Glutathione: what is it? Why is it Called the Master Antioxidant and Why We Age Faster Without Enough of it?
There is one very important molecule we need to protect the body and get rid of toxins. It is called GLUTATHIONE; you probably have never heard of it? pronounced “gloota-thigh-own”. You need it to stay healthy and Scientist call it the “the master antioxidant”. Studies show that higher glutathione levels are associated with longer life, a more youthful appearance and less risk of disease.
What is Glutathione?
Every cell in your body contains glutathione and is one of the body’s most important and potent antioxidants, it occurs naturally in our liver and helps keeps cells healthy by removing free radicals, toxins, and heavy metals. It also improves energy production, is a powerful immunity booster, and delays early signs of aging in the skin. For years, it has been used in the medical world intravenously to treat acute illnesses. Studies have found that glutathione has a positive impact on the treatment of diseases ranging from cancer and autism to Parkinson’s and liver failure.
It is predominantly comprised of three individual amino acids - glutamine, glycine, and cysteine. What makes glutathione markedly different to other antioxidants is that your body has the capacity to produce it – which is why it is really an essential factor to health and body function.
There is an acronym to describe what it does.
Glutathione is an AID to health A = Antioxidant I = Immunity Booster D = Detoxifier.
Ageing and Life Expectancy:
People who live well into their 80s have been found to have high levels of glutathione. It could be certain levels may impact upon your lifespan, this why some say that cellular glutathione levels can predict an individual’s life expectancy. Glutathione can stave off the signs of aging inside and out. Glutathione is part of your body’s natural defence mechanisms and with age, antioxidant levels generally decline, the problem is that we stop making optimal levels of glutathione after the age of 20, so the body cannot protect itself from environmental exposures as well as it can when you were younger. Which is why supplementing glutathione has become such a commonly suggested means of improving health and function. Research suggests this powerful antioxidant not only increases energy levels, but also improves heart and brain function.
The Liver & Glutathione Levels: how it works
The levels of glutathione in the liver are critically linked to the liver’s capacity to detoxify. Unfortunately increasing levels of pesticides and environmental pollutants are depleting our liver stores of glutathione more and more rapidly. Glutathione is concentrated in the liver although it works inside every single cell in your body.
The way it works is glutathione contains sulphur that is sticky like fly paper. Toxins, free radicals, mercury and other heavy metals stick onto the glutathione, which then carries them into the bile and the stool – out of your body. If your body is not overloaded with toxins the glutathione is then recycled back into the liver and other cells. But, if your liver is overworked due to toxins, chemicals, pollution, alcohol, stress, trauma, aging and infections, then the concentration of glutathione in the liver is substantially reduced. This reduction makes the liver susceptible to damage which results in toxins building up in your entire body.
The Importance of Cleansing the Body:
It’s of great benefit to the body to do periodic internal cleansing. Our liver needs a break from the hard work of detoxification to restore its levels of glutathione. when we do an intensive internal detox, we help the body to remove built-up waste and limit all the inflammatory, toxic and hard to digest foods from our diet for at least 7-10 days. It is beneficial to eat foods and herbs to support our liver during this period. The result is our liver gets a break and the glutathione levels get restored, the body can return to balance and achieve better support from the renewed liver.
Glutathione and Your Skin :
Glutathione fights oxidative stress which is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. When free radicals accumulate, they cause cell and tissue damage leading to wrinkles, inflammation, hyperpigmentation, and melasma. Glutathione can help decrease these age-related effects, by combating the effects of free radicals and inflammation and has been shown to even out skin tone. Beauty treatments now include “The Glutathione Glow”. Glutathione has long been used in skincare for its skin lightening benefits. It works with the activity of the enzyme tyrosinase which is involved in the production of pigmentation. Due to its powerful antioxidant effects and ability to help lighten dark spots and brighten the skin overall, topical glutathione is a key ingredient in a number of beauty products. without good levels of Glutathione in the body your skin will not look great as time passes.
Supplementing with glutathione can have a myriad of benefits to the human body, including:
- Shifting metabolism from fat production to muscle development.
- Helping your immune system fight infections and prevent disease.
- Neutralising free radicals.
- Breaking down toxic and damaging compounds like BPA and other xenoestrogens.
- Removing heavy metals like mercury.
- Repairing damaged DNA.
- Binding to carcinogens and helping to remove them from the body.
- Boosting & reinforcing the immune system.
- Recycling vitamins C and E back to their active forms.
- Preventing and delaying cell damage and death.
- Being the master antioxidant that keeps all other antioxidants performing at peak levels.
- Keeping our mitochondria strong so they pump out energy and protect our DNA.
- Having the ability to bind itself to drugs and toxins to actually assist the liver in eliminating them.
- Since it is good for liver detoxification, it can help improve the overall appearance of the skin.
How You Can Negatively Affect Glutathione Levels:
Glutathione levels can be negatively impacted by many lifestyle factors, including
- Poor diet
- Exposure to environmental toxins
- Lack of sleep
- Accumulation of stress
- It also declines with age
- Toxic internal body environment
- Certain medication e.g.- taking toomuch acetaminophen (paracetamol) can damage the liver
How to Boost Your Glutathione Levels?
Since your body produces its own glutathione it is important to know what enhances it.
- Adding foods that stimulate glutathione production in the body. Eating sulphur rich vegetables like onions, parsley, garlic, cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, also watercress, beetroots, avocados, squash and tomatoes.
- Taking certain spices: turmeric, cinnamon and cardamom have compounds that assist in restoring healthy levels of glutathione in your body.
- Organic free-range eggs are a great source of the glutathione precursor L-cysteine and have been shown to increase your levels of glutathione.
- Omega 3 oils: that contains DHA, or docosahexaenoic, acid. This fatty acid substance has been researched to increase your level of glutathione.
- Grass fed organic red meat, especially the organ meats: alpha lipoid acid is found in grass fed organic meats. including them in your diet has been shown to regenerate glutathione and support the sustained activity of Vitamins C & E. You do not need a lot and consuming these foods once or twice in a month is sufficient enough.
- Taking supplements like vitamin C, N-acetyl cysteine, selenium and milk thistle helps to actually repair the liver by promoting the growth of new cells in this large and vital organ.
- Glutathione production is dependent on adenosine triphosphate or ATP, the molecule which supplies cellular energy. Boost your energy system by including a healthy amount of exercise into your routine. Excess strenuous exercise causes stress in the body which can deplete your glutathione levels.
- IV (intravenous therapy), remains the most effective way to administer glutathione, and as its popularity in the beauty world grows, well-being spas and clinics are increasingly offering glutathione booster shots and drips for detoxification.
- Supplementation: the best is oral liposomal delivery systems that encase the glutathione in protective molecules like lipids to help it survive the stomach and eventually enter the bloodstream.
- Also, supplements containing acetyl glutathione which is the most potent form available in tablet form. The recommended dose is 500-1,000 milligrams a day.
- It is also important to minimize chronic stress, which is often overlooked why glutathione can also lost. We are not designed to handle the constant cortisol and adrenaline that is released from prolonged stress. Find a means to reduce stress through organization, enough sleep, meditation, deep breathing and mindful practices.