Glutathione is an important antioxidant for the normal functioning of the intestine and lungs. Because inflammation lowers glutathione and other antioxidant levels, people with cystic fibrosis (CF) usually have lower glutathione levels.1 As lung inflammation is usually present in people with CF, leading to further inflammation in the body, weakens globally the immune system.2 Oral glutathione may improve growth and decrease gut inflammation in children with CF.1
Young children with CF usually have glutathione levels slightly lower than healthy ones. Glutathione loss occurs with the development of the condition. Research suggests that the earlier glutathione therapy begins, the easier it will be to control lung infections.
Apart from oral glutathione supplements, Glutathione levels can also be increased by supplying the body with glutathione precursors, such as n-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) or whey protein, that supplies cysteine but also all the amino acids in an easily digestible form. Research suggests that adding whey-based glutathione precursors may increase its levels in CF, reducing the effects of oxidative stress in the lung in people with CF.2
Glutathione Studies in Cystic Fibrosis
A study with oral glutathione showed an increase in children with CF growth rates and weight, and improved gut inflammation after six months of a 65 mg daily dose per kilogram of weigth (NCT02029521).
A phase 2 study will begin in 2017 to test the safety and effectiveness of oral glutathione in children with CF.
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