A Detoxification Guide: Exploring the Many Compelling Health Benefits of Glutathione
Glutathione is one of your body’s most important and powerful antioxidants. This antioxidant is responsible for fighting against free radicals found in your body, which helps to lower your oxidative stress levels.
Glutathione supplements are taking over the health industry and are often referred to as the ‘mother of all antioxidants’. But, what exactly is Glutathione and can it make that much of a difference to your health?
Looking to learn why you should add this powerful antioxidant into your life? Keep reading to learn about Glutathione's health benefits!
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione (aka GSH) is the master antioxidant found in every single cell in your body. Made up of three building blocks of protein, glutamine, cysteine, and L-glycine, Glutathione is comprised naturally inside the body.
The main job of Glutathione is to protect the cells in your body and to protect the mitochondria from oxidative stress. Glutathione is also essential to make sure that your body is detoxifying, using energy as efficiently as possible, and to slow down the progress of disease.
Glutathione works to remove all toxin build-ups in your cells to make sure that your cells are protected from chemicals, radiation, and pollutants that you’re exposed to from environmental factors.
It’s called the master antioxidant because it has the ability to regenerate itself inside of your liver (thanks to the help of the amino acids listed above). After a trip around your body, Glutathione ‘fills up’ on the free radicals that it’s destroying. Once the antioxidant cell has ‘filled up’, it visits your liver, regenerates itself, and leaves your liver in the hunt for more free radicals.
The power of Glutathione is held by the sulfur chemical groups that are found in its composition. Think of the sulfur chemicals inside of Glutathione as a super sticky tape. It floats around in your body and the toxins in your body stick to it, eventually removing them!
What Does Glutathione Do for Your Body?
Your body needs Glutathione to stay healthy, which is why it produces its own.
What depletes your body’s Glutathione stores? Pollution, medications, aging, poor diet, toxins, infections, trauma, aging, and exposure to radiation.
Not to mention, it also provides the chemicals that your body needs to use other important antioxidants. A few including alpha-lipoic acid, vitamin E, and vitamin C!
The other main functions of Glutathione in the body are:
Creating sperm cells
Supporting the proper function of some enzymes
Supporting the healthy functioning of your immune system
Regenerating vitamins E and C
Transporting any mercury out of your brain
Breaking down free radicals
Helping in apoptosis (the death of regular, healthy cells)
Assisting the gallbladder and liver process fats
What is Oxidative Stress?
Oxidative stress occurs when there’s an imbalance in your body between free radicals and your body’s ability to remove free radicals. Glutathione helps to fight against the impact that oxidative stress can have on your body.
Studies have suggested that the underlying cause of many life-threatening diseases such as Parkinson's, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer are related to prolonged exposure to oxidative stress.
What Are the Effects of Oxidative Stress?
While oxidation is an entirely normal process of a healthy body, oxidative stress isn’t something you want your body to experience.
Some of the risk factors for experiencing oxidative stress include:
Certain cleansers and pesticides
Exercising too little or too much
Poor liver health
A diet high in alcohol, sugar, and fat intake
When there’s an imbalance in your body to cause oxidative stress, free radicals are free to attack your body. The damage that the free radicals due to your DNA, protein, and fatty tissue. This can lead to a higher change to developing diseases, some of which include:
What Are Free Radicals?
The majority of the time, free radicals are a byproduct of waste that healthy cells, and toxic overload from unhealthy cells. This happens when the oxygen in your body splits into one atom, instead of being paired with an electron. By not having this single atom paired with an electron, the single-atom turns into a free radical.
This free radical will roam around your body, looking for an electron to pair with. This can cause damage to your DNA, proteins, and cells in your body.
Free radicals come from the substances we ingest, such as food, water, air, and medications.
Free radicals are a natural product of the chemical processes that happen in our bodies. An example of one of these chemical processes is our metabolism processing food.
Glutathione Health Benefits
There are a vast amount of health benefits that Glutathione has to offer, so many that it’s almost impossible to list them all. That’s why we’re going to focus on the main health benefits that Glutathione has to offer
Improved Immune System Functioning
Did you know that Glutathione is one of the most important parts of our immune system?
When our bodies don’t have a high enough Glutathione level, our immune systems don’t function properly. By increasing the levels of Glutathione in our bodies, your immune system has a much easier time fighting off illnesses and infection.
As your immune system works to fight off an infection, your body quickly runs through your Glutathione stores. Making sure that you supply your body with elevated levels of Glutathione when you’re sick will help to prepare your body to deal with any other illnesses. It’ll also make sure your health isn’t further compromised.
2. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Did you know that inflammation is considered to be the leading cause of the majority of diseases? Inflammation is a completely natural response in a healthy person’s immune system.
Prolonged exposure to inflammation can lead to chronic pain and severe health conditions.
