The aging process is not well understood and various reasons have been attributed to why we age. Cardinal theories of aging point towards mechanisms involving oxidative stress by ROS (reactive oxygen spiecies), mitochondrion dysfunction and loss of oxidant protection as we get older. The most abundant antioxidant in our bodies is Glutathione (GSH) which main function is to protect our cells form oxidation.
The best anti-aging supplements are still yet to be found however certain supplements have been shown to have potential benefit in reducing the aging process and expanding life span. A well known antiaging agent that is free and easily accessible to anyone is exercise, which was shown to reduce a multitude of aging related issues. Supplements however might still have a role, as not all supplements are created the same.
A paper released in March 2022 has shown a new potential for the utilization of a combination of Glycine and NAC in helping to boost important Glutathione levels within human cells. As we said before GSH is the most abundant and powerful agent in the human body that helps to fight oxidation, GSH is made up of a tripeptide composed of glycine, cysteine and glutamic acid, however supplementing with Glutathione alone seemed to be not that effective and did not improve the glutathione status.
How can We boost the Glutathione levels (GSH levels)
GSH levels tend to decline with increasing age in parallel there is an increase in age related oxidant species and mitochondrial dysfunction. Recent study on Redox in human plasma has shown that oxidative events triggered in the human body increase steady till age 45 and then the oxidative protection drops rapidly. Supplementing with two main supplements like Glycine and NAC (glycine and N-acetylcysteine, as a cysteine donor) seemed to correct the GSH deficiency.
A clinical trail that was conducted showed that after supplementing adults on glycine and NAC for 24weeks, Glutathione levels managed to get corrected when the blood was analyzed. Therefore the reduced production of glutathione as we age can be reversed if supplements combined with a healthy lifestyle and diet are added to our daily routines.
Of course these are studies and a true miracle cure for aging reversal is far from reality. However showing the potential for restoring a powerful internal antioxidant like GSH, might have an impact in reducing the chronic disease burden as we get older and help improve overall quality of life.
Why Not Just supplement on glutathione alone?
As we have read before the tripeptide glutathione (GSH) is the most abundant free radical scavenger synthesized endogenously in humans, this is composed of 3 main amino acids basically cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine. GSH is a crucial free radical scavenger and antioxidant, however there is one problem, taking it orally makes the compound very unstable and orally supplementing with GSH was not found to be clinically significant.
The human intestines have enzymes that tend to metabolize the oral supplements into the basic amino acids (the building blocks) and going back to the start. So ingesting Glutathione is practically not effective at increasing the levels in the blood of this antioxidant.
The way to bypass this process is to provide the building blocks of glutathione and stimulate the body to manufacture it.
In fact supplementing with gylcine alone was shown to beneficially help in expanding lifespan in mice by a small but significant extent by approximately 4-6%. This indicates that the building bocks alone also have a significant effect on life span elongation in mammals.
So should we supplement with Gylcine and NAC
The short answer to this is yes, the clinical evidence shows there might be potential benefits for supplementing on these amino acids and can help improve our metabolism and life span.
With regards to whether all antiaging supplements and if they work or not that is quite a complex topic. Of course there is no magic bullet that can stop aging however we can age in a more graceful and strong way maintaining a good quality of life.
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