Can Lactobacillus fermentum, a “good” bacteria, address glutathione deficiency?
04/08/2019 // Edsel Cook // Views

A shortage in glutathione is bad news for the many protective processes of the body that rely on this antioxidant. However, it is possible to replenish the levels of glutathione by taking the Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3 strain (ME-3) as a probiotic supplement.

ME-3 is a type of good bacteria that can produce glutathione. This antioxidant is involved in the detoxification of cells, the proper functioning of bodily systems that require a lot of metabolic activity, and the aging process.

A deficiency in glutathione has been linked to faster aging. It also increases the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, and other ailments. It is also associated with the steady decline of mitochondrial function due to the degradation of mitochondrial DNA (mDNA).

In addition to synthesizing this vital antioxidant, ME-3 can also restore oxidized glutathione to its active state. It can also produce and recycle another important antioxidant – manganese superoxide dismutase. Its recycling abilities also apply to lipoic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, and other oxidation-preventing compounds. (Related: Glutathione could become a major player in the battle against obesity and chronic disease.)

Other health benefits of taking ME-3 as a probiotic supplement

Me-3 also reduces the risk of heart disease. A 2011 study by Tartu University researchers said that participants who supplemented with the probiotic bacteria displayed lower levels of oxidized bad cholesterol and triglycerides.


At the same time, the concentrations of good cholesterol and paraoxonase enzymes also increased. Paraoxonases perform double duties as antioxidants and detoxifiers for chemical pesticides called organophosphates.

Organophosphates are widely used as insecticides and pesticides. They are also used in plasticizers, antifoaming agents, hydraulic fluids, and flame retardants. Most humans have been exposed to these chemicals at one point or another. Heavy exposure is believed to affect the mental development of children.

Paraoxonase enzymes can break down these organophosphates into harmless substances. ME-3 encourages the production of one such detoxifying paraoxonase, PON1.

The Lactobacillus strain also supports the health of the gut microbiome. It produces metabolites that ensure a healthy balance of gut bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.

ME-3 helps manage the levels of inflammatory molecules. Furthermore, it decreases the production of glycated hemoglobin, which is linked to inflammation, and increases the release of inflammation-fighting adiponectin.

The probiotic bacteria can withstand the acidic conditions of the stomach and the small intestine. This toughness makes it well-suited for living in the highly acidic environs of the gut.

The importance of glutathione and how ME-3 ensures we have enough of it

A deficiency in glutathione is linked to higher chances of chronic degenerative diseases. Conversely, higher levels of this antioxidant are connected with good health and longer lifespans.

Many studies provide evidence in support of a Glutathione Deficiency Hypothesis. The theory suggests that a lack of glutathione is one of the main biochemical mechanisms that cause aging.

Glutathione levels can therefore be used as an accurate and reliable way of evaluating aging. Furthermore, glutathione deficiency can be reversed by increasing the amount of the antioxidant in the body, which can slow down the aging process and increase the lifespan of a person.

Various tests have shown that L. fermentum ME-3 can improve the amounts of glutathione and other antioxidants in the body. The probiotic bacteria can increase the ratio of active glutathione to its inactive version by nearly half.

When combined with its other benefits, such as reducing concentrations of oxidized bad cholesterol by 16 percent and harmful free radicals by 20 percent, ME-3 could be a good way to increase glutathione levels. Supplementing with the antioxidant-producing good bacteria could be the key to living longer and healthier lives.

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