This article was previously published on August 14, 2020 and has been updated with new information.
Coronaviruses were identified in the mid-1960s and named for the crown-like spikes on the surface of cells. Until the first SARS-CoV arrived in 2003, there were four common coronaviruses.first The CDC’s list of symptoms for these viruses suggests that they resemble symptoms of the common cold.2 These include a runny nose, sore throat, headache, fever, and cough.
However, from what scientists have discovered since the beginning of the global pandemic, the symptoms and long-term effects are far different for SARS-CoV-2. Initial symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, and loss of taste or smell.3 However, unlike the natural coronavirus, additional complications can affect the cardiovascular system, kidneys, liver, and lungs.4
One of the underlying dysfunctions identified causing dyspnea and severe pulmonary complications is hypercoagulability. In one study, patients hospitalized at the University of Padova in Italy for acute respiratory failure showed “significantly increased thrombotic profiles.” The researchers said:5
“In conclusion, COVID-19 patients with acute respiratory failure present with more severe hypercoagulability than coagulopathy. The formation and polymerization of fibrin may lead to thrombus formation and lead to a worse outcome. .”
The formation of nodules all over the body can be related to other complications that arise after the disease has cleared up. It seems likely that the difference between people with mild or severe illness may have to do with the body’s ability to reduce hypercoagulability and the hypersecretory response that leads to a cytokine storm.
How Glutathione Works – A ‘Master Antioxidant?’
An antioxidant is a molecule that keeps other molecules from oxidizing. Glutathione is a potent antioxidant that may play an important role in the course of COVID-19 disease. There are 20 amino acids that can be linked together in different forms to make a protein molecule.6
However, glutathione is a tripeptide, which means there are only three amino acids in line to form the glutathione molecule. These are cystine, glycine, and glutamate. Together they help use and recycle other antioxidants, such as vitamin C and CoQ10.7,8
This means your body uses glutathione to increase the effectiveness of these antioxidants, and it helps recycle the molecules. Without glutathione, antioxidant capacity is significantly reduced. This function may be what gives glutathione its nickname of the “master antioxidant”.9
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) acts as a precursor of glutathione.ten Clinical evidence also supports the effects of NAC, independent of its role with glutathione, including thrombolytic effects. It also improves oxidative stress and inflammatory responses.11,twelfth,13,14
In late March 2020, a medical student tested this theory when his mother, 48-year-old Josephine Bruzzese, was diagnosed with pneumonia at NYU Langone-Brooklyn Hospital. With no COVID-19 test available, they sent her home as a suspicious case. She was prescribed the drugs hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, which improved some of her symptoms, but did not help her breathe.
When she couldn’t stand and had severe breathing problems,15 Her son contacted Dr. Richard Horowitz, a specialist who was treating his sister for Lyme disease, who suggested using glutathione to help reduce inflammation and protect Bruzzese’s lung tissue. The results were impressive.
Within an hour of receiving the 2,000 mg dose of glutathione, she was breathing better and was able to stand. She continued to take glutathione for five days and had no relapse. Speaking to a New York Post reporter, Horowitz shared that he is working to design a broad clinical trial to demonstrate the effectiveness of what he calls “an easy, inexpensive treatment.” least.”
On May 5, 2020, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center posted a trial to Clinicaltrials.gov announcing a study involving the use of NAC in COVID-19 patients. In this first study, the team plans to enroll critically ill patients: One group in the study will receive 6 grams of NAC intravenously per day along with other treatments.16
Scientists suggest severe COVID-19 related deficiency
At the same time as the study was published by Memorial Sloan Kettering, a Russian scientist published documents suggesting that glutathione plays an important role in a person’s ability to respond to COVID-19 infection and the outcome. is the severity of the disease.17,18,19 In this short video, Dr. Roger Seheult explains the science.
In addition, Dr. Alexey Polonikov, from Kursk State Medical University, suggests that glutathione can be used as a means of prevention and treatment of diseases. Polonikov studies on human molecular genetics and oxidative stress.20
Based on the exhaustive literature analysis he conducted, he later said he believes a deficiency in glutathione is a good reason for his severe illness with COVID-19:21
“(1) Oxidative stress contributes to an increased inflammatory process that leads to adverse disease outcomes such as acute respiratory distress syndrome, multiple organ failure, and death;
(2) poor antioxidant defense due to endogenous glutathione deficiency due to decreased biosynthesis and/or increased depletion of GSH is the most probable cause of increased oxidative damage of the lung, regardless of Which factors are aging, chronic disease, smoking or some other person has been responsible for this deficit. “
As Polonikov writes22 and Seheult describe in the video, oxidative damage from reactive oxygen species (ROS) plays an important role in severe illness with COVID-19. In another video, Seheult explains how COVID-19 sets the stage for a dramatic increase in oxidative stress by increasing superoxide, a damaging ROS.23
Importantly, this increases superoxide in people who begin to have high levels due to chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. When the virus uses the enzyme ACE2, it produces angiotensin II, which in turn produces more superoxide.
