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Glutathione for a Healthier Pregnancy

Copyright 2004 Priya F. Shah



All parents-to-be nurture the dream of a healthy pregnancy and baby.

But the modern environment and diet is deficient in many factors essential for the health of mother and fetus. One of those factors is antioxidants.

The role of antioxidants like folic acid in preventing birth defects like spina bifida and cleft palate is well known. It is now included in all prenatal vitamin supplements.

But the role of antioxidants like glutathione and Vitamin E in pregnancy is often overlooked.

Glutathione is the body's master antioxidant. It helps to regenerate stores of other antioxidants like Vitamin C and E.

It also protects both mother and fetus from the damaging effects of free radicals and oxidative stress.

Many pregnancy complications and birth defects have been linked oxidative stress, free radical damage and low glutathione levels in the mother and fetus.

Environmental and lifestyle factors are known to cause oxidative stress and lower glutathione levels - resulting in birth defects, abortion and miscarriages in pregnancy.

Some of the known teratogens (causing birth defects) in pregnancy include:

o Radiation
o Pesticides and Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
o Air pollution
o Heavy metals (mercury, cadmium, arsenic)
o Vinyl chloride
o Acryonitrile
o Excess Oxygen (hyperoxia)
o Anti-psychotic and anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs)
o Thalidomide
o Cigarette smoke
o Alcohol (ethanol) consumption

Maternal health factors that increase free radicals and cause birth defects include:

o Diabetes
o Pre-Eclampsia
o Infection and Inflammation

Numerous studies have shown that glutathione (GSH), vitamin C, and E are crucial in the development and growth of the fetus, maintenance of a healthy pregnancy - and, even before pregnancy, in fertility and conception.

Glutathione and other antioxidants attenuate oxidative stress in pregnant women with inflammation or maternal conditions like diabetes and pre-eclampsia, and in fetuses at risk for developing cystic fibrosis.

Supplementation with glutathione precursors and antioxidants can decrease the incidence of birth defects and protect both mothers and the fetus from the damaging and possibly fatal consequences of pregnancy complications.

Glutathione (GSH ) also prevents or minimizes the oxidative stress that occurs during labor and the birth process.

Perinatal or birth asphyxia/hypoxia (deprivation of oxygen supply to the brain) in preterm deliveries and labor can lead to cerebral palsy, respiratory distress syndrome, irreversible brain injury, and permanent neurological and intellectual handicaps.

Administration of the glutathione precursor, N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC), to the pregnant mother partially prevents oxidative stress during the birth process in premature infants.

Currently, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology advises all pregnant women to take a prenatal vitamin containing antioxidants.

In addition, they advise eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, the best sources of antioxidant protection.

For a detailed report with references on the role of glutathione in pregnancy, visit:


Priya Shah is the Editor of "Health eBiz," an
ezine for Health & Wellness Entrepreneurs.
Subscribe here: http://www.health-ebiz.com
Get a Free Report on Glutathione and Health
at http://www.1whey2health.com

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