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What is glutathione and its role in a cell?
Glutathione (GTH) is a potent antioxidant found in our cells.
GTH is a tripeptide.
Its full name is γ-glutamylcysteinylglycine.
It contains an SH group, and these groups are reducing agents. They react with free radicals and other oxidizing agents to form disulfides.
2RSH + 2RO· → RS-SR + 2ROH
In glutathione, the product is glutathione disulfide, GSSG.
Main Role of Glutathione: Antioxidant
Glutathione is an essential component of the body's natural defense system.
Viruses, bacteria, heavy metals, radiation, certain medications, and even the normal process of aging can all generate free-radicals. Glutathione reacts with and destroys these free radicals.
Other Functions of Glutathione
- Maintenance of other endogenous antioxidants such as vitamins C and E in their reduced (active) forms
- DNA synthesis and repair
- Amino acid transport
- Protein synthesis
- Enzyme activation
- Iron metabolism
- Prostaglandin synthesis
- Regulation of the nitric oxide cycle
Almost every system in the body can be affected by the state of the glutathione system. These include the immune system, the nervous system, the gastrointestinal system, and the lungs.