Glutathione is master antioxidant that seemingly does it all. It is a naturally occurring antioxidant and it has been shown to boost the immune system1 2 3, plays a key factor in aging4 5, heart disease6 7 and dementia8, among others. It has been shown to have some impact on cancer cells as well9. Why, then, is it not featured more prominently in discussions about health and diet?
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione is a simple molecule found in plants, animals, some fungi, bacteria and archaea. It is a combination of three protein or amino acids building blocks; cysteine, glycine and glutamine. It occurs naturally in the human body, regenerating in the liver once it is depleted, hence its reputation as the master antioxidant and the mother of all supplements. Simply, glutathione could be the most important molecule in your body.
What Does it Do?
Research has shown that keeping maintaining optimal glutathione levels can have positive effects on the body. It has also been determined that more often than not, patients with diseases such as cancer and AIDS have lower than average levels of glutathione, according to Jeremy Appleton, ND, who is the chairman and head of department of nutrition at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, and who has done extensive research on glutathione10.
Chief among its properties is its effect as an antioxidant. It plays an active role in neutralization of free radicals. These are unstable molecules that oxidize cells (oxidation stress), leaving them unstable. Hence, it acts as a natural detoxifier, ensuring our metabolism runs properly.
It makes drugs more digestible, and more soluble for excretion. It removes other chemicals that are foreign to the body.
It works as a coenzyme in several enzymatic reactions in the body, like the chemical process in which it prevents oxidation, and how it detoxifies the body.
Glutathione is essential to the immune system; it fights disease and illness, in addition to forming red and white blood cells, keeping them healthy so they can carry out their tasks efficiently.
Different types of glutathione available
Reduced glutathione levels have been successfully linked to several health complications and even aging. It is therefore natural to want to boost your body’s glutathione concentration. As it occurs naturally in the cell, it can be difficult to find ways to get the supplement into the body. There has been discussion over the effectiveness of taking it orally, and comparisons with intravenous methods. It can be found in various states, and taken differently. For this reason, people take precursors, the molecules needed to make glutathione instead of taking glutathione directly.
Oral glutathione: taken orally, it can be very helpful in treating glaucoma, heart disease, preventing asthma and even alcoholism, cataracts, liver disease, memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. It is debatable how fast oral intake can raise the glutathione levels in the body.
IV glutathione: Intravenous infusion of glutathione has its benefits. It is immediate, and causes no disruption in your daily activities, although it is a bit pricier. This method has been used to counter diseases like Parkinson’s.
Liposomal glutathione: this is an artificial substance that can bind to the molecule and deliver the glutathione molecule to the body. They can be effective, but they have a short shelf life, in some cases just hours, and are often foul smelling and tasting.
Acetyl glutathione: Unlike liposomal glutathione, acetyl supplements do not use a phospholipid vessel to improve absorption. It is preferable because it does not have a foul taste or smell.
Nano glutathione: this is an oral delivery system, but unlike other supplements, the glutathione is delivered by a drip method; a drop beneath the tongue where it can be absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth and directly enter the blood stream.
There are some foods that naturally boost glutathione production; brussel sprouts, radish, cabbage, watercress, kale and cauliflower.
When the body has an insufficient supply of glutathione to process free radicals, it creates a condition called oxidative stress. Oxidative stress refers to an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to effectively counteract the harmful effects of these free radicals. It is when the free radicals in the body overwhelm its ability to neutralize them.
Free radicals are produced regularly in the body, due to the reaction brought about by cells as they produce energy. Oxygen, for all its importance in the human body, aids in the formation of these free radicals. They can also be produced by external processes and factors, such as smoking. When free radicals interact with other molecules, they can cause oxidative damage to the membranes, proteins and genes. Studies have heavily linked oxidative damage with many diseases like cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, anxiety and even the aging process.
The body is therefore forced to produce antioxidants to prevent this damage. Antioxidants suppress or eliminate these free radicals. Typically, it cannot produce enough antioxidants to get rid of all the free radicals. This is where diet and healthy living come in; you can help your body by increasing the level of antioxidants available to defend itself. This can be done by consuming foods rich in antioxidants, or taking supplements that boost your antioxidant levels.
Foods you can take are those rich in vitamins, particularly Vitamin C and E which assist the body in recycling its own glutathione capacity. These include vegetables and fruits like tomatoes, oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes, spinach, asparagus, walnuts. Where you can, stick to organic foods. Avoid sugar and processed foods, as these increase the toxins in your system. Other toxins include alcohol and cigarettes.
Glutathione works well as an antioxidant due to its Sulfur content. Take foods rich in sulfur as well; garlic, cabbage, collard greens, broccoli and onions.
Oxidative stress can result from physical or emotional stress also. Fatigue, headaches and muscle pains are a few of the symptoms that can indicate oxidative stress. It will help to avoid stressful situations. Exercise also helps build up the immune system and facilitates the production of glutathione.
It is equally effective to increase the body’s antioxidant levels by supplementing the body’s natural production capacity to clear the oxidative stress. In order to maintain optimal glutathione levels, consider supplementing with Nano Gluathione. Click the link below to receive up to 40% on your first purchase.