A study in people experiencing a first episode of psychosis has shown that higher levels of the antioxidant glutathione are associated with faster responses to treatment for the condition, reports medicalnewstoday.com.
The time it takes someone to respond to psychosis treatment is a key indicator of their long-term outcome. Psychosis can be a symptom of a number of mental disorders, including schizophrenia, schizoaffective, bipolar and major depressive disorders.
In about a third of people with schizophrenia, the condition is considered resistant to treatment. This is associated with more severe symptoms and more time spent in the hospital.
The medical community still cannot fully understand why some people respond to antipsychotic treatments within weeks, while others take months. A new study, published in Molecular Psychiatry, aims to understand this discrepancy.
The glutathione-glutamate balance
The study examined the antioxidant glutathione. Scientists believe that glutathione protects neurons from free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules that damage cells.
Glutathione is the most abundant antioxidant found in brain cells. Some studies have found a lack of glutathione in people who experience psychosis.
Glutathione is also important in relation to glutamate levels. If there are high levels, it can be toxic to neurons. Excess glutamate has also been linked to reduced response in the treatment of psychosis.
Scientists' findings show that higher levels of glutathione, which help regulate glutamate levels, may help people with schizophrenia or other conditions that cause psychosis respond more quickly to treatment and has better overall results than it.