Glutathione is often called the master antioxidant. This is because glutathione is the most powerful antioxidant used by the body. High glutathione levels have been linked to a number of positive health benefits including longer life span and reduced signs of aging and chronic degenerative diseases.
Glutathione is composed of three amino acids: glutamic acid, cysteine and glycine. Because of this 3-peptide formation, common enzymes which are used to break down amino acids, peptidases, are unable to break down glutathione. This means that glutathione is able to stay in your body longer, reducing more oxidative stress.
While Glutathione can be found in many plant and animal foods, it is not considered an essential nutrient because every cell in your body has the ability to produce it. What is also very interesting about this production is that it is not just unique to humans. In fact animals, plants and bacteria cells are able to produce this amazing antioxidant. And in correlation with this, the more glutathione a species makes, the longer it lives.
While Glutathione plays a few roles, it is best known for its antioxidant capabilities. One thing to note when it comes to antioxidants is that while they help fight oxidative stress, they also create it. Once they are finished doing their work eating up free radicals, they too must get oxidized, neutralizing some of their positive benefits. Glutathione is the exception to this. Because it is made locally in the cells, its end products do not create further oxidation. Who doesn’t want that?
While glutathione is amazing in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, it aids in many other wonderful functions in the body. Let’s dive into all the other amazing roles of glutathione.
Glutathione is critical in maintaining a healthy and functioning immune system. It works to help T-cells and lymphocytes respond to immune challenges such as viruses and bacteria. Glutathione deficiencies contribute to oxidative stress also is linked to aging and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
High enough levels of glutathione are also needed for proper phase 2 liver detoxification, which is extremely important because when phase 2 detox does not function correctly toxins in an even more harmful form than their original state continue to circulate in our system. Glutathione is essential for proper function of methylation and also plays a key role in getting mercury out of the brain.
That’s a lot of amazing functions. To say Glutathione is important would be an understatement.
But with all that said, how do you know if your levels are high enough? This is a 2 step process. First off looking at the list below will give you a good place to start to see if you may be deficient. These symptoms are quite broad and may encompass many different illnesses or deficiencies, so it’s best to look through and if you have more than 3 signs you may want to get a blood test to see if your glutathione levels are low.
Achy / sore muscles
Vitamin B deficiency (due to poor methylation)
High levels of inflammation
If your levels are low, you can obtain glutathione through diet or supplementation as well as intravenously. Foods high in Glutathione include cruciferous vegetables, garlic and onions, eggs, nuts, cucumber, and lean proteins such as fish and chicken. The problem however with obtaining glutathione orally is that it is an extremely fragile molecule and can easily be destroyed by heat and light. When supplementing with Glutathione, make sure to only take a high quality liposomal glutathione, which will pass through the stomach and be easily absorbed in the small intestine. Other great ways to increase glutathione levels is through supplementing with nutrients that help the body boost its own natural glutathione production. These nutrients include N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC), milk thistle, whey protein and turmeric.
If you are looking to improve your aging process, boost your immune system, increase your detoxification and methylation abilities then increasing your glutathione levels is the thing for you! Seems like a win for everyone if you ask me.