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Research on glutathione metabolism has largerly contributed to the advancement of varied disciplines of science over the past century. This ubiquitous wonder molecule distributed in plants animals and microbes has a plethora of functions essential for antioxidant defense, redox balance and cellular regulation to name a few. Dysregulation of glutathione homeostasis and metabolism results in a number of human diseases, including cancer, ageing related disorders, inflammatory, neurodegenerative, metabolic as well as liver diseases. Numerous therapeutic drugs have shown adverse health effects. Amidst the chaos a natural source of Glutathione may be regarded as a ray of hope towards successful management of glutathione related disorders. Seaweeds are rich in bioactive compounds which have important pharmaceutical and biomedical values. Seaweeds specifically grow in inter-tidal zones and deep sea coast lines and are thus exposed to constant variation in their habitat in terms of changing oxygen level due to tides, season, temperature, photoperiod and salinity. Thus they are better adapted to environmental stress which is one of the factors leading to oxidative stress and thus presumed to have better antioxidative defense. While humans have taken limited advantage of natural populations of seaweeds for centuries, it is in recent years that we have come to realize the potential of seaweeds. Seaweeds have the potential to produce a vast array of products ranging from foodstuffs, industrial chemicals to compounds with therapeutic and bioremediation activity virtually from a untapped source. They are also reported to have natural assemblages of glutathione. Thus, the demand of the day is to extract the naturally occurring glutathione and formulate it as a drug (keeping in view its low bioavailability and transient cellular transport) which would act as a promising cure for a variety of disorders.
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Author(s): Rautray P Samanta L
Glutathione, oxidative stress, seaweeds, phenols, flavonoids