Glutathione: Why you need to know about this powerful detoxifier

Nutrition

By pH health care professionals

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a “soldier” in your body who fights almost anything that could make you sick and age faster? Yes, the body has many ways of repairing itself, including abilities to bind and neutralize chemical free radicals and toxins, increase immune defenses, fight cancer and even combat aging skin. Most aging occurs when the human body is unable to deal with incoming environmental and other unhealthy stresses. Having little buddies inside you to elbow those nasty toxins and radicals can help!

One of the most powerful substances to do that is an antioxidant called glutathione.

What does glutathione do?

Glutathione:

  • Helps prevent damage to cells by neutralizing harmful molecules generated during energy production.
  • Plays a role in processing medications and makes them more digestible.
  • Binds and inactivates cancer-causing compounds (carcinogens) in a process called cancer apoptosis.
  • Is involved in building DNA, proteins and other important cellular components.
  • Is protective against environmental toxins.
  • Plays a critical role in protecting brain cells from oxidative stress.
  • Helps the liver detoxify fat before bile is emitted, which takes stress off of the gallbladder.
  • Reduces peroxides (natural bleaching agents that are harmful to the body).
  • Helps detoxify methylglyoxal, a toxin produced as a by-product of metabolism.
  • Plays a crucial role in immune function. It promotes T-cell function, which is critical for a strong immune system.
  • And more!

What can you do to improve your levels?

Glutathione is predominantly produced by the liver. It does need certain amino acids (such as cysteine) and vitamins and minerals. Oral ingestion of glutathione is not very effective because it is quickly digested and broken up; thus, only a fraction reaches the liver and bloodstream. Intravenous glutathione (via an IV) may be effective at 200 mg.

However, there are several other ways how to improve your glutathione levels:

  • Eat natural sulfur-containing foods such as garlic, onions and the cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage and cauliflower).
  • Whey protein can raise cysteine levels, which is a key building block of glutathione.
  • Selenium, vitamin E and purple carrot extracts may improve antioxidant function by raising glutathione.
  • Exercise has been shown to decrease oxidative stress through increased antioxidant enzymes activity, such as glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase. Even low-intensity exercise can benefit antioxidant levels.
  • Alpha-lipoic acid is a close second to glutathione in importance in our cells and is involved in energy production, blood sugar control, brain health and detoxification.
  • Ginger oil was shown to be helpful in reversing radiation-induced intestinal damage by raising impaired antioxidant function again.
  • Eat methylation nutrients such as folate, vitamin B6 and B12 because methylation and recycling glutathione are important antioxidant functions. Click here to read about methylation.
  • Milk thistle supports liver function and can have positive effects on glutathione production.
  • Avoid junk food. Decreased glutathione production occurs with poor nutritional habits, like eating junk foods. These increase inflammation and cause oxidative damage and impaired glutathione production.

Enjoy the benefits glutathione can have on your long-term health, and check back soon for a follow-up that goes more in-depth on what oxidative stress is and how you can be proactive to reduce it.

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. To learn more about the pH Health Care Team, click here.

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