Your Liver and Glutathione

May 1 14:40 2011 Richard Kuhns Print This Article

The Liver is the largest organ in the body and without it life ceases. The major protector of the liver is glutathione to control oxidative stress for the prevention of liver disease.

Glutathione in the liver is a thousand times more abundant than any other part of your body. The liver is the heaviest and largest organ in the body—the size of a football. It can easily be damaged in an accident and because of the large supply of blood to the liver can easily become a life-threatening event. Overall,Guest Posting the liver serves as your body's engine, a food processor, pantry, a refinery, garbage disposal, and so on.

The liver is an essential organ and thankfully is self regenerative. Without it life is impossible. Unlike kidney dialysis to extend life, there is no liver dialysis.

Glutathione plays an important role in the liver. It greatly affects how the liver works and how well the liver functions. Thirty percent of the blood from the heart is sent to the liver. This large amount of blood is needed for the liver to function.

Hepatocytes , liver cells, contains thousands of enzymes that perform many metabolic functions.

Carbohydrates-glucose metabolism is linked to proper liver functioning.

The liver processes good things and harmful things.

The liver also makes bile which is a digestive enzyme used to break down fats. The metabolism of all fats, carbohydrates, and protein occur within the liver.
When there are excess carbohydrate in your diet, your liver converts the carbohydrates for storage in the adipose (fat) cells in the body which is called Lipogenesis. Upon demand the liver can convert the fat back into glucose.

The liver is also in charge of the sugar balance in the blood stream. The liver's job is to keep the level of glucose (the vital energy of the cells) constant as possible. When there's an abundance of sugar in the blood steam, the pancreas produces insulin which causes the liver to convert glucose into glycogen and when there's a shortage of blood sugar in the blood stream, the pancreas releases the glucagon hormone which causes the liver to convert stored glycogen back into glucose for the blood stream.

Likewise when there is excess protein, the liver converts the excess amino acids into fat and stores it like any other fat. Alternatively if you take in insufficient carbohydrates but plenty of protein, the liver can also convert the protein into glucose.

In each cell there are organelles containing hundreds of thousands or mitochondrial. The job of the mitochondria is to make ATP which is the energy of the cell. This is done by taking glucose and oxygen through a complex metabolic pathway to create ATP. However, this process also creates a lot of free radicals which is why it's necessary to have sufficient glutathione to quench the free radicals.

The metabolism, the storage and proper utilization of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates are all done by the liver. 

The liver stores the nutrients vitamin A, B, E, K as well as B12 and certain minerals including Iron. The liver is in charge of the nutrient balance in the body, it actually determines on how much of each nutrient to store based on the nutrient levels in the rest of the body. However, if the iron level is too high it can actually cause damage to the liver.

Detoxifying the body is another process that the liver carries out for the body. The liver is directly responsible for drug metabolism which is actually detoxification. The liver treats any drug as a foreign substance which as far as it knows is not supposed to be there and will try to break it down. 

There are two phases in Detoxification, Phase 1 and Phase 2 which is for drugs, toxins, alcohol and so on.  During Phase 1, the glutathione is used to tie up the toxins which creates more free radicals.

For phase two an additional amount of glutathione is required to deal with the free radials produced in Stage I of the process. If there's insufficient glutathione for Stage II you're left with very toxic free radicals that can do damage to your body.

Alcohol is a known substance that over time does real irreversible damage to the liver and this is primarily because of insufficient glutathione for Stage II of the detoxification process.

When too much alcohol is ingested the result is a hangover, that is because Phase 2 of the detoxification process is sluggish—insufficient glutathione--and you are not able to get rid of all of the metabolic break down products of the alcohol.

A fatty liver is often a liver under strain from any number of reasons such as misuse of alcohol, triglycerides too high, exposure to some drug or toxin.

A physician at Emory University writes, that the role of glutathione is to deal with oxidative stress in chronic liver disease. He states that glutathione is the key antioxidant and cell protectorant and has multiple functions in disease prevention and detoxification of chemicals and drugs. It's depletion is associated with increased risks of toxicity and disease. The good news is that glutathione works synergistically with other cellular antioxidants such as vitamin C to neutralize and scavenge oxygen and other free radical species to thereby prevent or diminish oxidative stress. Unfortunately in patients with hepatitis C glutathione content in the liver and blood is significantly reduced which correlates with the severity of their liver diseases and the ability of the hepatitis C virus to replicate. He noted that studies indicate that repleation of glutathione improved the response to interferon for people who are being treated with interferon for hepatitis.

The bottom line is that low glutathione in the liver does not produce the best possible outcome. The liver actually makes a lot of glutathione and the glutathione is circulated in the blood stream so that it’s outside of the cells to neutralize free radicals.

There are transport mechanisms in the liver cells—the hepatocytes—that allow glutathione that’s made inside the cells to be carried outside the cells. Glutathione is not diffused from inside the cells but there’s actually a transport mechanism that transports glutathione to the outside of the cell. However, there are no reverse transport systems to transport glutathione from the blood stream back into any cells in the body. So although intravenous glutathione is beneficial, it does not get the glutathione inside the cells where it’s needed in every cell, but it does help the liver in the sense that the liver doesn’t have to make as much to put into the blood stream.

According to Daria Davidson, MD, holistic physician with over a decade of experience in emergency medicine, N-Acetyl Cyseteine has been used for years in emergency medicine to treat Tylenol overdoses.  There is more and more information on Tylenol (not in an over dose—just normal usage)  actually causes a lot of liver problems. An advisory meeting called upon by the FDA on acetaminophen published in Clinical Toxicology in 2009 investigated liver damage from Tylenol. The purpose was to make recommendations regarding the use of Tylenol which is generally used for pain and fever reduction. The problem is that many prescription medications as well as over the counter drugs are mixed with Acetaminophen. There are drugs for colds, sleep aids and so on that people take not realizing that they could be overdosing themselves. One proposal before the FDA are to stop mixing acetaminophen with other drugs.

Germany Journal in Sept 2009 published results from a study done in the largest urban area: The study reported that drug toxicity from Acetaminophen has replaced viral hepatitis as the single most cause of acute liver failure. These results have been found in areas in the U.S., the UK, and Scandinavia. All of this is caused by people inadvertently taking too much Tylenol which has a good amount of Acetaminophen.

At the University of Louisville they took mice of 3 age groups--young, middle age and older mice--and they gave them a normal dose of Acetaminophen. After four hours they measured the glutathione levels in the livers of all 3 age groups of mice and they found that the glutathione levels where down 70-80% of normal. At 24 hours later in the young mice (3-6 months old) the glutathione was back 94%, in the middle aged mice (a year old) the glutathione was back 66%, the older mice (31 months old) was only 41% back to the normal. This was all done with a single dose of Acetaminophen.

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Richard Kuhns
Richard Kuhns

Richard Kuhns has been writing for the internet for over four years. He has many self help audio cds at  Please go to to find out how and take advantage of a risk free two month trial.

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