A Natural Boost: Sucrets® DEFENSE Reduces Vulnerability to Viruses

Glutathione, a key anti-oxidant found in every living organism, is provided by many foods–primarily fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish. Professor of Medicine Dean Jones, PhD one of the foremost glutathione experts in the world, has developed a type of glutathione that, when taken orally, he says, could prove a better preventive strategy against influenza than flu vaccines.

"It is logical that the first line of defense against viral infections such as influenza is the oral cavity and airways. The epithelial cells that line them create surface barriers to infection," Jones says. "This single cell layer protects you from all kinds of exposures, especially if a person is more vulnerable to infection because of smoking or air pollution."

Dean Jones, PhD

Jones' lab established that glutathione is readily absorbed by the cells lining the mouth, throat, and trachea, and significantly inhibits the growth of viral particles within them. "Glutathione promotes the health of the entire airway," Jones says. "It may be very useful for those most at risk of contracting influenza—children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems."

Jones developed an animal model infected with influenza and examined the ability of orally administered glutathione to protect against flu viruses. "We found that in active flu infection, glutathione lessened the viral load in both the lung and trachea," he says. "We also found that certain cells transport glutathione more effectively than others. We established that dietary glutathione could be absorbed, and we also came up with a synthetic glutathione formulation."

A form of glutathione developed by Jones could be put into lozenges or other medications. In fact, the product made it to market in 2006 as Sucrets® DEFENSE, a lozenge to help prevent infection. Jones holds the original patent for the glutathione formulation used in Sucrets® DEFENSE, which was developed by Insight Pharmaceuticals after it sub-licensed the patent.

Sucrets Defense

While Sucrets® DEFENSE is no longer available, it proves the commercial value of glutathione, says Jones, one of nature's most powerful immune boosters. "It's all based on good science," Jones says. A Japanese pharmaceutical company, Kyowo Hakko USA Inc., funded Jones' studies during the 1990s that found glutathione to be protective against influenza. About ten years ago, the company produced it and was seeking markets. GT Plus pharmaceuticals in Great Britain sub-licensed the patent from the Japanese company and studied its effects in human cells receiving well-defined doses of flu virus. Insight Pharmaceuticals, which markets Sucrets®, sublicensed it as well.

The potential is great for further development of glutathione products into FDA-approved drugs, says Jones. "Hopefully an American pharmaceutical company will take it up to conduct human clinical trials," he says, "and glutathione will finally get the respect it deserves."

Additional Emory Publications on Sucrets® DEFENSE

Emory Health Sciences: The First Line of Defense

Emory Report: Jones Discovers New Weapon Against Flu