What is Glutathione?
Glutathione simply put, is the “Master Antioxidant” in your body. Increasing glutathione levels will naturally increase your energy, detoxify your body and strengthen your immune system.
Research has shown that individuals who have low glutathione levels are susceptible to chronic illness including heart conditions, cancers, diabetes, seizures disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease to name a few. Our glutathione levels begin to decline at the age of 20 and do so at a rate of around 10% per decade.
Recent studies have shown that glutathione plays a key role in reducing the oxidation process and protecting our bodies against free radicals. The worst part is that there are over 75 diseases and conditions directly related to having low levels of glutathione – you can see the list here below.
How to effectively increase your glutathione
Here is a brief list of different food groups/other supplements that help increase glutathione.
- Milk Thistle
- Bio-active Whey Protein
- Sulfur Foods eg: (Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale)
- Folate Foods eg: (Chickpeas, Lentils, Spinach, Asparagus, Avocado, Beets)
- Selenium Foods eg: (Brazil Nuts, Tuna, Grass Fed Beef, Turkey, Eggs)
- Vitamin C & E Foods eg: (Oranges, Strawberries, Grapefruit, Almonds, Sweet Potato, Olive Oil)
Supplements that increase glutathione, may be a way for us to protect our bodies against the aging process. There is a herbal supplement that I personally use and recommend that will naturally increase your body’s ability to make more of its own glutathione by up to 300%. This supplement is the only supplement proven to do that, and is proven in a clinical trial. Other supplements that claim to increase glutathione are usually synthetic which in turn cause side effects, or may still be natural but only increase glutathione by a smaller percentage. I know personally, that using the specific supplement I take and increasing my glutathione naturally, has significantly changed my health state. I have more energy, deeper and more restful sleep and better muscle recovery and repair.
Exercise boosts your glutathione levels and thereby helps boost your immune system, improve detoxification and enhance your body’s own antioxidant defences. Start off slow and build up to 30 minutes a day of vigorous aerobic exercise like walking or jogging, or play various sports. Strength training for 20 minutes 3 times a week is also helpful.
Athletes and High Intensity Exercise
The increase in information regarding glutathione is something that more world-class athletes and individuals who do high intensity exercise are now looking into as well. It’s giving them the edge over the competition, provides them with increased strength and endurance, decreased recovery time from injury and less pain and fatigue.
During workouts, athletes generate free radicals which in turn lead to muscle fatigue and poorer performance. Glutathione neutralises these radicals and allows our bodies to recover faster.
One study showed that 90 minutes of exercise led to a 60% depletion of glutathione – that’s a scary thought. The higher the intensity of exercise and the longer duration of exercise can lead to significant decrease of glutathione and this is why we need to look more into natural effective ways to help keep our glutathione levels raised as much as possible.
Elevated levels of glutathione promote long healthy lives that are more resistant to diseases. All clinical studies reviewed showed that raising glutathione to its optimal levels is of great benefit to the human body.
How we become depleted of glutathione
We have many internal and external factors that play a role in depletion of glutathione.
Internal factors include the increasing need for glutathione as an important part of various processes in our bodies, such as, food for our immune system, recycling of vitamin C, vitamin E and alpha lipoic acid, repairing our DNA, and protecting our cells from oxidative stress to mention a few.
External factors are what deplete glutathione the most.
Many toxic and harmful substances that we are exposed to on a daily basis require considerable amounts of glutathione for detoxification.
Some of these substances are listed below:
- acetaminophen (Tylenol) and other pharmaceuticals;
- acetone, solvents, paint removers;
- fuels and fuel by-products;
- heavy metals
- pesticides, herbicides;
- nitrates and other food preservatives of chemical origin (in salami, hot dogs, hams,etc.);
- artificial sweetener aspartame;
- synthetic food dyes;
- benzopyrene’s (tobacco smoke, barbecued foods, fuel exhaust, etc.);
- household chemicals
- housewares chemicals (non-stick coating of pans and skillet’s, plastic containers and linings of tin cans and other food packaging);
- formaldehyde and styrene (photocopiers and toner printers);
- medical X-rays;
- UV radiation;
- electromagnetic fields (EMF);
- industrial pollutants.
Other external factors that deplete glutathione:
- poor diet – in this case glutathione has to work hard to cover for missing or insufficient antioxidants.
- strenuous exercise – though not a toxic substance but produces a lot of free radicals within the body.
- chronic stress.
- light pollution which lowers glutathione levels by suppressing melatonin production at night (bedside night lights, street lights).
- age – after the age of 20 natural glutathione production decreases at the rate of 10% per decade on average in healthy adults.
I am very glad that information regarding glutathione is becoming more available and known to the public and that we now have significant content which proves why we should all be learning about it.
What are you doing daily to help keep your glutathione levels raised? Drop a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Dr Axe, Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, is a certified doctor of natural medicine, doctor of chiropractic and clinical nutritionist.
Dr Hyman, MD, Dr. Hyman is a practicing family physician, a ten-time #1 New York Timesbestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in his field. He is the Director the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine.
Keep being Amazing, Authentic and Inspiring
Janelle Emma xx