Are You Getting Enough of This “Master Antioxidant”?

| Jan 4, 2017

glutathione-master-antioxidant

The human body has miraculously well-designed defense systems—but your body can only be pushed so far before problems arise!

Under normal circumstances, our bodies can produce enough anti-oxidants internally to protect us against illness. But the world we now live in has reached such staggering levels of toxicity that our bodies have a hard time keeping up.

We are continuously burdened by household toxins, industrial chemicals, water pollutants like fluoride and chlorine, electromagnetic pollution, pesticides, harmful medications, and nutrient-depleted food…just to name a few hurdles to optimal health.

You’ve probably heard that eating a high-antioxidant diet is important for fighting the free radical formation that accelerates aging and makes the body vulnerable to sickness. While this is certainly true, the antioxidants that your body produces on its own are the most powerful of all.

The body’s most important antioxidant of all is glutathione, which is affectionately referred to as the “master antioxidant”

Glutathione is a highly underestimated tool for maintaining every aspect of your health—it supercharges the immune system, protects your cells against damage, repairs DNA, and even shifts metabolism from fat storage to muscle growth.[1]

It exists in every cell of your body, and in particularly large quantities in the liver. In a healthy body, the liver literally regenerates glutathione once it becomes saturated by oxidizing free radicals—so that at any given time, approximately 90% of your glutathione is “on active duty” as reduced glutathione (or GSH) and 10% is in its inactive, oxidized form (called glutathione disulfide, or GSSG), waiting to be regenerated.[2]

But if delicate balance is upset, warding off illness becomes a constant battle.

The difference between sickness and health

Because of the constant strain placed on the body by the toxins of modern society, the body ends up needing to recruit glutathione faster than it can regenerate it—with the result that your body cannot produce enough glutathione to maintain balance.

Oxidative stress builds, which triggers increased inflammatory response. Acute inflammation escalates into chronic inflammation (which is essentially the immune system’s inflammatory response gone haywire), and this imbalance further depletes available glutathione (GSH) and other protective compounds. This unfortunate cascade sets the body up for systemic imbalance and frequent illness.

And compromised immune function is just the beginning.

A study in The New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated that, among patients with suspected coronary artery disease, those with low glutathione levels were 30% more likely to have a heart attack.[3] Other studies suggest that glutathione deficiency is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia,[4] and even that raising glutathione levels through supplementation could help treat the disease.[5]

Researchers have observed that low levels of glutathione are directly correlated with nearly all degenerative and chronic diseases

In fact, researchers have observed that low levels of glutathione are directly correlated with nearly all degenerative and chronic diseases, including cancer, cystic fibrosis, cardiovascular disease, immune dysfunctions, neurodegenerative diseases, and more.[6]

And to make matters worse, environmental toxins aren’t the only factors that leave our bodies depleted of this critical antioxidant—the body’s ability to recycle glutathione also naturally diminishes as we age. With less and less active glutathione available, a downward spiral into chronic and degenerative disease can begin all too easily.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to restore your glutathione stores, so that your body’s self-protective mechanisms remain in peak shape.

How to replenish glutathione levels

In order to maintain healthy levels of glutathione, you’ll want to consume at least 250 milligrams per day. In cases of chronic illness or severe glutathione depletion, you may need up to 500-1000 milligrams.

It’s always best to make diet your primary source of glutathione; no supplement is a replacement for healthy eating. The trick is to eat the foods that contain either glutathione or its building blocks (glycine, glutamine, and cysteine).

Kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, garlic, onions, leeks, chives, peaches, grapefruit, and melons are the best choices.

Research also suggests that glutathione levels can be raised through supplementation. While the issue is still hotly debated, recent studies do demonstrate that taking absorbable glutathione precursors (especially N-acetyl cysteine) or high-bioavailability formulations of whole glutathione can be very helpful. Your best option is to combine both supplementation strategies (always in conjunction with proper diet).

Some glutathione supplements have yielded results in clinical setting, but you need to take the right kind!  Liposomal glutathione is much more promising. Research suggests that these lipid-encapsulated formulas will increase levels of GSH steadily over time, especially when combined with proper diet.[7]

Liposomal glutathione supplementation has been shown to offer profound neuroprotection against the development of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s,[8] to facilitate recovery after cardiovascular events and protect against markers of heart disease,[9] to boost immune functions in HIV patients (and in otherwise healthy individuals),[10] and to improve markers in those coping with autism-spectrum disorders (who nearly always have very low levels of glutathione).[11]

N-acetyl cysteine, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and folic acid will all help the body recycle endogenous and supplemental glutathione, so they’re great to add to your regimen.

Whenever possible, use liposomal formulations of these nutrients, as well. As always, consult a doctor before using a supplement regimen to address any serious or chronic illness.

 


References

[1] https://examine.com/supplements/glutathione/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7958618

[3] http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa030535#t=article

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24496077

[5] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925443911002262

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2756154/

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20535554

[8] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20535554

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23188132

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23409922

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22129897

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