Gluta..what? Why You Need Glutathione
March 1, 2021
The term “antioxidant” is thrown around a lot, but did you know that one, in particular, has massive implications for the entire body?
Enter glutathione, also known as the master antioxidant because it’s the most abundant one naturally produced within the body. Glutathione is created from the amino acids glutamine, glycine, and cysteine, but we can lose adequate levels from things like a poor diet, stress, toxins, medications, radiation, and generally as we age.
Like all antioxidants, glutathione combats free radicals, but it also does so much more. It plays a super important role in the detoxification process, binding to things like heavy metals and toxins so that they become more water-soluble and can be more easily excreted. It’s also major for respiratory health, one of the body’s first immune defenses against invaders, and it’s key for making and maintaining white blood cells so that the immune system can do its thing.
Glutathione is also needed for protein folding, regeneration of vitamins C and E, maintaining proper mitochondrial function, and more. In treating patients for decades, I have discovered that glutathione deficiency is found in nearly all chronically ill patients. These include people with chronic fatigue syndrome, heart disease, cancer, chronic infections, autoimmune disease, diabetes, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, asthma, kidney problems, and liver disease among others. And it’s now being recognized that low glutathione reserves may contribute to more severe COVID-19 symptoms and risk of death.
So, if we’re losing glutathione due to aging and modern-day life, how can we get our levels to a better place? Here are three ways to boost your glutathione production:
1. Consume sulfur-rich foods. The main ones in the diet are garlic, onions, and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, cauliflower, watercress, etc.). This is one reason why the Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce oxidative stress and benefit health in so many ways.
2. Exercise. Physical activity boosts your glutathione levels and thereby helps boost your immune system, improve detoxification, and enhance your body’s antioxidant defenses. Start 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.
3. Take the right kind of supplements. Not just any old glutathione supplement will do the job. Liposomal glutathione is the form that has been shown to actually improve the body’s glutathione reserves, which is why I use it in my Detox formula as part of my 10 Day Reset program.
Glutathione is essential for achieving optimal health on all levels. I hope you’ll use these tips to make it your healthiest year yet.
To your best health,
Mark Hyman, MD