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Glutathione May Help Build Muscle, Reduce Exercise-Related Fatigue

Two recent studies - one involving mice and one involving men - suggest that glutathione supplements may help increase mitochondrial levels in muscle and delay exercise-reduced fatigue.

For the mouse study, researchers divided the animals into four groups: two sedentary groups - one with glutathione supplementation and one without - and two groups that completed exercise programs, one with glutathione and one without.

The animals were tested for two weeks and at the conclusion of the study, the researchers found lower pH levels in the muscles of the glutathione groups when compared to the placebo. They also noted a 53% increase in mitochondrial DNA in the sedentary glutathione group and a 25% increase in levels of a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamme coactivator-1alpha, which plays a role in production of mitochondria in the skeletal muscle.

Participants in the human trial included eight healthy men who performed exercise tests after taking either one gram per day of glutathione or a placebo for two weeks. At the conclusion of the study, the glutathione group had suppression in lactate levels and significant lower measures of fatigue when compared with the placebo group.

Researchers from Kyoto Prefectural University and Kohjin Life Sciences conducted the study. It was published on February 6, 2015, in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Previous research has shown that glutathione neutralizes free radicals, enhances the immune system and detoxifies the liver. It also protects cells from bacteria, viruses and toxins.

Foods rich in glutathione include asparagus, spinach, avocado, squash, melons, grapefruit and peaches. It is also found in meat sources of protein, whole wheat, oatmeal, bran flakes, popcorn, and whey protein. While eating a balanced diet is the best way to increase your glutathione intake, this study shows that taking oral glutathione supplements is also a viable option.

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