Glutathione, also known as GSH, is a tripeptide and the most common and prevalent antioxidant produced by our body. It contains three amino acids: glycine, glutamate (glutamic acid) and cysteine. Glutathione is found in every cell in the body and is very important for optimal health and essential in preserving cellular integrity. Often called the "master antioxidant," Glutathione is critical for healthy immune function and your body's detoxification processes. It offers countless benefits related to joints, eyes, brain, lungs and essential every system in your body. Yet, research has shown that less than 6% of consumers are familiar with this antioxidant.
Healthy cells normally produce Glutathione and when they run out, they will die. Production of Glutathione naturally declines with age and cells begin to lose their ability to repair themselves and produce strong antioxidants, so increasing your daily intake of this vital antioxidant is most needed.
Essential Benefits of Glutathione:
- Helps protect cells from the damage caused by harmful free radicals
- Promotes detoxification and optimal cellular health
- Supports a healthy liver and immune system
If you don't get enough Glutathione, you will have greater risks to many chronic and aggressive illnesses. It helps repair damaged cells caused by stress, radiation, pollution, infection and a host of other ailments. In addition to its prevailing effects inside the body, Glutathione has also been used improve skin clarity, tone and texture.
Glutathione as an Antioxidant
The fact that glutathione exists within our cells means that it has the added benefit of being a powerful antioxidant. Vitamins C and E are the more well-known supplements and most people are familiar with them as they neutralize free radicals. Glutathione, on the other hand, can be found in every type of our cells. It not only neutralizes free radicals by itself, but also has the ability to reactivate other antioxidants, like the aforementioned Vitamins C and E. Antioxidants like Vitamins C and E become unstable radicals after they neutralize the free radicals in our body. The added benefit of Glutathione is that it helps recycle these unstable molecules and reactivate them, extending their abilities as antioxidants and help our body fight against diseases. This is why advocates of Glutathione suggest that this master antioxidant can work against cancer and other diseases.
Glutathione acts as a natural detoxifier in the body. It helps with eliminating harmful toxins in your body. Glutathione is also able to support the function of your body's major detoxification pathways including your kidneys, liver, GI tract and intestines.
- Helps eliminate toxins, consumed chemicals, and possible carcinogens that the body has already absorbed.
- Neutralizes and intercepts toxins in the GI tracts before they are even absorbed.
Glutathione Promotes a Healthy Immune System
Glutathione maintains healthy immunity by replacing the body's primary immunity and defense system. It helps with fortifying your body against harmful infection and disease in two ways:
- It aids in the proper function of white blood cells (T-cell lymphocytes), the main defensive barrier of the immune system, by increasing their numbers.
- It stimulates the production and healthy activity of natural killer (NK) cells.
Glutathione as a Skin Brightener
Some research has suggested that Glutathione can help with skin brightening. Glutathione may be able to reduce the production of melanin by inhibiting tyrosinase activity and switching the eumelanin (brown and black pigments) synthesis to pheomelanin (red pigment) synthesis.
Glutathione for Sports Nutrition
Current research in male, resistance-trained athletes indicates that Glutathione may help support in the production of Nitric Oxide (NO). It was also shown to aid in sustaining NO levels post workout which can help lessen fatigue and speed up recovery time.
How to Raise You Glutathione Levels
As discussed above, Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant created by your cells. It is essential in fighting destructive free radicals by creating and increasing your lymphocytes, the cells of your immune system. You can take steps to increase the Glutathione levels in your body:
- Eat foods, preferably raw, high in Vitamin C, which have some Glutathione and will also help your body produce more. One of the easiests ways is to eat fresh fruits and vegetables as many of them contain some level of Glutathione. Fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of Glutathione include: apples, bananas, peaches, melons, green peppers, potatoes, carrots, squash, broccoli and spinach.
- Increase your melatonin intakes, which raises Glutathione levels in your muscles, brain and liver tissues.
- Take an herbal supplement such as milk thistle (silymarin), which can help your liver regenerate cells and heal itself. The liver, the main organ of detoxification, has the highest concentration of glutathione.
- Consume food high in cysteine, like egg yolks, yogurt, red peppers, oatmeal, wheat germ and most poultry. Selenium and alpha lipoic acid (ALA) must be eaten as well in order for Glutathione to be used in the body. Foods high in selenium include: legumes, nuts, red meat, cheese and poultry.
Raising the level of Glutathione in your body have many benefits, such as being used to treat some lung diseases, boost the immune system, treat chronic fatigue syndrome and treat HIV/AIDS and some cancers. By eating a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables allows enough Glutathione to supplement the daily allowance of GSH. If you are eating a poor diet and is exposed to toxins (alcohol, nicotine, chemicals), then your Glutathione levels may be compromised and you may need to supplement you intake of this master antioxidant.