and bronchiolitis obliterans.
Glutathione tablets are ineffective in increasing glutathione levels in the tissues and organs (such as the lung) because they are digested in the stomach and never reach the blood stream or the tissues of the body. Oral GSH simply is metabolized as a protein (digested). Researchers found that 3 grams of glutathione taken orally were ineffective in increasing circulating glutathione (glutathione in the bloodstream) in a clinical study evaluating the benefits of oral glutathione. Witschi A, Reddy S, Stofer B, Lauterburg BH. The systemic availability of oral glutathione. (source: Eur J Clin Pharmacol 1992;43(6):667-9) IV Glutathione is effective but expensive, uncomfortable, and somewhat impractical requiring infusions 2 times per week using an Intravenous (IV) line. Glutathione precursors are a better solution. In conclusion, it appears that nebulized GSH, intravenous GSH and oral supplements such as NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) and certainly the bioactive whey proteins may be the best way to increase glutathione in the blood, lungs and other internal organs and tissues of the body, and NAC and bioactive whey proteins may be the most cost effective answer.