The body’s mechanism for dealing with oxidative stress becomes less efficient as we get older. This decline in function is associated with the impairment of the first enzyme (glutamate cysteine ligase or GCL). This is a highly regulated enzyme that is feedback inhibited by glutathione. Its level of expression is also controlled on several levels. As is to be expected, the more complex the system, the higher risk and likelihood of developing errors.
A dysfunctional GCL will result in insufficient Glyteine being produced for the glutathione synthase enzyme to convert into glutathione. The resulting suboptimal homeostasis of glutathione results in a decreased capacity to minimize oxidative stress, which is associated with poor outcomes during aging, inflammation and in numerous medical conditions.