Review published in the Journal of Nutrition summarizes age-associated declines related to decreased glutathione production and how GlyNAC supplementation may be a practical approach to addressing them
Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 9:05 AM EDT|Updated: 2 hours ago
BRIDGEWATER, N.J., Oct. 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The Journal of Nutrition, the flagship journal of the American Society for Nutrition, published a new review on GlyNAC (combination of Glycine and N-Acetylcysteine) supplementation as a novel nutritional approach to improving declines associated with aging. The review analyzed published research on the effects of GlyNAC supplementation on various components of aging, including mitochondrial function and oxidative stress, and concluded that emerging evidence supports that GlyNAC could play a role in the overall health of humans as they age and that it warrants additional investigation.
Aging is associated with increases in free radicals which result in increasing oxidative stress and potentially cellular damage. Aging is also associated with dysfunction in the mitochondria – cellular components responsible for generating life-sustaining energy. As the population of older adults across the globe grows rapidly, the conversation around “healthspan” (versus “lifespan”) has become a focal point. Finding tangible solutions to help support healthy aging is an important priority.
According to the publication, authored by Dr. Rajagopal V. Sekhar, MD, associate professor of medicine in the Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Baylor College of Medicine, existing research from pilot, open-label human trials and pre-clinical studies indicates that GlyNAC supplementation could play a key role in supporting healthy aging by helping to promote glutathione production. The paper also reviews the effects of GlyNAC on markers of cellular and metabolic health, physical function, and body composition, and highlights the need for future randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trials to conclusively validate the findings. Evidence to date suggests that addressing cellular health concerns with nutritional interventions may help to promote healthy aging and could revolutionize how we counteract common declines associated with aging.
Notably, evidence from studies in older adults found that GlyNAC supplementation can help to increase intracellular glycine and cysteine, restore glutathione synthesis, and decrease oxidative stress and oxidant damage. Additionally, emerging evidence from human studies shows that GlyNAC influences five of the nine hallmarks of aging – which are defects believed to contribute to multiple age-associated abnormalities – including mitochondrial dysfunction, altered intercellular communication, dysregulated nutrient sensing, genomic toxicity, and cellular senescence. These findings are particularly exciting as they show the promise across a broad spectrum of aging effects.
The Role of Glutathione in Cellular Health
Everyday factors that contribute to accelerated aging, such as a sedentary lifestyle or poor diet, also increase oxidative stress, as do natural cellular processes like energy metabolism. A key component to manage this oxidative stress is glutathione, one of the most powerful antioxidants naturally present within cells. It helps fight oxidative stress, is important for mitochondrial health, and supports normal immune function.
Glutathione is comprised of three amino acids – glycine, cysteine and glutamic acid. Research has shown that aging cells often have lower amounts of two of these amino acids, glycine and cysteine, which can limit the body’s ability to meet cellular demands for glutathione. Replenishing these precursor amino acids or “building blocks” of glutathione with GlyNAC can support glutathione production to help manage oxidative stress and maintain cellular health.1,2
Why GlyNAC Works
Dr. Sekhar’s article asserts that GlyNAC’s effectiveness can be attributed to the “power of 3” – the combined contributions of glycine, cysteine and glutathione which are crucial to promoting and maintaining good health as humans age. Each of these components contributes to healthy cellular function. The combination of glycine and cysteine (provided as GlyNAC) together with glutathione (boosted by GlyNAC) is the most likely explanation for the many benefits observed in the studies utilizing GlyNAC supplementation. Additionally, this approach of supplementing the precursor amino acids allows the cells to autoregulate their own glutathione synthesis based on cellular need, making it unique to other antioxidant solutions.
GlyNAC Supplementation Long-Term Effects, Tolerability and Safety
More research is needed to verify the long-term effects of GlyNAC supplementation in older adults. According to the review article, a recently published clinical trial showed that GlyNAC supplementation improved multiple age-associated defects after 12 weeks in older adults in the age range of 70-80 years, but the full impact of improvements was only seen after 24 weeks of supplementation. Yet these improvements were found to reverse after stopping supplementation for 12 weeks, suggesting that continued GlyNAC supplementation may be necessary to maintain its benefits.
In the human studies assessed by Dr. Sekhar, GlyNAC supplementation was shown to be well-tolerated and there were no participant withdrawals or adverse effects. Human and pre-clinical studies indicated that GlyNAC does not induce hepatotoxicity or renal impairment. Data available on GlyNAC supplementation ranging from 2-24 weeks show that it is considered a well-tolerated, physiological approach to promoting healthy glutathione levels and supporting many cellular facets of aging.
Nutritional Solutions for Cellular Health
Recent advances in scientific discovery have uncovered the important role cellular health plays in why and how we age. Led by these research breakthroughs in cellular nutrition, Nestlé Health Science has introduced Celltrient™ Cellular Nutrition, a specialized range of nutritional solutions designed to support cellular health. Celltrient Cellular Protect features GlyNAC to help defend cells from oxidative stress.
“The recent review published in the Journal of Nutrition on GlyNAC’s utility as a nutritional supplement further supports that with the right nutrition, we can affect how cells age,” said Rick Jentis, Global Category Head, Healthy Aging and Cellular Nutrition at Nestlé Health Science. “We’re pleased to be at the forefront of advances in cellular health nutrients and we remain committed to following the science in this space as we increase our understanding of how best to support people with healthy aging solutions.”
For more information on Celltrient™ Cellular Nutrition, visit www.celltrient.com.
Source: Rajagopal V Sekhar, GlyNAC Supplementation Improves Glutathione Deficiency, Oxidative Stress, Mitochondrial Dysfunction, Inflammation, Aging Hallmarks, Metabolic Defects, Muscle Strength, Cognitive Decline, and Body Composition: Implications for Healthy Aging, The Journal of Nutrition, 2021; nxab309, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxab309
About Nestlé Health Science (NHSc)
Nestlé Health Science is a leader in the science of nutrition and a globally managed business unit of Nestlé. We believe in empowering healthier lives through nutrition and are committed to redefining the management of health, offering an extensive portfolio of science-based active lifestyle nutrition, medical nutrition and pharmaceutical solutions. Our extensive research network, both within Nestlé’s R&D centers as well as with external partners, provides the foundation for products that can help people to live their healthiest lives. Headquartered in Switzerland, we have more than 11,000 employees around the world, with products available in more than 140 countries. www.nestlehealthscience.us
1Sekhar RV et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;94(3):847-853.
2Kumar P et al. Clin Transl Med. 2021;11(3)e372.
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