Have you or a loved one been hit with the “100-day-cough” that turns into a “300-day-cough”? Amongst other evidence based naturopathic therapies, inhaled nebulized glutathione can be a very effective way to fight that pesky cough and other inflammatory respiratory conditions.
First thing is first - What is Glutathione?
Glutathione is often referred to as the “mother of all antioxidants”, serving as one of the main molecules to maintain health and prevent the development of chronic disease. It is produced naturally in the body as an assembly of 3 amino acids – glycine, cysteine and glutamine.
The critical roles of glutathione in the body:
1) Direct chemical neutralization of damaging free radicals produced by Phase I liver metabolism of chemical toxins.
2) Cofactor of several antioxidant enzymes
3) Regeneration of vitamins C and E
4) One of approximately 7 liver Phase II reactions, which conjugate the activated intermediates produced by Phase I to make them water soluble for excretion by the kidneys
5) Transportation of mercury out of cells and the brain
6) Regulation of cellular proliferation and apoptosis (natural and healthy cell death)
7) Vital to mitochondrial function (energy unit of each cell) and maintenance of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)
Dr. Mark Hyman, MD explains, “The secret of its power is the sulfur (SH) chemical group it contains. Sulfur is a sticky, smelly molecule. Its acts like fly paper and all the bad things in the body stick onto it, including free radicals and toxins like mercury and other heavy metals. Normally, glutathione is recycled in the body, except when the toxic load becomes too great”.
We can provide glutathione via IV therapy, oral repletion as well as through inhalation. For lung and respiratory-related conditions, inhalation is the most effective delivery method.
Why is glutathione important for respiratory health?
Glutathione (GSH) is known to be in high concentrations within the epithelial lining fluid (ELF) of the lower respiratory tract, which refers to the layer of cells which first come into contact with inhaled air. In fact the ELF concentration of GSH is 140 times that of blood serum concentrations with a redox ratio of greater than 9:1.
GSH is the body’s first line of defense against oxidative stress imposed from the outside world including but not limited to pollution, cigarette smoke, bacteria and viruses, amongst many other invaders. In respiratory disease, cellular damage and injury is mediated by an increased oxidant burden and/or decreased antioxidant defenses. By ensuring we provide the body with adequate glutathione to counteract the increased demand, we may improve respiratory function and alveolar health.
Glutathione is only beneficial for lung conditions when it is delivered directly to the pulmonary tissue – this is best achieved using a nebulizer
What is a nebulizer?
In medicine, a nebulizer is a drug delivery device used to administer medications (both pharmaceuticals or neutraceuticals) in the form of a mist inhaled into the lungs.
This therapy may be helpful in the following conditions:
· Cystic fibrosis
· Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
· Cigarette smoking detox-support
· Multiple chemical sensitivity disorder
· Non-sulfite sensitive asthma
· Farmer’s lung
· Chronic congestion
· Chronic rhinitis
· Chronis sinusitis
· Post-viral cough
· Upper and lower respiratory tract infections
· Chronic otitis media with effusion
Who is a good candidate for this therapy?
Adults and children can both benefit from nebulized glutathione when indicated.
A note for children:
1) They will need to sit still for the duration of the treatment which lasts for approximately 10-15 minutes
2) They will need to wear a mas that covers their nose and mouth
3) There is no pain associated with treatment
Parents are encourages to bring along a favourite book, iPad or any other device or toy to keep their child occupied and calm for the treatment. Parents are welcome to hold their children or sit right beside them during treatment.
Who is not a good candidate for this treatment?
Any individual who has a sensitivity to sulfites is not a safe candidate for treatment as the GSH may lead to bronchoconstriction or trigger an asthma flair. Before your first treatment, you will collect a urine sample and test for this sensitivity in order to prevent this from occurring.
Nebulized glutathione is NOT used as a treatment for primary lung cancer
How often are treatments required?
This varies on a case-by-case basis and commonly depends on the condition being treated. Typically, 1-2 times per week for 4-6 weeks is most common. Thereafter, depending on the individual’s progress, a maintenance plan of 1 treatment every 2-6 weeks may be indicated in order to prevent recurrence.
In the case of a severe and progressive condition with acute exacerbations, treatments may be administered every few days or even twice daily for best results. This will be determined by your practitioner with assessment.
Treatment can be monitored by organizing spirometry tests before the first treatment and then periodically throughout treatment to compare objective results to determine effect.
What is the cost of the therapy?
The cost of each session will vary depending upon the dosage of glutathione required for an effective treatment plan. This may range between $50-$100 per treatment. You will require a mask which you can bring to each appointment as well which would be a one time cost of $5.00.
Are there any side-effects?
Minor side effects uch as transient coughing and an unpleasant odor are common with this treatment
Are there any risks?
An allergic reaction is possible if you are sensitive to sulfites. We will try to minimize this risk by recommending a sulfite urine test to be completed prior to initiating treatment.
How do I access this therapy?
This is only available to patients of Lemon Water Wellness who are currently under the care of one of our naturopathic doctors.
For more information, please feel free to reach out via the contact page.