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In this interview with Dr Brian MacGillivray (Dr Mac), we learn what glutathione is and how to properly what supplementation can do for us.
Note: Dr Mac is the medical director for Nanoceutical Solutions, a company that manufactures and sells supplements. I received samples of their products and a small fee to have him on the show. I have been trying to find a guest to talk about glutathione and this was the only opportunity I've found.
Allan (1:54): Dr. Mac, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
Dr. Mac (1:58): Thank you for having me, Allan. I appreciate it.
Allan (2:00): I’ve been out there looking for someone that I could bring on to talk about the topic today, glutathione, because I’ve heard such great things about it. On one side though, I’ve heard things that are just completely astronomically wrong about it. I was listening to one podcast – and very large podcast, a huge listener base – and he was basically touting it as the miracle cure of, you can drink as much alcohol as you want and you won’t get drunk, you can do anything you want to your liver and this will fix it. So, there are people I think that over extol on glutathione, but it is such an important element in our body. I was really happy to be able to bring someone like you on to talk about this element.
Dr. Mac (2:42): I appreciate it. Most people have never even heard of it, but I think it was discovered 1888-1889, something like that. And it actually was part of the Nobel Prize for medicine in the 1920s. So, we know how important it is; doctors have known it for a long time. The biggest struggle with getting it to the public is exactly that. How do we get it in the public? Basically glutathione is the human body’s detoxification system, or the most important part of it, evolutionarily over time. We were talking earlier before the podcast about the exposure that people are having to toxins that they don’t even know about, but hundreds of thousands of toxins in our air, in our water, in our food, in our food supplements, our clothes and our pets. It goes on and on. Interestingly enough, evolutionarily, one of the reasons why we’re seeing so much significant disease over time is that we’re fatiguing our detoxification system.
Allan (3:49): I was reading a story. I think the number I’ve seen is somewhere like 130,000 different chemicals we’re exposed through air, water, what we eat, on our skin. I even saw something the other day that said, do not use vinyl shower curtains, because the heat causes the chemicals to come off of the vinyl, and you’re in the shower in an enclosed environment, breathing those chemicals. I don’t even know how I could possibly get rid of all of the chemicals, they seem to be so inundated. So, understanding how our body actually detoxes, I think is a very important thing.
Dr. Mac (4:25): And remember, we’re not just talking about things that are known to be harmful. Your body still has to get rid of things that are supposed to be beneficial, like if you take a Tylenol – we have to detoxify that and get rid of it. Medicines we’re taking, etcetera. You make a good point. I was just reading an article about children’s playgrounds, public playgrounds – that in the summertime when they heat up, certain toxins are released from the plastic and the vinyls and they’re causing cancer. So, even the ones where we think we know, we may not know the ones we don’t know yet. Sorry, go ahead.
Allan (4:58): No, that’s really my point, is I have this detox system. I want to delve in a little bit because our bodies do produce glutathione. We have to provide it with some precursors, but there is some limitation. Can you talk about the process for how my body’s going to create this element that I need, but why I might have some limitations to producing that, or producing enough of it?
Dr. Mac (5:24): That’s a great point. For now we’ll describe glutathione as a master detoxifier. Toxins come into the body both from normal metabolism – from oxygen metabolism and water metabolism, so the byproducts of these things we have to get rid of, or we would simply die. It would be a very short lifespan for us. And then also things that are directly toxic, like alcohol, for instance. It potentially has its good parts, but at the end it’s still a poison and we have to get rid of it. Glutathione is synthesized in every cell in the human body. Its master job – and I can get into the technical part if you really want to get dirty with it – is to reduce the amount of metabolic waste. We call those “free radicals”, if you’ve ever heard that term before. Free radicals go about the body, go about the cell, and they’re basically – the layman’s term is “sticky”, but they’re looking for an electron. They go and they’ll take it from any healthy organelle. They’ll take it from your proteins, they’ll take it from your DNA, they’ll take it from your cell membranes. So, they’re basically destroying your body to become stabilized. It’s that whole oxidation reduction thing, kind of like what rust is. As you spoke of, previously we didn’t have as many toxins, but over time evolutionarily, we’re being taxed more and more and more and more. The problem is that around age 20, primates start to reduce their production of glutathione. It’s about 15% every decade. So a male in their 50s will have lost about 50% of their glutathione. Now, do you find it coincidental that about age 50 is when you start seeing spikes in human disease? Maybe, but one of the things that glutathione does is not just to detoxify the things we ingest or come in contact with. If we have free radicals from normal processes in the body going on that are biting into your DNA and your proteins and your normal function – that’s pretty much aging by definition. That’s why we don’t look like we do when we’re 20. But also the things like cancers, for instance. Cancers are abnormalities in your DNA that become replicated as the norm, and your cells begin to grow erratically. So, glutathione isn’t just the antidote to every poison you’re taking in; it’s also to protect against the disease processes that we see associated with aging.
