While you should focus on increasing your body’s supply of antioxidants via foods like blueberries, raspberries, spinach, beans and more, you should pay equal attention to the most powerful antioxidant of them all – one that your body actually produces on its own. This antioxidant is called glutathione, and it works tirelessly to clear your body of toxins, fight against cell damage, and pulverize free radicals.
To learn more about glutathione, keep reading this blog. And if you would like to consult with a naturopathic doctor in Chandler, please get in touch.
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione (GSH), produced in your liver, is the body’s most potent antioxidant. Specifically, it is a combination of three amino acids, cysteine, glycine, and glutamate, linked together by a bond of peptides. You may see glutathione referred to as a tripeptide, and it can be found in every cell of your body.
What Does Glutathione Do?
Like all antioxidants, glutathione helps protect your cells against free radicals, or damaging cells in your body. Glutathione can help your body against cell damage, oxidative stress, protect your body from mercury and other toxic metals, and even guard against pollutants. Glutathione is an abundant molecule produced in your body that helps clear itself from harmful cells and helps your body detox them. Glutathione helps protect the body from oxidation by recycling Vitamin C, another antioxidant.
So what is “oxidative stress,” anyway? In short, if there are more free radicals in your body than antioxidants, you will find yourself in a state of oxidative stress. This, in particular, spurs on aging, has been linked to cancer, and can promote neurodegenerative diseases. Perhaps the most important thing that antioxidants do is protect your cells’ DNA from free radicals. Damage to your DNA can result in small mutations, which often cause cancer cells to form.
Free radicals, in a manner of speaking, are particles in your body in search of a missing electron. Antioxidants in your body, and in this case glutathione, will actually provide that electron to stop free radicals from stealing from other cells. When you are in a state of oxidative stress, the free radicals will be free to wreak havoc, speed up the aging process, cause cellular mutations, and cause neurodegeneration.
What Happens When You are Deficient on Glutathione?
Deficiency of Glutathione has been linked to many diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, COPD, asthma, autoimmune disease, hypertension, MI, cataracts, glaucoma, liver disease, cystic fibrosis, and more. Research has shown that overall levels of glutathione have been associated with longevity and decreased aging process.
Symptoms of Glutathione Deficiency
Glutathione isn’t quite as obvious as other deficiencies; for instance, the warning signs for hypothyroidism can be fairly obvious, as are iron deficiencies and other issues. But low glutathione can be quite dangerous. You may experience anemia from low iron levels, seizures, cardiac events (like a heart attack), liver disease, and other severe health issues. The key is to maintain a healthy lifestyle so that your liver can keep producing glutathione and your entire systems of antioxidants can continue to function.
How To Increase Glutathione in Your Body
Some natural things that increase glutathione are meditation, studies have shown that those who practice meditation frequently have 20% high levels. Reducing your toxic load will increase glutathione levels in your body, this could be from both foods consumed and environmental toxins. Decreasing alcohol intake will help increase glutathione levels. Eating healthier foods prepared at home vs processed foods, using household products without harsh chemicals is a great way to start. Lastly, glutathione can always be increased by supplementation either through capsules, topically, IV, and even nasally.
Furthermore, a naturopathic approach to encouraging healthy glutathione levels would include things like:
- Getting enough sleep – this is a key factor
- Reducing significant stress – this helps every aspect of your health
- Eating foods with selenium, like bananas and sunflower seeds
In summary, no antioxidant works as hard as glutathione. It helps all of your other antioxidants function, recycles vitamin C, fights against cell damage, guards against heart problems, and defends against parkinsons, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.
If you’d like to test your levels, or if you want to pursue healthy levels of glutathione in a holistic manner, call Essence Medical Center at your earliest convenience.