The Relationships of Glutamine, Glutamate, and Glutathione Diet for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

B0007691 Amino acid: Cysteine

B0007691 Amino acid: Cysteine (Photo credit: wellcome images)

There is a lot of talk in the Autism community about Supplementing Glutethione.  This article does a great job presenting some of reasons not to.

We should also remember that an estimated 30%-50% of mercury toxic people are high cysteine and therfore supplementing with NAC is a no go for them.

NAC is a sulfur compound as such it is a monothiol meaning it has only 1/2 a claw so to speak.  When cysteine is in abundance it will “ping” mercury all over the place without actually removing it from the body.

While chelating we should aim at keeping supplemental NAC below 200 mg daily and increase sulfur foods for low cysteine kids.

For high cysteine kids we should avoid NAC and restrict sulfur foods.  To increase glutethione we can give glutamate and glycine in a 2:1 ratio.

Of course the best thing we can do to increase glutethione is to give vitamin C at least 4 times throughout the day as it will regenerate glutethione.

The Relationships of Glutamine, Glutamate, and Glutathione Diet for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

Glutathione is made from the amino acids L-cysteine + L-glutamate + glycine. The glutathione the body needs is manufactured in the liver. Much ado is made about supplementing glutathione to counteract the oxidative reactions in the brain occurring in ALS, MS and more. But there are problems with supplementation of glutathione or its precursors. Consider these factors:

When the body has excess nitric oxide it converts to peroxynitrite and this reacts with glutathione to make s-nitrosglutathione (a molecule involved in inflammation and vasodilatation).

Since glutathione is poorly absorbed from the intestines into the blood (and this may be worse in people who have physiological problems, preventing it from doing so), taking the precursors glutamine or N-acetylcysteine in an attempt to manufacture glutathione can backfire. In fact, people working with autistic children have found that the children do not do well on supplemental NAC or glutamine. Migraneurs (known nitric oxide excess leading to excessive vasodilatation and inflammation) will find that intravenous glutathione will cause a migraine of the worst sort (see #1).

2 thoughts on “The Relationships of Glutamine, Glutamate, and Glutathione Diet for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

  1. Thank you for the informative post. What if I have very high glutamate levels though plus high mercury plus low glutathione? Should I then just take glycine instead of glutamate and glycine?

    • Having high mercury doesn’t automatically mean you have high cysteine. While it is most common to see high levels there are a percentage who actually have low cysteine. For them a little extra NAC (not more than 200 mg) is really beneficial. Doing a low thiol diet trial of 7-10 days ( to determine this status is necessary to figure out whether or not NAC could be a helpful supplement. If you are high cysteine and high gultamine then taking glycine only could help the body increase production of glutethion. Keep in mind though that most of the time glutethione is low in metal toxic people because they are using it as fast as they can make it and not because their body is deficient in it. AC protocol to detox heavy metals includes several nutrients that help regenerate glutethione like ALA and Vitamin C so often it isn’t something you actually have to do anything about.

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