Glutathione is the mother of all antioxidants, the master detoxifier of the immune system: Gluathione (pronounced “gloota-thigh-on”).
It’s the most important molecule you need to stay healthy and prevent disease. Glutathione is a molecule that is produced naturally all the time in your body. It is a combo of three simple building blocks of protein or amino acids — cysteine, glycine and glutamine. Normally glutathione is recycled in the body — except when the toxic load becomes too great. Poor diet, pollution, toxins, medications, stress, trauma, aging, infections and radiation all deplete your glutathione. This leaves you susceptible to unrestrained cell disintegration from oxidative stress, free radicals, infections and cancer. And your liver gets overloaded and damaged, making it unable to do its job of detoxification. With over 80 thousand toxic industrial chemicals found in our environment today it is no wonder we are overwhelmed with too much oxidative stress and too many toxins. The glutathione becomes depleted and we can no longer protect ourselves against free radicals, infections, or cancer and we can’t get rid of toxins. This leads to further sickness and soon we are in the downward spiral of chronic illness. Glutathione is also critical in helping your immune system do its job of fighting infections and preventing cancer as Glutathione is the most critical and integral part of your detoxification system. All the toxins stick onto glutathione, which then carries them into the bile and the stool and out of your body.
At LivingYoung we have discovered that glutathione deficiency is found in nearly all very ill patients. These include people with chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune disease, cancer, chronic infections, diabetes, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, asthma, and more. Our ability to produce and maintain a high level of glutathione is critical to recovery from nearly all chronic illness — and to preventing disease and maintaining optimal health.
And lastly, it also helps us reach peak mental and physical function. Research has shown that raised glutathione levels decrease muscle damage, reduce recovery time, increase strength and endurance and shift metabolism from fat production to muscle development. Keeping yourself healthy, boosting your performance, preventing disease and aging well depends on keeping your glutathione levels high.
When glutathione is taken orally (pill form) it rarely is able to enter bloodstream. Most of it is lost in the digestive tract and cannot effectively raise intracellular glutathione levels in the most important detoxification organs, such as liver and kidneys, because glutathione is a small protein molecule and gets digested. The most effective way to enhance glutathione levels as going for regular glutathione injections or through IV.
Glutathione’s Fabulous Benefits
High levels help to:
- Decrease muscle damage
- Increase strength and endurance
- Shift metabolism from fat production to muscle development
- Strengthen the immune system
- Fight inflammation
- Assist in making drugs and other toxic chemicals more water-soluble for easier excretion
- Maintain vitamins C and E in their reduced, active forms
- Slow down the aging process
Unfortunately, most of us don’t have optimal levels of this important antioxidant. In fact some researchers claim there’s an epidemic deficiency of this critical life-giving molecule. A deficiency leads to:
- Increased oxidative stress
- Greatly reduced ability to detoxify, resulting in the accumulation of toxins and heavy metals
- Inability to repair DNA
- Cell mutations, weakened cell membranes
- Reduced supply of oxygen and nutrients to cells
- Eventual cell death
These processes directly affect the immune system and often become the main reason for the onset of disease. Low glutathione also means that the prescribed treatments for a disease, instead of helping, may actually worse the condition since drugs cause further decline in this antioxidant’s levels. Let’s see what else leads to its depletion.
Toxins, lifestyles and genetics all play a part in glutathione depletion.
Toxins. Toxins are ubiquitous in the modern world, both environmentally and in everyday households. Toxins that affect glutathione levels include:
- Acetaminophen (as in Tylenol) and other pharmaceuticals
- Acetone, solvents, paint removers, fuels and fuel by-products
- Pesticides, herbicides
- Benzopyrenes from tobacco smoke, barbecued foods, fuel exhaust
- Household products such as certain non-stick coatings of pans, plastic containers, plastic linings of cans and other food packaging
- Formaldehyde and styrene from photocopiers and toner printers
- Chlorine in treated water
- Medical X-rays
Lifestyles. Daily living in today’s world brings with it many opportunities for depleting glutathione levels, including:
- Poor Diet. This antioxidant has to work extra hard to cover for missing nutrients and antioxidants in a nutrient-poor diet that may include genetically-modified food, artificial sweeteners and some so-called “health foods.”
- Stress. Few can refute the troubles stress causes.
Genetics. One of the genes needed to create and recycle this tripeptide in the body is called GSTM1. The GSTM1 gene encodes glutathione S-transferase M1, an enzyme which has broad detoxifying abilities against carcinogens, drugs, or other toxins. It is one of the most important genes needed in the process of creating and recycling glutathione in the body. In the absence of this vital gene, glutathione can’t do its jobs.
How you can boost your glutathione levels
A diet rich in nutrients is the long-term action you can take. Eat glutathione-rich foods such as spinach, squash, avocado, asparagus and walnuts and exercise regularly to optimize the body’s own glutathione production over the long term.