COLUMBUS, OHIO. Two of the world's foremost antioxidant researchers, Dr. Lester Packer of the University of Kuopio in Finland and Dr. Chandan K. Sen of the Ohio State University Medical Center, have just released a major, ground-breaking study concerning the importance of thiols (organic sulfur derivatives also known as mercaptans) in human health.
Thiols have numerous roles in biological systems including a central role in coordinating antioxidant defenses. The most important antioxidant in the human body is glutathione. The requirement for glutathione increases markedly during physical exercise which in itself produces significant oxidative stress. Drs. Packer and Sen point out that oral supplementation with glutathione as such is inefficient and that the best way of ensuring an adequate store is by supplying the body with sufficient amounts of selenium, riboflavin, and amino acids. Two thiols, n-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC) and alpha-lipoic acid, have both been found highly effective in enhancing the regeneration and activity of glutathione especially during oxidative stress induced by exercise.
Research has also shown that HIV patients generally have abnormally low levels
of thiols indicating that HIV infection and oxidative stress are related.
Intravenous infusions of NAC have been found to decrease muscle fatigue during
strenuous, repetitive exercise. The researchers conclude that NAC and
especially alpha-lipoic acid hold great promise as supplements for supporting
and enhancing the activity of glutathione. [156 references]