Glutathione plays an extremely important role in protecting liver cells, red blood cells, and many other types of cells against toxic injury. Made of three amino acids (cysteine, glycine, and glutamine), glutathione functions as a powerful antioxidant. It scavenges free radicals that damage cells, produce inflammation, and are causally related to many chronic illnesses.
Used by every cell and tissue in the body, glutathione plays an important part in many physiological processes:
- boosts the action of other antioxidants
- supports nutrient metabolism
- supports immune response
- facilitates processes that neutralize drugs, chemicals, metabolic waste, and other toxins
A deficiency of glutathione contributes to oxidative stress which plays a key role in aging and the development of diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular diseases, and respiratory conditions, to name a few.
For general health, the best approach to boost glutathione levels in the body is to increase the presence of nutrients that support glutathione production. This is best accomplished through a whole foods diet that includes foods such as almonds, walnuts, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, garlic, onions, and avocado.
Eating foods rich in B vitamins and selenium also supports the body’s natural glutathione levels. This includes beets, garbanzo beans, lentils, and spinach for the B vitamins. For selenium, include foods such as wild-caught yellowfin tuna, halibut, grass-fed/organic turkey and beef.
In order to gain the best benefit from an oral glutathione supplement, there are two important things to consider: the form and the cofactors (helpers). The best forms are L-glutathione, acetyl glutathione or liposomal glutathione. The cofactors that help the body absorb and use it include N acetyl-L-cysteine, B vitamins, selenium, magnesium, alpha-lipoic acid, and vitamin C. Deciding on the appropriate dose and form of glutathione is based on many personal health factors that make it challenging for the consumer to know what to use. Consider working with a healthcare practitioner to determine what is best for you.
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- Medscape. “Pulmonary Diseases and Respiratory-Related Conditions With Inhaled (Nebulized or Aerosolized) Glutathione.” Accessed September 18, 2017. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/574687
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