Glutathione is a really small molecule that can be found in almost every cell. The thing about this molecule is that it cannot enter most cells directly so it must be made inside the cell from three amino acids. They are glycine, glutamate, and cysteine.
The speed that glutathione is made depends mainly on the how much cysteine is available. The molecule cysteine has a sulfur-containing portion which gives the whole glutathione molecule it ability to carry out the following functions which are very important. The first is that the glutathione molecule, being the major antioxidant produced by the cell, protects it from the free radicals. These substances are super reactive and left untouched will damage or destroy cell components very quickly. Oxyradicals are generated in mitochondria that are located in every cell. This is where the nutrients like glucose for example are burnt using oxygen to make energy. Mitochondria can be seen as the battery that powers the cell so that it can function properly. These radicals can also come from pollutants like UV radiation and other various sources. Glutathione recycles are vitamin c and vitamin e, and these help keep the cell in a healthy state.
The second function is that the glutathione is the detoxifying agent that allows the body to get rid of undesirable toxins and pollutants. It forms a compound that is soluble with a toxin that can be excreted through the urine. The liver and kidneys contain high levels of glutathione because they have the greatest exposure to toxins. Lungs are also rich with glutathione for the same reasons as the liver and kidneys.
The third function is that glutathione is the one that is maintaining the normal balance between oxidation and anti-oxidation. In turn this regulates many of the cells vital functions like the synthesis and repairing of DNA along with the synthesis of proteins and the activation and regulation of enzymes.
Lastly, glutathione is required to carry out an immune response. The reason for this is because it is needed for the lymphocytes to multiply in order to develop a strong immune system. Lymphocytes are called killer cells because they kill all of the undesirable cells like cancer cells or virally infected ones. There is no way to overstate the importance of glutathione; even in older people it is seen as a way to better health and a well-functioning body.