We’ve all heard of antioxidants. We typically know them as Vitamins A, C, E, Selenium and Zinc. We have to get these nutrients through foods, although the most important antioxidant is one that only our body produces. So what is this vital nutrient you say?
Glutathione is the mother of all antioxidants, master of the immune system and provides the ability for our body to detox, repair and function optimally. Your body produces its own glutathione, although it can be depleted through a poor diet, toxins, pharmaceuticals, stress, sickness, chemicals, radiation and even just aging.
Glutathione is typically recycled in the body and is how other antioxidants also get recycled, that is unless we have more toxins than our body can keep up with. This damages cells and causes free radicals, infections and even chronic disease. Your liver gets overloaded and damaged, making it unable to do its job of detoxification.
Almost anyone who has a chronic health condition or even acute symptoms have low levels of glutathione, including people with:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Heart disease
- Chronic Infections
- Autoimmune conditions
- Parkinson’s disease
- Kidney problems
- Liver disease and more
The highest glutathione levels are typically found in healthy young people, while lower levels are found in the healthy elderly and the lowest levels are found in sick, old and hospitalized people.
Boosting your Glutathione levels:
Since glutathione is something your body typically makes, it can be difficult to supplement. Taken orally, glutathione is poorly absorbed and does not raise levels in the blood. The focus needs to come from precursors to make it. Glutathione consists of 3 amino acids: glutamate, cysteine and glycine. Depending on how low your levels are and your current state of health, you may want to consider supplementing with these precursors in addition to getting them from food.
1. Eat Sulfur Rich Foods
Cysteine is a sulphur-containing amino acid, so by eating foods rich in sulfur, you help boost your levels of glutathione. These include garlic, onions, raw egg yolks, high quality unprocessed meats, and the cruciferous vegetables such as, broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts.
2. Whey Protein.
I am typically not a fan of taking apart a food and consuming only a part of the whole, but whey is my exception. There is great supporting evidence that non denatured whey protein, especially coming from goat’s milk can be healthful and wonderful at repairing and boosting glutathione levels since it’s rich in cysteine and other amino acids. Whey is also easily absorbed. Raw unpasteurized and non industrial milk is always the best choice, just make sure you know where your source is coming from. If you are looking for a non denatured powder form of whey, I recommend this Organic Whey.
Exercise helps the body to detoxify, boosting immunity and increasing your defenses. Strength training has especially been shown to help boost glutathione levels.
4. Other Antioxidants.
Selenium and Vitamins C and E help to recycle glutathione to be used more efficiently. This antioxidant powder (click here) contains over a dozen high quality, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables and also contains resveratrol and pomegranate!
As stated earlier, taking an oral version of glutathione is not typically well absorbed, however if the glutathione is reduced, this can make a huge difference in absorption. This powdered, reduced glutathione (click here) has excellent absorbability. Hold it in the mouth for several seconds before swallowing to allow for mucosal absorption.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a chronic health condition, or under large amounts of stress, exposed to harmful toxins, on multiple medications, or has a low immune system, consider adding more foods that can create glutathione or supplement with a cream.