DNA Mutation, DNA Damage, Glutathione, And Your Health!
What is DNA mutation, DNA damage, and how does this relate to glutathione and my health?
First, let's start with the definition of DNA. DNA, or Deoxyribonucleic Acid, is the genetic material contained in "X" shaped structures in each of our cells called chromosomes. Each of our cells contains molecules of DNA.
Each of these molecules are made up of smaller building blocks called nucleotides. These are cytosine, guanine, adenine, and thymine, and are sometimes denoted as C, G, A, and T.
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These nucleotides are linked into long strands, into a twisted double helix design. Just as letters make up a word, these 4 nucleotides combine in specific combinations to make amino acids.
Amino acids are the components of all living things, and the essential amino acids cysteine, glycine, and glutamate all combine to make a protective protein involved in DNA repair called glutathione.
This is not intended to be an exhaustive definition of DNA, but the focus of this page will be about DNA mutation, and how a protein called glutathione relates to protecting the DNA in each and every one of your cells. For a general overview of glutathione, click
So, Now We Can Answer The Question: What is DNA Mutation?
DNA mutation is defined as a change to the nucleotides in human DNA that can result from many factors. This mutation may be caused by mistakes during the phase of cell division.
It is thought that mutated DNA leads to malignancies, which in turn may be one of the main causes of
Other common causes of DNA mutation are external sources, such as exposure to ultraviolet radiation, other environmental
or viruses. This type of mutation may also come about through
within the cell. We will discuss a little more about oxidative stress later in the page.
These mutations are generally classified as harmful, and so to protect our health, we are interesting in learning how to protect ourselves from all types of DNA mutation. This is essential for our health.
There is one important note, though. DNA mutation and DNA damage are two different things. DNA damage refers to physical abnormalities in the DNA, and they can be repaired by enzymes. It is thought that
is a result of cumulative DNA damage.
Mutation of DNA, on the other hand, is a change in the base sequence of the DNA, and it has been long understood that this condition is not reversible. However, there is evidence that this is not always the case.
It is important to note that glutathione and it's related enzymes can repair DNA damage before it becomes a mutation, and there is also growing evidence that mutations can be repaired by glutathione as well.
One reason this is so important is that our cells are always dividing and multiplying. DNA replication is what happens when cells divide and multiply. If you have one cell with DNA mutation, and that cell divides, and then that cell divides, you could start out with one mutated cell and end up with several thousand or more cells affected by this dangerous mutation in a short amount of time.
Because of this process of mutation and replication, it is very important to prevent DNA mutation by repairing it when it is still in the damaged phase.
There is an innate repair structure in the cell that involves enzymes that recognize and repair DNA damage. Since this occurs all day long in our DNA, this DNA repair becomes very important in protecting the body from disease.
The rate of DNA repair is dependent on many factors, including what type of cell it is, it's age, and it's antioxidant capabilities. The latter can be measured by the level of glutathione present in the cell.
To learn more about what an antioxidant is, click
It is well known that glutathione plays an important role in the synthesis and repair of DNA. New research coming out is showing the relationship between free radical damage and subsequent DNA code breakdown.
If we can reduce oxidative stress by raising glutathione, we can protect our genetic code contained in the DNA. When glutathione soaks up free radicals as they form in the cell, subsequent damage to the DNA and its nucleus is avoided.
And by thus repairing this damage before it becomes a mutation, we can do much to protect our health by raising our glutathione levels.
Are there any published studies validating this relationship? I am so glad you asked.........
Published Studies on Glutathione and DNA Repair
Remember earlier when we said that DNA damage can be caused by oxidative stress?
There is a government website called PubMed, which is sponsored by the National Institute of Health, that publishes all of the studies from around the world on a given topic.
There is a study
(this link opens in a new window) linking pesticide usage with oxidative stress and DNA damage in agricultural workers that may also increase our understanding of the link between oxidative stress and DNA damage.
But this is just one of many published studies. To get an idea of the scope of this information, we will take it one dramatic step further.
If we would like to find out if glutathione directly helps with DNA repair, click
(this link opens in a new window)
This will bring you to www.pubmed.gov, and you can type in "glutathione repair DNA", and it brings up over 1,000 studies showing the relationship glutathione has in DNA repair.
Thus, glutathione also plays a powerful role in DNA repair, which can prevent DNA mutation!
To further research the role of glutathione and mutation, perform a similar search, instead with the terms "glutathione repair DNA mutation" and you will find about 200 published studies!
Now you and I can't fully read and understand these studies, but we can see clearly that there is a relationship there, and that relationship is important for you to know in protecting your health.
In conclusion, What is DNA mutation? It is a very serious condition resulting from unrepaired DNA damage.
Much research has highlighted the role of the protective antioxidant glutathione in DNA repair, thus preventing mutation of DNA in the first place.
More research is now available showing that even if the damage becomes a mutation, glutathione may still play a powerful role in reversing this situation.
Elevated glutathione replenishes antioxidant defenses and contributes to synthesis and repair of DNA, which may protect us in other fields such as cancer and aging.
Dr. Jimmy Gutman is the world's most published author on the subject of glutathione. His current bestseller is entitled "Glutathione - Your Key To Health."
Would you like to repair your DNA damage by raising your glutathione? Click
to learn all the ways for raising glutathione.