GSTT1 encodes for the Glutathione S-transferase theta-1 enzyme and forms part of a group of enzymes producing glutathione, a potent antioxidant. GSTT1 is found in lymphocytes and the liver and is involved in the detoxification process of a variety of environmental toxins and chemicals. Sports people, in general, require a higher glutathione production due to their increased oxygen demand. Having the GSTT1 gene absent is associated with impaired glutathione production and can compromise sporting performance.
The functions of the GSTT1 gene include air pollution detoxification and heavy metal detoxification.
A deletion in this gene is considered the risk genotype and is associated with a complete lack of GSTT1 activity. Adding in bioavailable glutathione (not just the amino acid precursors, namely cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine) is important for upregulating this pathway.