What Shake Helps Restore Glutathione to Youthful Levels?

2011-08-03T11:28:15+00:00 August 3rd, 2011|Healthy Aging, Product Research, Science News|
Supplementing with amino acid precursors may boost glutathione levels, suggests study.

Supplementing with amino acid precursors may boost glutathione levels, suggests study.

When seeking out an effective product for healthy weight loss, Isagenix customers look no further than Isagenix IsaLean ShakeSoup, or Bars. These complete meal replacements provide the right combination of high-quality protein, energy-boosting carbohydrates, good fats, vitamins and minerals to help fuel fat burning and muscle maintenance, while maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. What customers may not know is that with each sip, they are also helping to boost levels of a vitally important age-fighting antioxidant—glutathione (GSH).

Glutathione is the body’s most abundant antioxidant. It’s at its highest levels when we’re younger, but its synthesis abates with age, and with declining levels comes increased oxidative stress, a problem that is compounded by obesity. Three essential amino acids required to synthesize GSH—which are concentrated in whey protein in IsaLean Shake—are glycine, cysteine and glutamic acid.

GSH is both a direct defender against the free radical-targeted harm to our cells as well as its intracellular components (cell membranes, proteins, DNA and telomeres). GSH is also a necessary cofactor for detoxification enzymes such as GSH-peroxidase and GSH-transferases.

Now, new research (1) from the Baylor College of Medicine is showing that because older individuals have less ability to make their own GSH, they may be more susceptible to oxidative stress and age-associated poor health outcomes. The researchers also compared the effect of supplementing GSH precursor amino acids (glycine, glutamic acid and cysteine) on levels of plasma precursors, GSH and oxidative stress markers in eight elderly men (ages 60 to 75). They compared their findings with levels found in eight younger adults (ages 30 to 40). At baseline the elderly had significantly less of the GSH precursors and GSH itself in their red blood cells compared with the younger adults. Not surprisingly, with less GSH in their cells, the older adults also had a greater level of oxidative stress markers in their plasma compared with younger adults.

Could these low levels of GSH be corrected? Could they be restored to youthful levels? To find out, the researchers supplemented these individuals with high doses of GSH precursors glycine and cysteine (in the form of N-acetylcysteine, an antioxidant in many Isagenix products). After two weeks of supplementation, the elderly subject’s red blood cell GSH nearly doubled and their level of oxidative stress indicators in their plasma decreased significantly. Supplementation was so effective that all of their measurements resembled the data found in the younger subjects!

Next, the researchers performed a subgroup analysis by matching subjects for BMI and comparing GSH status. They found elderly still had lower GSH concentrations and increased indication of oxidative stress.

“It appears that increased age, not obesity, was the primary reason for the altered glutathione kinetics in our elderly subjects,” they wrote.

Finally, the researchers noted that GSH in elderly could be restored to youthful levels through supplementation with high doses of precursors—an important finding. It could mean that simply supplementing the diet with whey protein (containing naturally high levels of cysteine and glycine) daily can assist in protecting against the age-associated decline of GSH levels.

“Dietary supplementation with the glutathione precursors cysteine and glycine fully restores glutathione synthesis and concentrations and lowers levels of oxidative stress,” they wrote.

To best boost levels of glutathione with IsaLean Shake, add in extra IsaPro whey protein. Why drink IsaLean Shake and not just the whey protein by itself? Because the shake contains all the necessary components required for the essential antioxidant GSH to be maximally synthesized. Apart from being a source of high-quality protein containing the right concentrations of essential amino acids, IsaLean Shake contains a combination of other life-sustaining nutrients—such as vitamins and minerals. One such mineral that is provided by IsaLean Shake is selenium. Selenium functions as an antioxidant via its role as a structural component of antioxidant enzymes that use glutathione, namely GSH-peroxidases and thioredoxin reductases. Evidence is also accruing that even a modest deficiency of selenium is associated with increased susceptibility to oxidative stress—in fact, a recent study has shown that selenium may also be critical for heart health by assisting in the management of healthy cholesterol levels (2).

IsaLean Shake’s support of glutathione levels is augmented when combined with other Isagenix signature Pillars of Health: Cleanse for Life, Ionix Supreme, Ageless Essentials Daily Pack and soon-to-be-launched Product B. Product B is of special interest for improving glutathione status, as it contains a combination of ingredients that helps boost glutathione levels while improving the efficiency of the very antioxidant and detoxification enzymes that use glutathione most. In the end, the Isagenix products provide optimal protection against oxidative stress for healthy aging.


  1. Sekhar RV, et al. Deficient synthesis of glutathione underlies oxidative stress in aging and can be corrected by dietary cysteine and glycine supplementation. Amer J Clin Nutr 2011. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.110.003483
  2. Rayman MP, et al. Effect of supplementation with high-selenium yeast on plasma lipids. A randomized trial. Ann Intern Med 2011 May 17; 154:656-665.

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