I get the question often, “Are you getting the COVID-19 vaccination?” My answer is very affirmative, “Heck yes!” The benefits greatly outweigh the risks, especially the long-term effects for many people, including myself. Even though I had COVID in the fall, with all the uncertainty around the new variants and the possibility to get COVID more than once, vaccination is a good decision. That said, there are some things we can do to prepare ourselves not only for the virus but also for the vaccination.
A recent paper hypothesizes a deficiency in glutathione as a major predictor of poor outcomes and disease severity in COVID-19. In that paper, it cites another paper that states glutathione helps relieve the shortness of breath associated with COVID. This makes sense if you think about the immune response related to COVID and the destructive substances released throughout this immune response. Glutathione is a great antioxidant/detox agent in the body. If glutathione is low, we will have prolonged symptoms of COVID because we have no way to clean up the mess. What does this have to do with vaccinations?
Vaccinations also stimulate our immune system to recognize COVID and mount a response the next time the body recognizes it. For our immune system to work, it has to create inflammation. Our response to that inflammation should be appropriate, which is to build immunity without going overboard. If we are low on glutathione, even a vaccine can make us sore and tired because our immune system is overreacting.
We need to prepare for the vaccine, and luckily there are some great, inexpensive approaches to this.
First, we could just go directly to replacing glutathione with supplements, but there are caveats here.
- Glutathione, unless liposomal, is not absorbed well in the GI tract.
- Suppose you are deficient in the amino acid cysteine, a major building block of glutathione. In that case, you will use your glutathione to combat that deficiency and not as an antioxidant, so you will miss glutathione benefits. So, glutathione should always be administered with cysteine.
Liposomal Glutathione is a great solution, although costly. It works and is always great to have on the shelf if you are exposed to COVID or get COVID. There is a less expensive solution: The precursor amino acids, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), and Glycine.
NAC plus Glycine is a powder that gives us the precursors to glutathione and has been shown in combination to be more effective than either alone. It also increases glutathione levels in red blood cells by 53%! That’s a lot of bang for your buck right here and much less costly.
Glutathione is essential, not only for infections but also for inflammation in general. I will be keeping my levels up with NAC plus Glycine with Liposomal Glutathione on my shelf for when the going gets tough. I will be sure I am ready for my vaccination by taking these products one week before and in the two weeks between my vaccinations, so I have the best possible response.