Glutathione: The Experts Weigh In

In a recent post, we learned that Schisandrin B stimulates the production of glutathione (GSH), the body’s most potent natural antioxidant. Using anti-aging skincare products that contain Schisandrin B will effectively and drastically reduce the unsightly physical manifestations of skin aging, such as wrinkles, age spots, droopy eyelids, and sagging neck skin.

Like no man is an island, no organ of the body functions entirely independently of the others. Our cells work in harmony to create and sustain life. Though we have discussed the importance of glutathione in skin health, it is important to consider the wider-ranging implications of glutathione for our overall well-being.

Expert opinions

Here’s what some of the experts are saying about the role of glutathione in health:

“No other antioxidant is as important to overall health as glutathione. It is the regenerator of immune cells and the most valuable detoxifying agent in the body. Low levels are associated with early aging and even death.”

– Lorna R. Vanderhaeghe and Patrick J.D. Bouic, Ph.D., The Immune System Cure

“Raised glutathione levels fight the oxidation of circulating fats in the bloodstream, including cholesterol, retarding the process of plaque formation in the arteries – the underlying cause for most heart disease and stroke.”

– Nutrition Reviews 54: 1-30, 1996

“It is well known that aging is accompanied by a precipitous fall in GSH levels. Lower GSH levels are implicated in many diseases associated with aging, including cataracts, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, atherosclerosis and others.”

– Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 47: 1021-26, 1994

The future of healthy aging

Scientists around the world have been pursuing progressively more advanced research on glutathione and Schisandrin B. We may not be able to stop the clock, but what we already know about these compounds demonstrates their significance in the campaign for healthy aging, starting with the body’s largest organ: our skin.

References

Quirin, Dr. K. W. et al. Supercritical Schisandra Extracts – a New Concept for Personal Care Cosmetics. Cosmetic Science Technology, 2008.

Gutman, Dr. Jimmy. GSH Your Body’s Most Powerful Protector GLUTATHIONE. Montreal: Kudo.ca Communications, 2002. Print.

Somersall, Dr. Allan C. and Dr. Gustavo Bounous. Breakthrough in Cell-Defense. USA: GOLDENeight Publishing, 1999. Print.

Vanderhaeghe, Lorna R. and Patrick J.D. Bouic, Ph.D. The Immune System Cure. New York: Kensington, 2002. Print.

Glissandrin: A superior antioxidant

In the October 2011 issue of InStyle, we learned what skin experts are prescribing to combat a number of common ailments. The first in the series shares tips on protecting skin from the elements. And while Miami dermatologist Leslie Baumann recommends using antioxidants, there’s more to the story than what’s known by even the savviest experts and consumers.

Most antioxidants are free radical scavengers, but some are so large that they cannot penetrate skin cells. This presents a problem since the source of the issue lies within the cell walls.

Fortunately, some antioxidants are not only able to penetrate skin cells but also to up-regulate the antioxidant defense systems inherent in our body. In simpler terms, that means they actually enhance the body’s natural ability to combat free radicals.

Our skin is equipped with antioxidant defense systems to fight free radicals caused by harmful stimuli. One such stimulus is solar light radiation. Long-term exposure or over-exposure to the sun can overwhelm these antioxidant systems, resulting in damage to the skin cells and the depletion of essential components such as collagen and elastin.

The consequence is photoaging, chronic alterations in the skin’s structure that become visible on the surface. Many of us are all too familiar with the signs of photoaging, which include wrinkles, brown spots, inelasticity, coarse skin texture, and uneven pigmentation.

Glissandrin™, with Schisandrin B as its key compound, has been proven to enhance the antioxidant defense systems naturally found in our skin. This is in addition to its ability to scavenge free radicals. Readily absorbed by the skin, Glissandrin is a superior antioxidant.

Glissandrin is a natural ingredient derived from Schisandra berry. Researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, led by Dr. Robert Ko, recently published a paper in the respected medical journal, Fitoterapia (2011), on the protective properties of Schisandrin B in preventing and restoring skin damage from solar radiation.

To learn more, please visit http://glissandra.com.

What causes skin aging: Making sense of the latest research findings

Introduction

This is Part 1 of a 3-part series on the quest by scientists to find effective ways to fight skin aging. By understanding the leading cause of aging, mitochondrial decay, we can develop comprehensive solutions for long-term skin health.

Theories of aging

Aging is a consequence of changes that are harmful, progressive, and thus far irreversible in most living organisms, including humans. Age-associated damage occurs to biomolecules, cells, and organs. Diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis, heart diseases, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease occur more frequently with old age.

The biochemical mechanism of aging has long been an area of intensive research, and a number of theories of aging have been proposed, including the neuro-endocrine theory, which links aging to hormonal changes; immunological theory, which attributes aging to immune system dysfunction; telomerase theory, which relates to the shortening of chromosomes during cell division; and oxidative stress theory, which refers to free radical damage to cells.

Among these theories, it is reasonable to distinguish those that attempt to establish primary causes of aging from those that are secondary. For example, the telomerase theory may be secondary since the decrease in telomerase activity can be caused by the increase in cellular oxidative stress.

In gerontology, the study of aging, oxidative stress is increasingly recognized as the primary cause of aging.

The role of mitochondrial decay in aging

If oxidative stress is indeed the primary factor in skin aging, it is important to understand its roots. Scientists now believe that oxidative stress may be caused by mitochondrial decay. Mitochondria, the chief producers of both energy and oxidants inside the cell, play a critical role in the process of aging.

As energy producers, mitochondria convert unusable forms of energy into a usable chemical form known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is required for all vital cellular chemical reactions throughout the body. During the metabolic cycle of ATP production, oxidants are released from the mitochondria as harmful by-products that can damage important biomolecules, such as DNA, lipids, and proteins. At the same time, the mitochondria themselves are also victims of this metabolic cycle of ATP production as they are highly susceptible to damage by the oxidants thus released.

Over time, largely due to cumulated damage by the oxidants, the functional capabilities of mitochondria deteriorate; the production of ATP declines; and the release of oxidants increases. The latter inflicts greater damage to the mitochondria, which in turn results in accelerated oxidant production. This is the vicious cycle of mitochondrial decay. If left unchecked, mitochondrial decay leads to cumulative damage in cellular biomolecules, resulting in a host of age-related diseases.

Effects of mitochondrial decay on the skin

The skin is the body’s largest organ. The consequence of cumulative damage in skin cell biomolecules is a corresponding increase in the depletion of important extracellular components, such as collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid, among others. The loss of these significant components is manifested in the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, droopiness, pigmentation, puffiness, skin inelasticity, enlarged pores, dryness, and a dull skin tone.

Conclusion

An increasing amount of scientific evidence confirms that mitochondrial decay is the fundamental cause of aging; therefore, scientists are endeavoring to find remedies to reverse the declining functional capabilities of mitochondria due to aging. In Parts 2 and 3 of this series, we will explore what scientists have accomplished in this direction.

More information on mitochondrial decay and theories of aging can be found at these independent websites: