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Bulletin for Hep C Patients: Building on Dr. Oz's Advice

Nicole Cutler L.Ac. February 15, 2011

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A recent, popular television show educated viewers on the importance of raising glutathione levels. Although the practical suggestions given were accurate, there is much more to know about this topic. Especially important for Hepatitis C patients, two supplements demonstrate unparalleled glutathione-boosting power.

Similar to many serious illnesses where disease progression is a concern, Hepatitis C is filled with challenges. One of those challenges includes finding ways to protect liver cells from harm. Because they interfere with cellular damage and prevent cells from being injured by free radicals, antioxidants represent one of the most effective ways to approach chronic Hepatitis C infection.

On a recent television segment of the Dr. Oz show, he and Dr. David Katz discussed how glutathione is the superhero of antioxidants. As the substance your body relies on to defend against toxins, glutathione is every free radical’s enemy. Building on Dr. Oz’s advice, two specific supplements provide the best of the best for raising glutathione levels. Since liver cell protection and antioxidant regeneration ease the struggle on a chronically inflamed liver, these optimal glutathione production supplements are highly regarded in the Hepatitis C community.

About Glutathione

An enzyme found inside cells to protect against potential damage from waste and toxins, glutathione is a well-known chemical that helps anyone with a chronic disease. Due to its constant battle to defend itself against Hepatitis C, a liver with this virus can use all the harm deflection help it can get. As the main substance that enables cells to resist injury from toxic compounds – that help is delivered from glutathione.

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which can build up in cells and cause damage. Because glutathione resides within the cells, it is in the best position to neutralize free radicals. A person who does not have enough glutathione has trouble eliminating toxic substances from his or her body. Unfortunately, most of the studies on people with Hepatitis C have found that they have significantly low levels of glutathione. Experts now know that for anyone with chronic Hepatitis C, glutathione deficiency is an important factor contributing to further liver damage.

Boosting Glutathione

Especially for people with chronic liver disease, no one is questioning if glutathione levels need to be raised. Rather, the more important question is how this can best be done. In Dr. Oz’s television segment on glutathione, several suggestions for raising glutathione levels were given. By supplying the building blocks needed to make glutathione, Dr. Oz suggests:

  • eating more sulfur-rich vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, garlic and onions.
  • eating more selenium-rich foods like oats, brazil nuts, tuna and black beans.

Because glutathione is produced in the liver, Dr. Oz also suggested the following for boosting glutathione production:

  • Supplement with milk thistle. This herb protects liver cells from free radicals, further enabling glutathione production.
  • Exercise regularly. Frequent physical activity ensures steady blood flow to the liver, further enabling glutathione production.

More Glutathione Boosting Details

Those in the know about glutathione’s importance in fighting chronic liver disease are familiar with two supplements omitted from Dr. Oz’s glutathione-boosting list. The first is an improved version of what was advised by Dr. Oz, and the second must have been cut due to time restraints:

  1. Silybin Phytosome – While milk thistle has demonstrated the ability to protect liver cells from damage, it is notoriously hard for the body to absorb. Thankfully, preparing milk thistle in a phytosome form solves its absorption problem. In addition, studies have shown that silybin, the most abundant and potent constituent of milk thistle, is responsible for milk thistle’s liver protectiveness. Silybin phytosome delivers the most therapeutic portion of the milk thistle plant in a form that is up to 10 times more absorbable than a standard milk thistle extract. This kind of super-charged milk thistle supplement is ideal for those concerned with increasing glutathione production.
  2. Alpha R-Lipoic Acid – Antioxidants are typically depleted as they attack free radicals, but there is evidence that alpha lipoic acid may help to recycle glutathione back into its active, fighting form. Such a capability is highly desired when constant liver inflammation from Hepatitis C threatens to form new free radicals. Of the two forms of alpha lipoic acid (R and S), only alpha R-lipoic acid is naturally occurring. In addition, the R form has demonstrated a greater ability to recycle glutathione.

Dr. Oz did an amazing job of educating people about the importance of keeping glutathione levels up. However, those with chronic Hepatitis C would benefit from taking this knowledge to the next level. Besides eating foods that boost its production and exercising to ensure circulation within the liver, supplementing with silybin phytosome and alpha R-lipoic acid are two more powerful and proven routes to raise glutathione levels – the undisputed superhero of antioxidants.

References:

http://keyboard-culture-health-and-wellness.com/2009/02/how_to_raise_glutathione_gsh_levels_part_5_more_supplements_touted_to_raise_glutathione_gsh_alpha_li.html, How to Raise Glutathione (GSH) Levels – Part 5: More Supplements Touted to Raise Glutathione (GSH): Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) and Milk Thistle (Silymarin)!, Retrieved February 12, 2011, Dr. Steven Dell, 2011.

http://www.drozfans.com/dr-ozs-advice/dr-oz-glutathione-antioxidants-milk-thistle-antioxidant-superhero/, Dr. Oz: Glutathione Antioxidants & Milk Thistle: Antioxidant Superhero, Retrieved February 12, 2011, Dr. Oz Fans, 2011.

http://www.hepatitis-central.com/mt/archives/2007/07/hcv_and_the_bod.html, HCV and the Body’s Most Important Antioxidant, Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., Retrieved February 13, 2011, Natural Wellness, 2011.

http://www.liversupport.com/wordpress/2009/07/helping-your-liver-with-alpha-r-lipoic-acid/, Helping Your Liver with Alpha R-Lipoic Acid, Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., Retrieved February 13, 2011, Natural Wellness, 2011.

http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/alpha-lipoic-000285.htm, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, Retrieved February 12, 2011, University of Maryland Medical Center, 2011.

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