Question for Rich Van K on Glutathione and methylation

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by herbqueen, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. herbqueen

    herbqueen New Member

    Hi Rich-

    My naturopath/NP suspects I am very toxic and have methylation issues based on my history and sensitivities and wants to treat toxicity before treating for chronic lyme disease (my history is FMS 1998, optic neuritis 2006, neuro degen symptoms since 2006 (negative for autoimmune and MS), positive for lyme (IGENX bands 41,31). I had growing sensitivies/chemical sensitivity developing before onset of "FMS."

    I had my glutathione levels tested by Great Plains Labs. They tested in the normal range at 913.00. This was the Copper Zinc Profile plus Glutathione test.

    Does this indicate my glutathione levels are good? Can you have good glutathione levels but still have methylation issues?
  2. richvank

    richvank New Member

    Hi, herbqueen.

    Correct me if this is not true, but I believe the Great Plains glutathione test measures the whole blood glutathione concentration.

    A whole blood glutathione test is essentially equivalent to a red blood cell glutathione test, because the concentration of glutathione in red blood cells is almost three orders of magnitude higher than the concentration in the plasma.

    The red blood cells are normally net producers and exporters of glutathione. Consequently, when the body as a whole starts to become depleted in glutathione, the red blood cells are able to maintain their levels of glutathione longer than are tissue cells, such as muscle cells and nerve cells.

    The result is that normal red blood cell glutathione measurements do not necessarily mean that the tissue cells have enough glutathione. On the other hand, if the red blood cells are low in glutathione, it's an indication that the body's glutathione status as a whole is pretty low.

    I favor measurement of plasma glutathione, as is done in the Vitamin Diagnostics methylation pathways panel. I believe that the plasma glutathione level is more reflective of what's going on in the tissue cells.

    Getting to your question, yes, I have seen some cases in which there was a partial methylation cycle block even though even the plasma glutathione level was in the normal range. In these cases, I suspect that there is one or more genetic issues in the enzymes that make use of glutathione to counter oxidative stress, i.e. the glutathione peroxidases. If these enzymes are not able to use glutathione at normal rates, the glutathione levels may be normal, but there is still a functional deficiency in glutathione.

    Some people get the Spectracell test, which is a functional lymphocyte test. In most cases, people who come out low on glutathione on this test also come out with low total antioxidant activity. However, some have normal glutathione on this test, but low total antioxidant activity. I suspect that these people have a genetic issue in the glutathione peroxidase enzymes, and are thus not able to use glutathione effectively to control oxidative stress.

    I wish you the best in your treatment.

  3. herbqueen

    herbqueen New Member

    I'll have to check with great plains lab-I'm sure you are probably correct on whole blood concentration. Thank you for explaining this.