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      A Review of Dietary (Phyto)Nutrients for Glutathione Support

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          Abstract

          Glutathione is a tripeptide that plays a pivotal role in critical physiological processes resulting in effects relevant to diverse disease pathophysiology such as maintenance of redox balance, reduction of oxidative stress, enhancement of metabolic detoxification, and regulation of immune system function. The diverse roles of glutathione in physiology are relevant to a considerable body of evidence suggesting that glutathione status may be an important biomarker and treatment target in various chronic, age-related diseases. Yet, proper personalized balance in the individual is key as well as a better understanding of antioxidants and redox balance. Optimizing glutathione levels has been proposed as a strategy for health promotion and disease prevention, although clear, causal relationships between glutathione status and disease risk or treatment remain to be clarified. Nonetheless, human clinical research suggests that nutritional interventions, including amino acids, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and foods can have important effects on circulating glutathione which may translate to clinical benefit. Importantly, genetic variation is a modifier of glutathione status and influences response to nutritional factors that impact glutathione levels. This narrative review explores clinical evidence for nutritional strategies that could be used to improve glutathione status.

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          Most cited references141

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          Role of Glutathione in Cancer Progression and Chemoresistance

          Glutathione (GSH) plays an important role in a multitude of cellular processes, including cell differentiation, proliferation, and apoptosis, and disturbances in GSH homeostasis are involved in the etiology and progression of many human diseases including cancer. While GSH deficiency, or a decrease in the GSH/glutathione disulphide (GSSG) ratio, leads to an increased susceptibility to oxidative stress implicated in the progression of cancer, elevated GSH levels increase the antioxidant capacity and the resistance to oxidative stress as observed in many cancer cells. The present review highlights the role of GSH and related cytoprotective effects in the susceptibility to carcinogenesis and in the sensitivity of tumors to the cytotoxic effects of anticancer agents.
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            Glutathione dysregulation and the etiology and progression of human diseases.

            Glutathione (GSH) plays an important role in a multitude of cellular processes, including cell differentiation, proliferation, and apoptosis, and as a result, disturbances in GSH homeostasis are implicated in the etiology and/or progression of a number of human diseases, including cancer, diseases of aging, cystic fibrosis, and cardiovascular, inflammatory, immune, metabolic, and neurodegenerative diseases. Owing to the pleiotropic effects of GSH on cell functions, it has been quite difficult to define the role of GSH in the onset and/or the expression of human diseases, although significant progress is being made. GSH levels, turnover rates, and/or oxidation state can be compromised by inherited or acquired defects in the enzymes, transporters, signaling molecules, or transcription factors that are involved in its homeostasis, or from exposure to reactive chemicals or metabolic intermediates. GSH deficiency or a decrease in the GSH/glutathione disulfide ratio manifests itself largely through an increased susceptibility to oxidative stress, and the resulting damage is thought to be involved in diseases, such as cancer, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease. In addition, imbalances in GSH levels affect immune system function, and are thought to play a role in the aging process. Just as low intracellular GSH levels decrease cellular antioxidant capacity, elevated GSH levels generally increase antioxidant capacity and resistance to oxidative stress, and this is observed in many cancer cells. The higher GSH levels in some tumor cells are also typically associated with higher levels of GSH-related enzymes and transporters. Although neither the mechanism nor the implications of these changes are well defined, the high GSH content makes cancer cells chemoresistant, which is a major factor that limits drug treatment. The present report highlights and integrates the growing connections between imbalances in GSH homeostasis and a multitude of human diseases.
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              Existing and potential therapeutic uses for N-acetylcysteine: the need for conversion to intracellular glutathione for antioxidant benefits.

              N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC) has long been used therapeutically for the treatment of acetaminophen (paracetamol) overdose, acting as a precursor for the substrate (l-cysteine) in synthesis of hepatic glutathione (GSH) depleted through drug conjugation. Other therapeutic uses of NAC have also emerged, including the alleviation of clinical symptoms of cystic fibrosis through cysteine-mediated disruption of disulfide cross-bridges in the glycoprotein matrix in mucus. More recently, however, a wide range of clinical studies have reported on the use of NAC as an antioxidant, most notably in the protection against contrast-induced nephropathy and thrombosis. The results from these studies are conflicting and a consensus is yet to be reached regarding the merits or otherwise of NAC in the antioxidant setting. This review seeks to re-evaluate the mechanism of action of NAC as a precursor for GSH synthesis in the context of its activity as an "antioxidant". Results from recent studies are examined to establish whether the pre-requisites for effective NAC-induced antioxidant activity (i.e. GSH depletion and the presence of functional metabolic pathways for conversion of NAC to GSH) have received adequate consideration in the interpretation of the data. A key conclusion is a reinforcement of the concept that NAC should not be considered to be a powerful antioxidant in its own right: its strength is the targeted replenishment of GSH in deficient cells and it is likely to be ineffective in cells replete in GSH. © 2013.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nutrients
                Nutrients
                nutrients
                Nutrients
                MDPI
                2072-6643
                03 September 2019
                September 2019
                : 11
                : 9
                : 2073
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine Graduate Program, University of Western States, 2900 NE 132nd Ave, Portland, OR 97230, USA
                [2 ]BCNH College of Nutrition and Health, 116–118 Finchley Road, London NW3 5HT, UK
                Author notes
                Author information
                https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1103-8982
                https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9130-7803
                Article
                nutrients-11-02073
                10.3390/nu11092073
                6770193
                31484368
                7fbd1ef1-a5fd-44d3-b5ed-d6b4743f8a8c
                © 2019 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                History
                : 08 July 2019
                : 23 August 2019
                Categories
                Review

                Nutrition & Dietetics
                broccoli,cancer prevention,cruciferous vegetables,glutathione,glutathione s-transferase,green tea,nutrigenomics,phytonutrients,plant-based diet,selenium,vitamins

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