Optimize Your Digestion: Intestinal Antioxidants and Fuel

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Optimize Your Digestion: Intestinal Antioxidants and Fuel

The small protein glutathione is the major antioxidant protecting your intestinal cells from the oxidative damage that can be inflicted by the byproducts of the massive amount of digestive chemistry going on all around them. Some portion of an oral supplement of glutathione is broken down by digestive enzymes before it can be absorbed, between 2% and 10% is absorbed, and the remainder acts along the lining of the gut to protect gut cells from the “collateral damage” that can be caused by the digestive processes. Since it seems that so little of oral glutathione is actually absorbed, supplementing with nutrients that increase the body’s own production of glutathione may be more beneficial. One such nutrient is the amino acid glutamine. Glutamine is a key component of the glutathione molecule and, as shown in a study published very recently in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, supplemental glutamine can stimulate the self-protective synthesis of glutathione by gut cells.6 Even more amazingly, intestinal cells rely on glutamine, not glucose or fatty acids, for most of their energy needs. Combined supplementation with nutrients that enhance glutathione production such as glutamine can help promote a healthy intestinal tract by defusing the oxidizing byproducts of digestion.

Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Optimize Your Digestion: Probiotics, Prebiotics and Fiber

6. Humbert B, Nguyen P, Martin L, Dumon H, Vallette G, Maugere P, Darmaun D. Effect of glutamine on glutathione kinetics in vivo in dogs. J Nutr Biochem 2006; Mar 22.

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