How to boost glutathione naturally
Posted on October 24 2020
By Dr Carl Albrecht, Head: Research, CANSA, August 2009
CANSA has invested more than R1 million to support research on Rooibos extract as a possible, natural cancer-preventive product. Most of the work has been done at the PROMEC Unit of the Medical Research Council in Cape Town under the leadership of Prof Wentzel Gelderblom. The South African Rooibos Council also contributed research funding.
During this time, Professor Gelderblom and his research partners published their research results in several peer-reviewed journals. These articles provide details on their findings that Rooibos extracts are able to prevent many aspects of carcinogenesis (the process of cancer formation).
A very significant discovery was that rats who drank Rooibos tea, as their only source of liquid, for ten weeks, had a five-fold elevation of the ratio of reduced glutathione to oxidised glutathione. Black tea and green tea were found to be less effective and did not even double the ratio.
Glutathione is the master anti-oxidant in the body. It is made by the body, especially the liver, and cannot be taken as a supplement because it is broken down in the gut. It decreases with aging and smoking. Glutathione has been found in many studies to counteract heart diseases, cancers and aging.
Consequently, it is reasoned that if Rooibos tea can elevate the reduced glutathione to oxidised glutathione ratio (GSH/GSSG), this remarkable effect could help to reduce the risk of cancer (and other lifestyle diseases).
In another recent study by Professor Jeanine Marnewick of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, also found that Rooibos tea taken as six cups a day for three months, by healthy volunteers, elevated blood glutathione by 100%. Similar results were found by Nikolova and colleagues.
CANSA is excited about these results and believes that they point to growing convergence of evidence that Rooibos tea could play an important role in reducing the risk of cancer in South Africa.
What is also pleasing, is that Rooibos tea is natural and safe to use. It is also the most successful indigenous plant product to be commercialised and is exported all over the world.
CANSA and the South African Rooibos Council are currently planning joint research into clinical Rooibos tea effects in human cohort groups in the future. Questions that need answering include; How many cups of tea per day are needed for optimal reduced-glutathione-ratio enhancement? Can Rooibos tea enhance the reduced-glutathione-ratio in smokers and the elderly? Is there a correlation between drinking Rooibos tea every day and various aspects of health?