Glutathione: The Most Powerful Antioxidant
Glutathione is our most powerful antioxidant; in fact it is called the mother of all antioxidants. Why is it that so few of us have ever heard about it and its importance in maintaining proper health and preventing degenerative diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and even heart disease?
Our bodies make it naturally but several factors can affect its production. Factors such as toxins, pollutions, stress, radiation, poor diet and even medications can deplete our ability to produce glutathione.
It is estimated that Americans are 90% deficient in Glutathione. If the levels get too low are cells will die. Research has shown that individuals diagnosed with autism and cancers have low levels.
WHAT IS AN ANTIOXIDANT?
The human body naturally produces free radicals which are typically highly reactive molecules looking for an electron to make it more stable. When the body is under oxidative stress it produces more free radicals which can lead to a range of diseases like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia and even premature aging. Antioxidants assist the body by donating an electron to minimize the damaging effects of these free radicals.
Glutathione has over one million electrons to donate as compared to other antioxidants like Vitamin C has 5 and Vitamin E has 3.
TWO FORMS OF GLUTATHIONE
Glutathione is a combination of cysteine, glycine and glutamine. Commonly N-Acetyl Cysteine is prescribed as a supplement because is it a precursor of glutathione.
Glutathione is our most powerful free radical scavenger. It is extremely effective in removing heavy metals and other toxins. However, the whole system has become overloaded with a bombardment of toxins on a daily basis. Eventually, the liver becomes ineffective at detoxifying and it hinders are ability to eliminate these toxins often times causing us to recirculate them back into our system.
There are two types of glutathione, the active and inactive form. The active form is commonly called GSH and the inactive form is called GSSG.
It takes the body a lot of energy (ATP) to make glutathione so the body has the ability to recycle it from the GSSG form to the GSH or active form. Healthy individuals have more GSH than GSSG.
To recycle glutathione it requires alpha lipoic acid, milk thistle, cordyceps and selenium.
GENETICS AND GLUTATHIONE
With all of our chronic patients we address their genetics looking at factors such as methylation, detoxification and glutathione production and recycling. It is very common to have genetic snps (single nuclear polymorphisms) in the GSTM1 and the GSTP1. It has been estimated that 33% of the population have an issue with these genes making them more susceptible or prone to further oxidative stress and potential degenerative disease.
In these situations the body must neutralize the free radicals so we recommend taking glutathione.
GLUTATHIONE AND ABSORPTION
Glutathione is not absorbed very well in the digestive tract rendering oral consumption not very effective. Some of our patients have opted for glutathione injections. These injections provide benefits in the beginning but ultimately lead to a crash a few months down the road due to its inability to have a measurable effect on the cell. The cell is ultimately what must change for optimum health to occur.
We recommend liposomal glutathione. This is better absorbed in the digestive tract and a key in assisting the body in the restoration of health.
There are a few companies that we recommend: Quicksilver and Systemic Formulas for their liposomal glutathione.
When initially taking glutathione it will raise your glutathione levels within the cell causing a release of toxins. It is important that we use a supplement to bind the toxins to eliminate them so they do not get recycled back with the glutathione. Clays and carbons are natural binders to assist the body in eliminating these toxins from the digestive tract.
We recommend BIND from Systemic Formulas or Colon Caps from Biotics.
WAYS TO NATURALLY INCREASE GLUTATHIONE PRODUCTION
- NAC- A supplement which is a precursor to glutathione
- Sulfur containing foods such as broccoli, kale, garlic, onions and collards
- Whey Protein: All natural no hormones, grass fed, natural sugars
- Exercise 20—30 minutes per day
- Supplements like Selenium, milk thistle, alpha lipoic acid, B12, folate and B6
I recommend Glutathione as one of my foundational supplements that should be taken on a daily basis. It is essential in helping prevent chronic degenerative conditions and diseases.