Allergies and Antioxidant Protection in Lungs
© 2003 Priya Shah
risk of developing respiratory allergies from exposure to diesel emissions
depends largely on genetics, according to a study funded by the National
Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National
Institutes of Health (NIH).
from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California
and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA have found that genetic
characteristics seen in about half the population leave allergy-sufferers
particularly susceptible to the effects of diesel particles.
Here are the relevant
findings from the study:
with a certain genetic makeup are more susceptible to allergies caused
by diesel engine exhaust.
can detoxify these particles and temper the body's allergic inflammatory
response. The better the body can use antioxidants to defend itself,
the better it may protect itself from airborne pollutants.
► The enzymes
glutathione S-transferase M1, or GSTM1, and glutathione S-transferase
P1, or GSTP1 - that metabolize reactive oxygen species and detoxify
chemicals present in diesel exhaust - were studied for their role
in protecting the lungs.
occurs in two common forms in the population-either "present"
or "null." People born with two of the null form of the
gene cannot produce the GSTM1 protective enzyme at all.
► The GSTP1
gene can occur with a common variation called ile105. People born
with two of the ile105 form of the gene produce a less-effective form
of the GSTP1 enzyme.
who lack the GSTM1 enzyme exhibit a larger allergic response than
others. Also, those who lack GSTM1 and have at least one GSTP1 ile105
genetic variant show an even larger allergic response to diesel exhaust
► The findings
suggest that people who lack the genes to make key antioxidants may
have difficulty fighting the harmful effects of air pollution.
► Up to
50 percent of the United States population could be in jeopardy of
experiencing health problems related to air pollution because of these
this genetic deficiency could possibly be accomplished by either giving
people drugs that replace the role of the genes or by boosting the
body's natural defenses.
may prevent the effects that air pollution have on allergic inflammation.
The study and many
others listed here show how glutathione (GSH) is one of the
most important antioxidants in the lungs.
suggest that boosting levels of antioxidants like glutathione, may prevent
the effects that air pollution have on allergic inflammation.
The best way to
increase and maintain one's glutathione (GSH) levels is to include animal
foods in your diet, as these contain the amino acids needed by the body
to synthesize GSH.
food supplement is un-denatured
(non-heated) whey protein that can optimize intracellular
Article from the Lancet:
of glutathione-S- transferase M1 and P1 genotypes on xenobiotic
enhancement of allergic responses: randomised, placebo-controlled
F Gilliland et al. [The Lancet; 363 (9403): 119-25 (2004)]
quoting the study:
and Environmental Factors Trigger Allergy
Fri 9, January, 2004
pollution may significantly worsen respiratory allergies in individuals
with genetic risk
identify genes that regulate allergic response to diesel fumes
research publications on glutathione
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