Glutathione, popularly called “the master antioxidant”, is your go-to substance to help neutralize toxins in the body. It detoxifies the liver, manages the overall functioning of your immune system, and eliminates the dangerous free radicals in your body.
But this master helper in our system has a glitch: your glutathione production levels usually decrease as you age. What to do?
What is Glutathione?
Firstly, it is a small protein molecule that synthesizes three amino acids in the body: L-glutamic acid, glycine, and L-cysteine. Although all cells in the body has it, most of it can be found in the liver.
Aside from helping the body detoxify, it also regulates cell growth. This antioxidant also prevents the oxidation of circulating fats in the bloodstream, helps transport amino acids to and from cells, and synthesizes and repairs DNA. It also strengthens our immune system.
Glutathione is crucial to detoxification and immune system function. Our immune system needs a healthy balance of glutathione in the lymphoid cells since the antioxidant’s cysteine molecule is needed for the reproduction of T-cells. In other words, it is one of our allies in the fight against cancer and other invasive pathogens in our system.
It also detoxifies reactive oxygen radicals formed by ultraviolet light radiation. And it regenerates and recycles other essential antioxidants like vitamins C and E.
As a major detoxifying agent in the body, it helps chemically transform drugs, toxins, and carcinogens into unreactive, harmless compounds that can be ejected from the body.
Addressing glutathione deficiency
As you get older, your glutathione levels go down so you need to make lifestyle changes to prevent further loss of this antioxidant. Consumption of too many drugs, exposure to environmental toxins, eating too many processed foods, stress, infections, and illnesses are the culprit behind lowering glutathione levels. Low levels of it can prevent proper cellular function and allow free radicals to cause oxidative damage, which can trigger various other chronic diseases.
Experts claim that low levels of it can cause free radical-induced degenerative conditions like heart disease and cancer, both the number one and number two killers in the U.S, respectively.
Based on data from a study, scientists have discovered that heart disease patients with low blood levels of glutathione had a 30% chance of having a heart attack than persons with optimal levels. Other health conditions linked with its deficiency are diabetes, kidney failure, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, autism, autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue syndrome, and liver disease.
If you believe your glutathione levels are less now than before, eat more of the following vegetables and fruits, such as –
- Green bell peppers
- Red bell peppers
It’s better to eat these organic foods raw whenever possible, especially since cooking will deplete their glutathione content.
Other food sources of it include cysteines, like garlic, cage-free eggs, and onions. Consider eating foods that have sulforaphane, such as organic cruciferous vegetables (e.g., cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts). And finally, foods and nutrients that can help increase glutathione levels are curcumin, selenium, melatonin from dark cherries, and milk thistle.
So what do you think of glutathione now as a superfood and master antioxidant? Do you know of other sources of glutathione? Share in the comments below.