Allan (8:03): Basically it’s created in the cell. It’s inside the cell at that point, and then anything that’s going on inside that cell, any metabolic process that’s coming along, if it’s creating a free radical or if it’s dealing with a particular toxin at that point in time, glutathione is going to help to shuttle that out of that cell and keep that cell safer.
Dr. Mac (8:28): Loosely, yes. The process is that glutathione is a great donator of electrons. So that free radical that’s so hungry for an electron it’ll take it from protein, it basically says, “No, I’ll take it.” It gives it away and stabilizes that free radical so it’s not harmful anymore. But to your point, it also directly detoxifies certain molecules and things of that nature. Also, one of the coolest things about it is, it regenerates itself. I just told you it gave away an electron; now it’s got to find one to make itself ready to lock and load again. But it also regenerates other antioxidants like vitamin C and E, and other antioxidants. That’s why they call it “the master antioxidant” and why it’s vital for life. It is the stud-muffin antioxidant – we’ll just call it that.
Allan (9:19): I kind of equate it to – it’s not exactly like Asteroids, the video game we played when we were kids exactly – but it is helping us out from a protective perspective and if we ended up, let’s say, we couldn’t fire as rapidly or because we didn’t have as much glutathione. And as we age we know that’s the case, but we’re exposed to ever more toxins as we get older because there’s ever more that they’re creating and releasing to the environment. Plus oxidation is increasing.
Dr. Mac (9:52): You’re absolutely right. On the one hand we’re producing less of it as time goes by, and then we’re getting hit by more and more and more toxins and free radicals. And then again, over time this allows for things to start breaking down in the repair system, if you will, or the thing that keeps it from becoming more into disrepair begins to break down as well, which is an interesting topic. That’s one of the reasons we’re talking, is because it’s been so difficult to replenish glutathione. You’d say, “Just take the glutathione pill; that ought to take care of it.” Right? But again, I told you it was part of the Nobel Prize in the 1920s. There’s a long time that’s gone since then; why haven’t heard about it? It’s difficult getting it into the body.
Allan (10:38): Okay, let’s talk about that. The one thing I did learn from that interview that I talked about earlier was that you can’t just take a glutathione pill. There are some complications associated with that because our stomach will pretty much destroy the element before we could ever utilize it. I’ve heard there are injections and I’ve heard of having it in an IV, particularly when it’s mixed with other things like vitamin C and the B vitamins. Can you talk about those delivery methods, the pros and cons of each, and what that means for us?
Dr. Mac (11:12): For years and years and years, it wasn’t available, until the 1950s and 1960s. It was available through an IV, because it’s really a simple molecule. It’s three amino acids. It’s like the smallest piece of meat you can imagine. It really is. It was available through IVs, but again, the number of people that had a) the time and b) the money to put an IV in themselves for a supplement to be taken daily, is a little bit crazy. Injections are pretty painful. This is an entity that, if I could convince my patients to say, “Pop this into your heinie once a day”, they would colorfully tell me why that’s not a pleasant idea for them. Therefore many years went by, where very few people were getting any supplementation, and at that point it was all IV, because as you said, it been a tripeptide – three amino acids, the hydrochloric acid in the stomach will just bust it into its components, just like it would the last steak you ate, or hamburger. It would bust it into components, making it completely useless whatsoever. That’s been the big issue. And why we’re talking about it more these days is because we do have some modalities. I’m happy to be part of both the research for and the company that’s putting it forward – the ability to get it back into our systems in a convenient, realistic once-a-day type of setting.
Allan (12:36): Now, the one way I had heard, before I heard about your company, was that we could wrap this molecule in a liposome that would protect it through the stomach, and that has some efficacy. But you guys are coming up with a product that allows me to take it sublingually, I guess, is the word we use when we’re taking it under our tongue. I’ve used products before that I took that way, so I understand the basis of completely bypassing the stomach, because I’m not really swallowing it. I’m just letting it go in through the skin under my tongue. Can you talk about those two and why one would potentially be better than the other?
