Nutrients to Maintain Glutathione

Glutathione is the most important intracellular antioxidant and is crucially important for protecting the liver against toxicity when it goes about its task of breaking down drugs and other toxins. Taking the following nutrients may help to maintain or increase levels of glutathione:

 vitamin C (2–6 grams per day, in divided doses; individual tolerance for vitamin C varies greatly; amounts beyond an individual’s bowel tolerance will cause gas and diarrhea
 N-acetyl-cysteine, or NAC (500 mg, 3 times per day; always take with food because taking it on an empty stomach can cause gastrointestinal tract irritation)
 L-glutamine (5 grams per day, increased up to 30–40 grams in those who also have diarrhea or wasting. Note that anyone with seriously compromised liver or kidney function should not take glutamine without a doctor’s approval since it is an amino acid that must be processed by those organs.)
 alpha-lipoic acid (300-500 mg, twice daily; take on an empty stomach with fluids. Alpha-lipoic acid is a naturally occurring fatty acid that acts as a cellular coenzyme. It is very important to the liver cell metabolic pathways and can be rapidly depleted when the liver is under stress. It has long been used in Europe for liver regeneration where it has been shown to be effective in those with cirrhosis of the liver due to alcohol use. It appears to help boost repair when there has been either virally induced or drug-induced liver damage. It appears to be generally protective of the liver and has been shown to have a beneficial effect for those with elevated liver enzymes. Note that alpha-lipoic acid disappears from the bloodstream very rapidly, so products made in an extended-release form will last longer and work better

All of these nutrients, especially when used in combination, can help to maintain glutathione levels.

For people with fatty livers, another important nutrient is acetyl-L-carnitine. Researchers say that it may help prevent mitochondrial toxicity, thus helping the body to handle fat better

Silymarin and Other Herbs

An herb called milk thistle (Silybum marianum) contains the flavanolignanes silybin, silycristin, silydianin, and isosilybin which, as a group, are commonly referred to as silymarin. Silymarin has powerful effects as both an antioxidant and protector of the liver. It both protects healthy liver cells from toxic chemicals by promoting healthy cell membranes, and stimulates protein synthesis which promotes new liver cell growth, thus repairing the liver where it is damaged.
Specifically, it promotes repair and regeneration of hepatocytes through the anti-inflammatory silymarin flavonoids found in the plant. These flavonoids have specificity for the liver and act in four main ways: (1) they stabilize cell membranes, acting as anti-inflammatories; (2) they stimulate RNA and DNA synthesis, enhancing regeneration; (3) they conserve glutathione peroxidase, the antioxidant enzyme so important to the liver; and (4) they stimulate enzymatic activity in the
liver. There are many herbal formulas now available that contain silymarin in useful quantities. The suggested dosage for most of these is two capsules, three times per day, to be continued until liver enzymes return to normal. Many, many people have reported success in reducing elevated liver enzymes with the use of silymarin, usually in conjunction with alpha-lipoic acid and N-acetyl-cysteine.