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Thione Science

Scientists are unraveling the hidden natural processes by which the body heals itself and are learning how to mimic and optimize this process. This knowledge is becoming the basis for radical new drugs or compositions that prevent or treat a variety of diseases, providing a basis for businesses that are dramatic in their potential for human value and substantial profit. One such substance, L-glutathione, has long been recognized by researchers as the body's key protector, but to date, has not been widely commercialized. Thione International, Inc. is capitalizing on this gap in the marketplace and is quickly emerging as the leading expert in this area. However, glutathione does not work alone. To provide maximum beneficial effects against free radicals, glutathione must work SYNERGISTICALLY with other cellular enzymes and antioxidants such as glutathione peroxidase, selenium and vitamins C and E. This combination has led to the development of the Thione Complex™.

Medical professionals, nutritionists and the public at large have all become increasingly aware of the benefits of antioxidants and the essential role they play in ridding the body of toxic chemicals known as "free radicals." Free radicals are created during a cell's normal metabolic functions, but countless more are produced by the body in response to insults from inflammatory reactions, infectious conditions, tobacco (including secondary smoke and chewing tobacco), environmental pollutants, sunlight, radiation exposure, alcohol consumption, the ingestion of fatty foods and even overly aggressive exercise or physical activity.

Antioxidants scavenge and neutralize free radicals to a less toxic or non-toxic compound. While the human body has a complicated, built-in antioxidant defense system to suppress free radicals, these defensive mechanisms often fail to provide sufficient protection to the body due to either an overwhelming production of free radicals or a depletion of critical compounds used by the body's antioxidant defenses. Either or both conditions lead to a condition known as "oxidative stress," a condition that causes alterations in cell structure and function and even cell death. Consequently, free radicals are considered to be contributors to over fifty prevalent and chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, immune disorders, neurodegenerative diseases and premature aging. Oxidative stress also damages DNA, resulting in mutations that lead to a variety of cancers.

There are numerous antioxidants within the body. While each of them play a role in ridding the body of excess free radicals, it is the antioxidant known as glutathione that acts as "commander in chief". Synthesized in the liver from its three constituent amino acids, glutathione is found in body fluids and in every cell in the body. Working intra and extra-cellularly in its reduced form, glutathione can be combined with other important ingredients (The Thione Complex™) in order to act as the body's key antioxidant, detoxificant and protectant. It is the gatekeeper in the respiratory tract and lining of the gut and has multiple functions in disease prevention and in detoxification of chemicals and drugs. The body uses the components of the Thione Complex™ to preserve the integrity of cell structure from deterioration and to nullify the effect of toxic free radicals that operate at the cellular level and in extra-cellular fluids.

It works like this. One antioxidant molecule attacks and neutralizes one free radical molecule, but in the neutralization process, the antioxidant molecule itself becomes oxidized. It then has to undergo a reduction reaction in order to be regenerated as an antioxidant otherwise it remains as an inert molecule, unable to fulfill its antioxidant function. In some cases, the oxidized by-product is itself a toxic free radical and remains so until it is neutralized or regenerated into an antioxidant again.

This is the point where synergy becomes critical. A singular antioxidant cannot regenerate itself. In order to continue to perform its antioxidant function, each oxidized "antioxidant" must be regenerated by a specific synergistic antioxidant, cellular enzyme or cofactor. Glutathione and selenium assume the pivotal role in this process.

Specifically, for synergistic purposes, selenium, an antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic, works as a cofactor for the enzyme glutathione peroxidase. Since an enzyme cannot work properly without a cofactor, selenium plays a critical role in the synergistic process as it enables glutathione and glutathione peroxidase to work together, synergistically, to obliterate oxidative stress. However, during this process, glutathione becomes oxidized and thus, must act in combination with other enzyme systems in order to be reduced back to its useful form so that it may renew its role as a free radical scavenger. The enzyme "glutathione reductase" performs the crucial task of converting the oxidized glutathione back to its antioxidant state. Since an enzyme participates in a specific reaction but is never consumed, glutathione reductase is always available to restore oxidized glutathione in the body.

Vitamins C and E play a similar role. While both vitamins act as protective antioxidants in the body, they too become oxidized in the process of neutralizing free radicals and must be reduced and regenerated to their antioxidant state. Specifically, vitamin C, known as ascorbic acid, becomes an ascorbate (a pro-oxidant) during the free radical neutralization process and requires glutathione to reduce it back to its antioxidant moiety, ascorbic acid. Vitamin E, known as tocopherol becomes tocopheryl (another pro-oxidant) during the neutralization process and requires glutathione and vitamin C working together to regenerate it back to its useful, antioxidant status. Various studies, including photo-protection of the skin, have shown the value of using synergistically functioning antioxidants compared to the use of single antioxidants. Indeed, such studies have shown an increase in markers of free radical damage, including to DNA, when an excess or imbalance of vitamin C accumulates as the free radical "ascorbate." Glutathione is the kingpin in regenerating vitamin C and its other cellular antioxidant partners.

Glutathione is present in most plant and animal tissues from which the bulk of the human diet is derived. It is available from the diet because the cells of the gastrointestinal tract are able to transport glutathione intact, although glutathione may also be synthesized by most cells from its constituent amino acids. Dietary glutathione is supplied primarily from fruits, vegetables, liver, meats, fowl and fish. Chicken is very high in glutathione content and this may truly account for "chicken soup's" legendary medicinal attributes! However, though glutathione is readily available from many dietary sources, the average individual does not consume sufficient amounts of glutathione-rich foods to completely replenish the body's stores of glutathione or to maintain sufficient glutathione in the body to regenerate its cellular antioxidant partners, allowing them to maintain their antioxidant function.

Summary

Glutathione plays a key role as the body's prime antioxidant, protectant, detoxificant and anti-aging factor. Not only does it participate as an antioxidant working synergistically with selenium and glutathione peroxidase in every cell, but it also serves to regenerate the "spent" dietary antioxidants, vitamins C and E. Glutathione and other cellular antioxidants decrease in blood and tissue as we age and are also low in many chronic diseases such as diabetes, hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS and common geriatric diseases. Oxidative stress is a common culprit in many of these diseases, but studies have shown that repletion of glutathione and its antioxidant partners can lessen oxidative stress. While a diet high in fruits and vegetables will certainly help replete the body of these critical components, for those who do not consume sufficient dietary antioxidants or for those who are exposed to excess free radicals in alcohol, smoke, fatty foods, UV, etc or for those afflicted with a "free radical related disease," nutritional supplements or topical preparations based on the glutathione synergistic cycle (the Thione Complex™ offer considerable additional protection.

 

Also See:

» The Aging Process
» Clinical Entities with Low Levels of Glutathione
» The Skin and Its Antioxidant Defense System


 
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