Dr. Mac (13:24): I’ll even add one more to it. The precursors, or individual components of glutathione, given it’s a tripeptide – cystine, glycine and glutamine – people are taking them as precursors. You may have heard some supplements that are, “Let me take the precursors for it, and if my body synthesizes it, maybe I can encourage it to synthesize it, just like if I took calcium to make bone”, kind of thing. Again, the problem that surfaces there is that, as I told you, the rate of synthesis goes down as we age, so independent of how much of the building blocks you put in, it’s only going to make so much of it. And unfortunately that wanes as we get older. The liposomal complexes were, in theory, kind of a great idea. They’re trying to mix the oil and water component such that it can survive, if you will, the journey into the bloodstream. And although they’re better than pills, pills don’t have a snowball’s chance in you know where of getting on board. There hasn’t, to my knowledge of the medical literature and studies, an effective route, if you will, of getting it on board. For a number of reasons, the liposomals typically don’t do well when they hit a water-based medium. It’s very “hit or miss”, and they’re a little more unstable on the shell. And so, nothing has been satisfying. Nothing has been, “Let me measure my patient Allan, who I’ve got on these supplements or precursors or liposomal products. Let me measure your glutathione level and I can prove to you that it’s doing well.” Nanoceutical Solutions is the company that’s put forth Nano Glutathione, and the basis that they created was to molecularly decrease the size down to less than a micron, which is really small. It’s a liquid, and you put a cc under your tongue and it simply goes across the membrane, the mucosa of your mouth and your tongue, into your bloodstream. And I’m really happy they’ve done studies, because what I do for a living – guessing is really not a good thing to do. I don’t know what it is about patients, they get upset when you tell them it’s going to save their life and it doesn’t. The studies that they did show up to an 800% increase, even after a single dose, which makes sense. We know a lot about sublingual medicines like nitroglycerin and things we want to get into the body quickly. So, I’m pretty excited about that. If you dovetail that with the things we know that glutathione does for the body, all the way from aging and some of the diseases that are now associated with a decreasing amount or a low amount, it’s pretty phenomenal.
Allan (16:10): I’m a big fan of precursors when you know your body’s already optimal, you know that it’s able to use those precursors, and you know there’s no ill effect to those precursors. So, in this case I’d say if you’re a meat eater and you’re getting those precursors as a function of your daily eating and you feel like your body’s detoxing, everything’s working the way it’s supposed to be working, and hopefully you’re on the other end, eliminating these precursors – that’s all good and fine. But I think most of us would like to have an opportunity to make sure that we’re maximizing the benefit of what we put in our bodies. If I’m going to pay for a supplement, I want to know that the efficacy of that supplement is as high as I can possibly get it. And you guys have actually measured that.
Dr. Mac (17:00): Absolutely, and that’s the exciting part. If you look at my history, with my patients in my office, I am a guy that will measure your iron, I’ll measure your calcium, I’ll measure your vitamin D, your B12. The things that if they’re not right, they’re going to have deleterious health effects, and we can either supplement them or change your diet to accommodate that. So, I’m not a guy that sends people to vitamin stores, if you will, that you should just take a vitamin. Why? Well, to make you healthier. It’s a little nebulous and a little bit non-scientific. When I came upon the company I was actually allowed to participate in the study and to actually see that and know what glutathione does. That kind of perks your interest up, because this used to be the undiscovered country: “Yeah, I know it’s great, whatever. But we can’t get it in the body. So, move along.” Well, now we can. So it’s really exciting.
Allan (17:56): I go in and get regular blood tests and I get really comprehensive blood tests. So I go to my doctor – vitamin D, B12, iron, calcium. Those are all in my blood work along with the cholesterol and all the other things you’d expect to see. But I don’t know that I’ve ever seen glutathione as anything that would be on my standard lab tests. Is that a lab test that a normal person can go out and have their doctor request?
Dr. Mac (18:22): You’d be surprised how many doctors, with respect to my brethren, know about glutathione, because again, the things that were taught are in the modernity, meaning, “We can do something about this. This has an effect here. Here’s your prescription pad, write this for that.” Again, it’s only come to light recently, and fortunately it’s still a supplement; it’s not an FDA-regulated component, because it’s made in every cell in the body. But you bring up a very, very good point. The answer your question is “No.” If you went to your doctor and said, “Measure my glutathione level”, they’d be looking it up in a book. You can measure the glutathione level. You can measure what’s called “oxidative stress”. What that means is basically the amount of free radicals versus the amount of glutathione. If that ratio is high, your environment in your cells is hostile, meaning the oxidation is going on and you’re breaking up proteins and you’re aging in front of us. You could actually measure either one. It’s just not commonly done because doctors like to say, “Here’s the problem, here’s your solution. Here’s your prescription for it.” And heretofore, there was no prescription for it. Now, I do IV glutathione in my office, but I don’t have anybody that comes in every day to be poking for an IV to get it done. So again, from my perspective, I’m very excited and my patients are excited, because I’ve been talking about this for a long time, that one day we’re going to get it. And the day has come.
Allan (19:55): Okay. So, you’re going through a process that I’m not very familiar with when I first heard about it. It’s the nanosizing of an element. I guess that just means breaking it down. I understand the technology is just break it down into a very, very small piece.
Dr. Mac (20:13): Absolutely correct. So, what Nanoceutical Solutions have hung their hat on is basically their mechanism and their patented process by taking… And there’s a big caveat here – it’s really easy to make something smaller, but the hard part is not destroying it in the process. So you’ve got to come up with a functional thing at the other end of it. Heretofore, again, glutathione was a great choice for them to apply it to, because this drug doesn’t work in the stomach and all we have is IV; we’ve got to find something else. And liposomal, again, was questionable. Anybody either in the lay public or physicians have been continually dissatisfied with that as above precursors, but not near IV. So, being able to nanosize that and make it stable – so it’s not refrigerated, it just stays on the shelf; you shake it up and put it under your tongue and hold it for 60 seconds. You can do that every day and your life isn’t very much upset. I’m a firm believer that the sky’s the limit on what it can do to prevent the things that we would associate with normal wear and tear, normal aging, disease proliferation and so forth.
Allan (21:31): I’m on board with this, as far as the product, as far as the fact that our body needs this element. So it is something I’m going to experiment with. I appreciate you guys sending me some of the product to test out. It comes as orange oil with something else, so it actually is very pleasant. Some of the things that you would take, like liposoms that I’ve used in the past, do not taste great.
Dr. Mac (21:56): The benefit and the problem with glutathione is it has a sulfur molecule, and the sulfur atom in the middle of the molecule is what’s responsible for donating and sweeping up electrons. It’s the functional part, but anybody that’s ever smelled rotten eggs – that’s hydrogen sulfide. So, it walks a fine line, but the tangerine flavor and almond oil is kind of what it is. So, it’s not too unpleasant.
Allan (22:23): No, not at all. And you guys have been nice enough. If folks want to give this a shot, they can get a 30% discount on their order if they go through a link, and I’m going to give you the link here. It’s bit.ly/40plusfitnesspodcast. That’ll take you to a page where you can order this. It tells you some more information about it. Try it, see how it makes you feel, see if it’s helping you deal with the chemicals in your life, deal with the oxidative stress in your body. It’s not a miracle, but it’s something that your body may be optimized better to deal with some supplementation. I’m not a huge fan of supplements – folks know that – but this is one where our body is going to make less and less. It does seem to have aging component to it where it’s going to help us fight oxidative stress and age a little bit slower. It is something that I’m going to take. I have a little supply of it now. I’ve got a blood test that I keep trying to get done, but I get busy. So I’m going to go in and get a blood test. I’m going to use this product and then I’m going to take another blood test and see how it goes. But if you guys want to get it at a discount, it’s bit.ly/40plusfitnesspodcast. And this is episode 347, so you can also go to 40PlusFitnessPodcast.com/347, and I’ll have a link there.
Dr. Mac (23:45): Allan, in real time, I just wanted you to know that with the advent of making glutathione more available, more studies are being done and there are a number of actual health problems that are being studied because they are noted to have an absence of glutathione, most prominently Alzheimer’s. It’s really all over the news. Many of my neurologist colleagues are actually adding it to their regimen to keep the decline in cognition and short-term memory. Autism, asthma, heart disease. We’re looking at this as you might imagine, “Where’s the chicken and the egg?”, but the exciting part is, there’s a big association with a decline or a low level of glutathione associated with this disease. The questions that are now being asked in studies are, if we kept the glutathione up, with the heart disease, with Alzheimer’s, what level of that would it penetrate? So, it’s really exciting, and I personally as a patient would rather be on the end of, “Let me take this and make sure that if I get Alzheimer’s, it’s not going to be because I let my body be low on something – glutathione, if you will, that we could have done something about.”
Allan (24:53): I agree. That’s another thing. I’m going to talk to my doctor and ask if we can do some testing. We’re doing C-reactive protein, homocysteine, we’re doing most of them. We’re going to figure out how well this helps me deal with some of the aging numbers that I’m seeing in talking with my doctor. I encourage you guys to do the same. Dr. Mac, again, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
Dr. Mac (25:23): It was my pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Allan (25:29): Now, as this episode’s going live, I am in the process of flying back from Ohio for a writer’s conference. I’m trying to learn some of the tips and tricks and things I can do to make The Wellness Roadmap a really good book that gets in the hands of a lot of readers. You could help me do that as well, and I really would appreciate if you’d go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com and become a part of the launch team. I need to build this launch team up so that we can make sure that we make a really big splash when this book goes live. There’s going to be a lot of competition during the month of December and January when the book is just coming out, and I’m going to need your help to make it successful. So, please go to WellnessRoadmapBook.com and become a supporter of and be a part of the launch team, so you can help make this book everything it should be. Thank you.