This is NOT a hot new sexy topic but I talk about it everyday to every one of my patients; Optimize glutathione and optimize life. Having healthy levels of glutathione in the body can reduce the risk of chronic disease, promote healthy aging and keep us healthy and fit. You might say it is the master of all the antioxidants. Without it, our cells die. Low glutathione levels are typical in older sick individuals and optimal in healthy and young people.
Glutathione is an antioxidant made by all plants and animals. It is a combination of 3 amino acids- cysteine, glycine, and glutamine which contains sulfur that acts as a magnet for toxins and free radicals. Environmental pollutants, pain medications, medications, alcohol use, aging, infections, and illness are a few of the contributors to low glutathione stores. When the body becomes overburden with toxins and the glutathione reserves are not adequate enough to keep up we are susceptible to infections and cancer.
Among its many benefits to health Glutathione:
- Maximizes the role of other antioxidants vitamin E, C, Coenzyme Q10, and alpha lipoic acid for detoxification
- Helps the immune system fight infections and cancer
- Decrease muscle damage, reduce recovery time, increase strength and endurance and shift metabolism from fat production to muscle development
Increase Glutathione naturally by:
- Foods that are rich in reduced glutathione GSH (reduced glutathione is the active antioxidant form) and sulfur: Avocado, parsley, asparagus, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, garlic, kale, collard greens, cabbage, squash, raw tomatoes, carrots, okra, beets, walnuts, lamb, veal, and oranges.
- High quality whey protein. It must be cold pressed whey protein derived from grass fed cows, and free of hormones, chemicals and sugar. Whey provides critical co-factors, immunoglobulins, lactoferrin and alpha Lactalbumin (also a great source of cysteine), which together help create the right metabolic environment for high glutathione activity. I like Whey Factors.
- Raw milk products, raw eggs and meat: Glutathione occurs in the highest levels in fresh, uncooked meats and raw milk, but is almost entirely absent in pasteurized dairy products.
- Exercise boosts glutathione levels and thereby helps boost the immune system, improve detoxification and enhance the body’s own antioxidant defenses. 30 minutes a day of vigorous exercise, walking, jogging and playing sports and weight training 3 times a week for 20 minutes should do it!
Take glutathione supporting supplements:
- Alpha Lipoic Acid
- Methylation nutrients (folate and vitamins B6 and B12). These are perhaps the most critical to keep the body producing glutathione. Methylation and the production and recycling of glutathione are the two most important biochemical functions in your body. Take folate (especially in the active form of 5 methyltetrahydrofolate), B6 (in active form of P5P) and B12 (in the active form of methylcobalamin).
- Selenium. This important mineral helps the body recycle and produce more glutathione.
- A family of antioxidants including vitamins C and E (in the form of mixed tocopherols), work together to recycle glutathione.
- The herb milk thistle is an excellent source of the antioxidant compound silymarin, which may help to prevent glutathione depletion in the liver. Glutathione is crucial in the liver.