Glutathione actually blocks the production of the majority of inflammatory cytokines; if you’re struggling with an inflammatory disease, cytokines actually keep your body in a state of low-grade inflammation.
Your body’s balance between minimized levels of Glutathione and free radicals controls the amount of toxicity found in your body, as well as how well your immune system functions. Reduced levels of Glutathione have been shown to increase a person’s chances of damaging their DNA!
3. Protects Your Body Against Heavy Metal
Did you know that Glutathione is a powerful chelator? This means that Glutathione transports and excretes toxic heavy metals out of your body.
As we age, our bodies begin to absorb an increased amount of heavy metals. The heavy metals come from the food we’re eating, from the products we’re putting on our bodies, and from the water we drink.
It does help your body out in the long run to reduce your exposure to toxic heavy metals. However, it’s nearly impossible to completely avoid exposure entirely.
Our bodies were not built with all of the necessary tools to chelate the heavy metals out there, which means that over time, heavy metals begin to accumulate in our bodies the older we get. Since toxic exposure to heavy metals damages our cells, many cognitive and neurological disorders are linked to prolonged exposure to heavy metals.
If your body has an adequate amount of Glutathione levels, your body is able to remove heavy metals, as well as reduce the damage and stress that exposure to heavy metal causes our cells!
4. Boosts the Health of Your Liver
Glutathione depends on the liver to regenerate it after it’s removed free radicals from our body. You’ll find a high concentration of Glutathione in your liver, which is the organ responsible for detoxifying our blood.
When you have a healthy level of Glutathione in your body, the stress put on your liver is greatly reduced. This means that if your liver has any sort of damage to it, it’ll have the opportunity to repair itself. Giving your liver the chance to heal itself will reduce your chances of having liver inflammation, which can lead to impaired liver function and liver cirrhosis.
Eating a poor diet, using products that contain high levels of heavy metals, and other lifestyle choices can compromise the health of your liver. By making sure that you eat a healthy diet and make other lifestyle choices that prioritize the health of your liver is one of the best choices you’ll make for your long-term health.
5. Improves Cognitive Health
Free radicals and heavy metals cause a lot of damage to our bodies, and when they’re not regulated by Glutathione, they’re especially hard to get out of our brains. Thanks to the selective permeability layer of blood around our brains, there’s only a certain selection of antioxidants that can pass through to our brains.
The antioxidants that can pass through the blood barrier surrounding our brains are responsible for repairing and detoxifying our brains! By making sure that we’re supplying our bodies with enough of these antioxidants, we can help to give our bodies the tools to prevent additional damage to our brains.
When levels of heavy metals start to accumulate in our bodies, our cognitive health is threatened. Exposing your brain to a year's worth of damage caused by heavy metals can lead to increasing your chances of Alzheimers, dementia, Parkinson's, and other neurodegenerative disorders.
By making sure that you’re supplying your body with enough Glutathione will help your brain to detoxify, making sure that heavy metals don’t get the chance to deposit in your brain.
Your Brain Needs Glutathione
Compared to the rest of your organs, your brain requires a tremendous amount of oxygen and energy to continue to function healthily. The downside of this is that because your brain needs so much oxygen, it’s at an increased risk of being exposed to damage caused by oxidation.
To be able to counteract the damage caused by oxidation, your brain depends on the help of Glutathione. Making sure that your Glutathione is at a healthy level can help to improve the quality of your sleep, increase your concentration levels, your memory, and can even help to improve your focus!
6. Protects Skin Health
In the skincare industry, Glutathione is well known for its anti-aging properties. You can easily find topical creams that contain Glutathione, which claim to improve the health of your skin and slow down signs of aging.
Uncontrolled levels of free radicals in your body can actually accelerate the aging of your skin! Skin is our body’s largest organ and is the first line of protection against disease and infection. That’s why your skin contains a larger amount of antioxidants than our deeper tissues do.
7. Reduces Cell Damage Caused by Fatty Liver Disease
The death of cells found in the liver can be encouraged by a lack of antioxidants in the body, including an inadequate source of Glutathione. The end result can be a case of fatty liver disease in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic people.
With the introduction of Glutathione, a study was able to find that protein, bilirubin, and enzyme levels were improved in the blood of people who had non-alcoholic and alcoholic chronic fatty liver disease.
8. Helps Uncontrolled Type 2 Diabetes
The higher blood sugar levels that Type 2 diabetic have lowers the level of Glutathione found in their bodies. This means that there’s a buildup of free radicals in their bodies, which may increase insulin resistance.
Not only does Glutathione levels in Type 2 diabetics help to lower their insulin resistance, but it can help to protect them against other complications caused by free radicals.
9. May Be a Treatment for Children with Autism
Recently, there have been several studies and clinical trials that have reported that children that have been diagnosed with autism have lower levels of Glutathione and higher levels of oxidative damage found in their brain. This is caused by neurological damage caused by harmful toxins and heavy metals.
