Whey Protein: Antioxidant (Glutathione) Precursor

Whey for the Antioxidant Glutathione

The best known source of glutathione precursors is cold processed whey powder. Glutathione is key to our existence as our body’s most powerful healing agent and antioxidant. Glutathione works with all the other antioxidants and even regenerates them. Low glutathione levels are associated with disease and infections, and it often is the missing ingredient in our diets.

People on weight reduction or longevity promoting diets use 40 to 60 g of whey protein daily. Whey has been considered a perfect product in many therapies throughout the ages.

It was used as a healing supplement in nutrition. It helps to detoxify the body and activates metabolic processes. Whey was very popular at times: Galen 129-199 mentions it, and even earlier Hippocrates (460-370 B.C.) was aware of its healing qualities. Throughout the ages it gets lost, comes up again and now it is having another renaissance. When whey was popular, it was supported by adding healing herbs to the food for cows and goats. The resurgence of whey use now is based on people’s search for more natural products in food and healing.


Several whey products are available: sweet whey, sour whey, clear whey. For body work it can be enhanced with fruit ingredients. Traditional uses vary widely. It is especially helpful in cases of digestive problems and dieting. Its protein content is only 0.5%, yet only 30 g of whey powder is needed to get the daily requirement of amino acids. Whey is considered among the highest quality protein available. Whey has high content of natural milk sugar (lactose). Since whey supports a good intestine climate, it is important for a good immune system.

Whey itself is a complete product of highest quality for many applications. Its primary use is to improve digestive processes, and it is successfully applied in high blood pressure, liver problems, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, cellulite and pregnancy and nursing, as well as for bladder and kidney issues. Whey combined with essential oils is indicated for skin problems. It is helpful with yeast overgrowth problems in the mouth and in vaginal problems. Whey strengthens the protective shield of the skin against aggressive acids and pollution.

Whey can be applied both internally and externally. In the middle ages, the so called whey bathing cure was popular. It is available again.

Whey isolate, when used as a glutathione precursor, is an important enhancer of:

  • immune function
  • liver function
  • repair of RNA and DNA cell damage
  • production of antioxidants and hormones
  • removal of toxic metals
  • wound healing
  • creation of new lean muscle mass
  • increasing aerobic (exercise) capacity by up to 13%
  • inhibition of pathogens in the gastrointestinal tract
  • production of red blood cells, enzymes, hormones and (monoclonal) white blood cells

We all need to raise our cellular glutathione (GSH) levels, particularly if we’re sick or toxic, if we have a degenerative illness or we’re aging. If we don’t do so, the result will be rampant free radical cascades (oxidative stress), inflammation, accelerated degeneration, a long list of disorders and a failure to thrive. Sound familiar? It should…I’ve just described the general deterioration associated with aging. All those symptoms have been linked to low GSH levels and can be avoided.

Raising cellular GSH levels has historically been difficult because GSH must be created naturally within each cell by supplying the correct precursors. Both oral cysteine and glutathione that have been used for want of a better solution are broken down in the gut, enter the bloodstream and the cells with difficulty, and increase cellular GSH only marginally. Cysteine at useful levels has known toxicity issues. The drug N-Acetyl cysteine (NAC) has been used but has many known side effects and a half-life of only two hours. It is used in emergencies to increase liver glutathione and prevent the liver from liquefying in the event of, for example, acetaminophen overdose. In addition, NAC-induced glutathione levels often plunge to well below original values when the drug is withdrawn.

An undenatured (unbroken, uncooked) whey isolate is ideally suited, however, to donate the GSH precursor, a cysteine=cysteine dipeptide called cystine. Cystine enters the blood and the cells readily to yield two cysteine molecules that are used to create glutathione. In addition there is no toxicity and the glutathione levels do not fluctuate as much with this method. The science is proven; there is a medically approved whey isolate for the purpose of increasing cellular glutathione, where 90% is needed. In the process it also builds muscle and reduces wasting due to HIV or cancer. It is also a recognized chemotherapeutic agent even on its own. The recommended dose is 40-60 grams daily. The cost at that dose is prohibitive however, and the science applies also to the less expensive products. To further elaborate on the science, The FDA website states that undenatured whey isolate is the ideal GSH precursor.

Just a word to strengthen our position on the protein powder – animal proteins are perhaps more bioavailable, but at about 75 has lower biological value than eggs, which are rated at 100. Cooked whey protein is only slightly higher than eggs, and the biological value of cold-processed whey protein can go as high as 160. Biological value translates to assimilation with less digestion, and higher is better.

Whey powder is good for everyone, especially if it is cold-processed, because if it hasn’t been cooked it’s not only more bioavailable but also full of glutathione precursors. This antioxidant and detoxifier is crucial to wellness, and practically all illnesses, especially degenerative types, plus inflammation are connected to low glutathione levels; illness and inflammation disappear when glutathione levels are kept high. PubMed Search will confirm this: “”glutathione centenarians longevity not polymorphism””; centenarians had higher than average glutathione or the enzyme that reduces glutathione so it can be re-used. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?CMD=search&DB=pubmed

Hundreds more studies link low glutathione to age-related degeneration, infection and degenerative disease. People do not get glutathione from their food, as dietary glutathione is not usable; the peptide is not absorbed well and is mainly digested into its component amino acids. This enzyme is made within every cell from precursor amino acid peptides. Read the book Glutathione (GSH): Your Body’s Most Powerful Healing Agent by Stephen Schettini, Dr. Jimmy Gutman

Tony Luboff wrote in his review: I have had the pleasure of reading Dr. Gutman’s first work with Stephen Schettini, “”The Ultimate GSH Handbook.”” This book helped to dispel a lot of the misconceptions of raising glutathione in the cells and brought to light an incredible amount of research on the subject of glutathione modulation in health and disease. It was, and still is a brilliant piece of work! This newest edition “”Glutathione, Your Body’s Most Powerful Healing Agent”” takes that work to a whole new dimension. BRAVO to Dr. Jimmy Gutman and Stephen Schettini for a profound, penetrating and truly remarkable dissertation on the importance of keeping glutathione levels at an optimum level if you want to remain healthy. Written to be understood by the layperson and yet a practical reference for the medical professional whether they embrace allopathic or naturopathic medicine. This book should be in everyone’s health library.

Author: Life Enthusiast Staff