The virus also attracts a type of neutrophils (neutrophils) that can also increase superoxide production. The superoxide then generates other hydroxyl radicals, including hydrogen peroxide (H2O2).
These ROS, which cause cell damage, can be reduced by glutathione peroxidase because it oxidizes glutathione during the reduction of H2O2 to water. As you can see, a deficiency of glutathione will form ROS as described by Polonikov.
Disease risk factors associated with Glutathione deficiency
Antioxidant protection against the harmful effects of ROS is crucial for the homeostasis of the entire body. Polonikov believes that the higher rates of severe viral illness in older adults and those with comorbidities suggest that there are biological processes involved that make these particular people more susceptible. He wrote:24
“Specifically, impaired redox homeostasis and associated oxidative stress appear to be key biological processes that may underlie increased individual susceptibility to environmental insults. different schools.”
In one assessment of COVID-19 patients from six hospitals in Atlanta, researchers found independent factors that increase the risk of hospitalization. These include smokers, having type 2 diabetes, male, black, advanced age, and obesity.25 Polonikov has found evidence that glutathione deficiency may be associated with these comorbidities.
In his paper, he identified a gradual decrease in endogenous glutathione during aging. This, he believes, makes “elderly people more vulnerable to oxidative damage caused by different environmental factors than younger people.”26 He points out that endogenous glutathione deficiency is also found in people with other comorbidities.
He suggested these declines with chronic disease could initiate the transition to oxidative stress and exacerbate pneumonia, eventually leading to “acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), multi-organ failure”. and death.”27 Some men and some smokers also have lower levels of glutathione, which increases the risk of the disease.
In another ongoing study on the inheritance of redox homeostasis and type 2 diabetes, four patients from the control group contracted COVID-19. Blood samples were collected and used to measure ROS and glutathione levels.28
All four were non-smokers with no chronic medical conditions who had positive PCR test results. In the case of people who recover quickly, the ROS-to-glutathione ratio is 2.075-0.712 or less.
In patients with more significant disease, the ratio was 3,677-to-0.531 in one patient and peaked at 2.73-0.079 in the second. In the first patient with significant disease, this rate is more than twice as high as in patients with rapid recovery. In the second patient, the ratio was 11 times greater.
Relationship between Glutathione and Vitamin D
Regarding vitamin D, Polonikov suggested that the relationship between vitamin D and serious illness may have more to do with glutathione deficiency. He points to several studies linking glutathione levels to vitamin D29,30 and another method, in which the scientists found that lower levels of l-cysteine, a precursor of glutathione, correlated with lower vitamin D levels in people with type 2 diabetes.thirty first
In a recent animal study, researchers also looked at whether a deficiency in glutathione could cause changes that impair vitamin D metabolism.32 They found that a deficiency can alter biosynthesis and explain the mechanism by which vitamin D deficiency occurs with glutathione deficiency.
The researchers suggest that there is a potential benefit to glutathione supplementation to reduce vitamin D deficiency. Polonikov writes that the study provides information on the importance of glutathione in controlling endogenous vitamin D biosynthesis. and demonstrate the benefit of treatment in reducing vitamin D deficiency.
I believe both nutrients are important to protect against serious illness. Although a deficiency in glutathione can affect your ability to synthesize vitamin D, this only applies to adequate sun exposure or supplementation to raise vitamin D levels.
However, we know that it is difficult to get enough sunshine in the Northern Hemisphere, especially during the winter months. Also, most people use a lot of sunscreen or avoid the sun altogether, which can make deficiency problems worse.
Strategies to support optimal Glutathione levels
Your glutathione levels can be optimized by using food, supplements, and exercise. Polonikov believes that oral NAC can be a preventive strategy to help support your levels. In his paper, he concluded:33
“Therefore, oral administration of N-acetylcysteine as a prophylactic measure against viral infection, as well as intravenous administration of NAC or reduced glutathione (GSH is highly bioavailable) in critically ill patients may be effective options against the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. infection.”
As discussed in the video, Seheult believes that there are more harmful effects of COVID-19 than oxidative stress.34 He showed that blood clots removed from patients with confirmed COVID were rich in platelets, suggesting another mechanism involving disulfide binding. He went on to explain:35
“And, as we’ve talked about N-acetylcysteine and reduced glutathione will break these disulfide bonds and cause them to lyse and potentially relieve congestion and hypoxia with COVID-19. Once well, it’s all hypothetical, but it seems like it fits perfectly.”
Foods that have a positive effect on glutathione production include cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, green tea, curcumin, rosemary, and milk thistle.36 Getting quality sleep can also help.37,38
Different types of exercise can affect your level. In one study, researchers recruited 80 healthy but sedentary volunteers to measure the type of exercise that might have the greatest effect.39 They found that aerobic training combined with circuit training showed the greatest benefit.