Inflammation in the brain can lead to a lowered level of functioning, a reduced cognitive performance, and even an unwanted desire for sensations, which are all symptoms of one of the most common forms of autism.
The link between neuroinflammation and autism isn’t always caused by exposure to harmful factors from the environment. Some recent research has suggested that it could be caused by a child’s body improperly recycling Glutathione.
Low Glutathione Levels
Production of Glutathione naturally decreases as we age, but your Glutathione levels will also decrease if your body is constantly fighting against toxins.
Glutathione deficiency can actually increase your susceptibility to oxidative stress. When your body is low on Glutathione stores, you’re more susceptible to free radicals, disease, and infections. Not to mention that your liver becomes overwhelmed trying to filter all of the free radicals out of your body, which leaves it unable to detoxify your blood.
If you notice that you're feeling sick, constantly feel like your body is aching (for no reason), or you’re generally feeling run down, you most likely have low Glutathione levels. While Glutathione does naturally regenerate, if there’s toxic overload in your body, your Glutathione levels will become depleted.
How Do Glutathione Levels Become Depleted?
Aging, taking certain medications, eating a poor diet, and being stressed out for a prolonged period of time can deplete your Glutathione levels.
Living with autoimmune and chronic diseases will also quickly deplete Glutathione stores. Your body depends on Glutathione to fight against the inflammation caused by these conditions, but your body being depleted from Glutathione can actually make your body feel much worse. This can make the symptoms of your disease feel like they’re becoming unmanageable, at least until your stories of Glutathione are back.
How You Avoid Glutathione Depletion?
Are you worried that your Glutathione levels are depleted? Thankfully, there are many supplements available on the market that can help you to avoid Glutathione depletion and get your natural Glutathione stores back up and running!
Not consuming enough Cysteine (one of the complex proteins that go into making Glutathione) can actually prevent your body from producing a healthy level of Glutathione. When shopping around for a supplement to take, make sure to look for N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) to help boost the production of Glutathione in your body!
Are There Any Side Effects to Using a Glutathione Supplement?
Before taking any Glutathione supplement, we recommend talking to your doctor if you’re pregnant, nursing, have any existing health conditions, or are on any medications. You don’t have to worry about taking too much Glutathione, as it’s something that your body naturally produces, so you don’t have to worry about taking too much at once!
The most commonly reported side effects of taking a Glutathione supplement are:
Tips for Buying Glutathione
Are you interested in shopping around for Glutathione, but don’t know what you should look for to buy the best supplements available?You should look for supplements that contain Acetyl Glutathione, Liposomal Glutathione, or Reduced Glutathione in their ingredient list. This is because these forms of Glutathione are ready for your body to absorb and will instantly boost your Glutathione levels.
Supplements that are using ‘glutathione’ are most likely not using a reduced form of Glutathione. This is a cheaper, filler version of Glutathione. It doesn’t provide your body with any health-boosting benefits.
Make sure your supplement has a refined level of Glutathione in it. You should also check to see if it has any other nutrients to help your body recycle the synthesized version of Glutathione once it’s in its been oxidized.
A quality Glutathione supplement will contain Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), B Vitamins (such as Methylcobalamin and/or L-methylfolate), N Acetylcysteine (NAC), Magnesium, Vitamin E (either mixed or paired with alpha-tocopherols), Selenium, and Milk Thistle.
Other additions such a CoQ10, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D3 are also highly beneficial to have in a Glutathione supplement, as they help to improve the functioning of your healthy cells, while also improving your body’s natural Glutathione synthesis.
Here’s a breakdown of how these supplements fight against free radicals:
N-acetylcysteine (NCA): This helps to increase the production of Glutathione.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): Important for the health of the mitochondria of your cells
NADH: Helps to regulate the cycle of energy that each cell produces
Alpha-lipoic acid: A natural antioxidant, this helps to increase the amount of energy that the mitochondria in your cells produce
Want to make sure your body is producing as much Glutathione as possible? Make sure your Glutathione supplement is mixed with the above-listed supplements! Glutathione: Why You Need More
Everything we listed above is only a small piece of the nearly infinite Glutathione health benefits. Thankfully, our bodies do produce their own levels of Glutathione naturally. As we age, our Glutathione levels drop, which leaves us even more vulnerable to infection, toxins, and damaging cells.
Are you looking to increase your protection against certain diseases, inflammation? Or are you just interested in keeping your body’s Glutathione levels up as you age?
Adding in a Glutathione supplement into your life could benefit your body. You may not notice immediate results from using a Glutathione supplement. Over time, it’ll help to reduce your levels of oxidative stress and keep you healthier in the long run!
Maintaining optimal health doesn’t have to stress you out. Keeping yourself healthy can be easy by adding in a Glutathione supplement into your daily lifestyle.
Looking to get a Glutathione patch? Click here to check out our selection of patches!
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