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COVID-19 Research: Russian Study Indicates That Glutathione Deficiency Affects COVID-19 Susceptibility, NAC Supplements Helps

Source: COVID-19 Research  Apr 26, 2020

COVID-19 Research: A new study by Russian medical researchers suggests that deficiency of endogenous glutathione could also be another influencing factor of the degree of susceptibility by individuals towards the SARS-CoV-coronavirus that causes the deadly COVID-19 disease.


The research lead by Dr Alexey V Polonikov , a Professor from Department of Biology and Medical Genetics of Kursk State Medical University, Russia shows that lack or deficiency of endogenous glutathione especially in the  older individuals could also be one of the contributing factors leading to the progression of the disease from mild infection to severe conditions.


Deficiency of glutathione has already been demonstrated through past studies to be associated with growing number of chronic diseases including diabetes. As a person ages, glutathione levels typically falls and men also tend to have lower glutathione levels than women as they age.


Glutathione is also anti-oxidant that has also demonstrated antiviral properties in past studies.


Its helps prevent oxidative stress and also inflammation and also helps boost the functions of immune cells.


Glutathione is naturally made in the human body and it can only be supplemented in the body via intravenous injections of glutathione which is not easy to procure and also to maintain its bioactivity.


Another method is to supplement with NAC or N-Acetyl Cysteine as it is a precursor for Glutathione production in the body.


NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) Supplementation Helps COVID-19 Patients

Significantly, there are evidences that glutathione inhibits replication of various viruses at different stages of the viral life cycle, thereby decreasing viral load and probably preventing the massive release of inflammatory cells into the lung (“cytokine storm”).


Antiviral efficiency of such treatment has been demonstrated by a study of Flora with co-workers showed that six-month preventive administration of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC, precursor of glutathione), significantly reduced the incidence of clinically apparent influenza and influenza-like episodes, especially in elderly high-risk individuals.


In addition, pathophysiological conditions such as lung cell injury and inflammation found in patients with severe ARDS represents the targets for effective treatment by NAC.

It must also be noted that Glutathione deficiency appears to be a common disorder attributed to both environmental and genetic factors including those determining an individual susceptibility to chronic diseases and possibly related with changes in age 88 and sex-dependent gene expression.


Glutathione deficiency formation takes a long time and occurs predominantly in a winter-spring season associated with an insufficient consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits, natural sources of glutathione.


In this regard, a decreased consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits may explain established racial difference in the rate of severe manifestations and death from COVID-19 infection with lower rate among Japanese and Koreans consuming a lot of plant foods and higher rate among African Americans having a limited access to such healthy foods.


Furthermore the antiviral effect of glutathione is clearly non-specific, since GSH is known to inhibit replication of various types of viruses, and therefore there is reason to believe that glutathione is also active against the novel coronavirus infection.


Our observations demonstrate that patients with moderate-to-severe COVID-19-infection have lower levels of glutathione, higher ROS levels, and greater ROS/GSH ratio than patients with a mild illness suggesting that coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 cannot actively replicate at higher levels of cellular glutathione, and a lower viral load is manifested by milder clinical symptoms.


This makes glutathione a promising drug for etiological treatment of various viral infections.


Thailand Medical News would also like to add that NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) supplementation is good for ‘lung health’ and also helps lung tissues maintenance, repair and regeneration.

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