Introducing Glutathione, Your Master Antioxidant
Chances are you’ve never heard of glutathione, yet it’s one of the most important substances in your body.
Crucial for preventing cellular ageing, optimal levels of this important antioxidant keep you healthy and prevent chronic disease. Interested in finding out more about this incredible substance? Then read on.
Glutathione is an antioxidant, so it mops up free radicals, reactive atoms produced in your body. It’s impossible to avoid producing free radicals because they’re a natural by-product of the energy production processes in your cells.
But free radicals must be controlled because if they’re not neutralised, they will damage cells throughout your body, causing them to age faster and damaging their DNA. Because they’re unstable substances, free radicals set off destructive chain reactions, stealing electrons from other molecules and making them unstable too. This spiral of damage will continue unless the free radical is neutralised. This is where antioxidants come in. They’re incredibly useful because they donate an extra electron to free radicals, neutralising them without becoming unstable themselves.
Once an antioxidant has deactivated a free radical, the damaging process is stopped in its tracks, but the antioxidant won’t be able to neutralise any further free radicals. So you need a constant supply of antioxidants to switch off free radical damage.
Glutathione is rightly described as the master antioxidant because it boosts the activity of other antioxidants. Most antioxidants are only available from foods, but glutathione is made in your body by your liver because it’s so crucial to good health. It’s pieced together from three different amino acids, in turn obtained from protein.
If you don’t make enough glutathione, or you’re using it up rapidly, its levels will reduce and you’ll become overloaded with free radicals. If your levels are low, you’ll probably feel fatigued and suffer from brain fog, joint or muscle aches, and you’ll pick up every infection going. Because free radical damage is at the heart of all cellular ageing and chronic disease, insufficient glutathione can be connected with all kinds of ill-health.
Low levels of this important antioxidant are common in people suffering from chronic fatigue, autoimmune issues and cardiovascular disease. If your levels are low you’ll probably take longer to recover from exercise, and your strength and endurance will be reduced.
If you’re dealing with a chronic disease, there’s every chance your glutathione levels are low.
Immune Health, Inflammation and Detoxification
Glutathione is important for a healthy immune system and it helps red blood cells to remain in good condition by protecting their outer membranes. It’s also key for managing inflammation.
Although glutathione is found in virtually every cell of your body, it’s especially concentrated in your liver where it helps with detoxification. As well as quenching free radicals produced during detoxification, it directly combines with toxins, sticking to unwanted molecules and escorting them from your body. Having enough glutathione is especially important for anyone exposed to moulds, environmental pollutants or toxic metals.
Glutathione and Energy Production
Glutathione can access inside your individual cells and protect their mitochondria. These are the cell’s power plants, providing them with energy. This is why low levels of glutathione are associated with poor energy.
Causes of Low Glutathione
Many factors can deplete the amount of glutathione in your body, including pollution, stress, infections, poor sleep, a diet low in plant foods, and even simply becoming older, as you’ll make less of this valuable antioxidant as you age.
Some people are genetically predisposed to be inefficient at recycling or creating glutathione. This may not pose a problem until the body becomes overloaded with toxins – unfortunately more or less inevitable in today’s toxic world.
How to Boost Your Body’s Glutathione
It’s worth knowing certain foods can boost your glutathione production because they contain sulphur, an integral part of the glutathione molecule. These include cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kale, along with garlic and onions.
When you exercise, you produce more glutathione. A combination of cardio and strength exercises seems to be most beneficial.
Getting enough sleep is crucial because lack of sleep is known to reduce glutathione levels.
Although giving glutathione as a supplement hasn’t been proven to increase levels because supplements tend to be inactivated by the digestive system, certain nutrients can help boost glutathione production. These include selenium, vitamin C, B vitamins and the herb milk thistle.
Because all antioxidants work in harmony with each other, it’s wise to ensure your diet contains a wide array of plant-based foods of different colours, because then you’ll be consuming a good range of other antioxidants.
Restore Your Glutathione Levels with Functional Medicine
It’s definitely worth paying attention to glutathione because its contribution to your health can’t be overestimated.
If you suspect your glutathione levels may be low, I can help. Genetic testing can reveal if you are predisposed to poor glutathione production, while a combination of personalised dietary and supplements ensure your levels of the master antioxidant are optimal. Contact me today to discover more.