What is glutathione?
Glutathione is involved in the natural detoxification process of the body. It is found in the highest concentration in the liver and the brain; however, it is also found in every organ. Glutathione is the most important and powerful antioxidant in our body.
What is an antioxidant?
An antioxidant is a molecule that helps repair cellular damage from free radicals. Our body makes normal amounts of free radicals from essential living processes such as breathing and eating. It is of concern when there is an excess amount of free radicals being produced because it can damage parts of our cells. Excessive free radical production can be caused by smoke inhalation, environmental pollutants, radiation, pesticides, fried food, inflammation, industrial solvents and overeating. The job of an antioxidant is to find these free radicals, excrete them out of the body or transform them into molecules that are no longer toxic.
What are sources of antioxidants?
There are several natural sources of antioxidants ranging from vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and carotenoids. Many of these nutrients are found in food sources such as citrus fruits, colorful vegetables, avocados and seeds. If your body isn’t getting adequate sources of these types of antioxidants, your glutathione molecules will start to take over “easy detoxification” and get depleted quickly. Glutathione is naturally produced in your body, but less than optimal values or depletion of the molecule can occur depending on each individuals' “toxic load”.
What decreases glutathione levels?
- Increasing age
- Alcohol consumption
- Poor diet
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Chronic stress
- Lack of exercise
- A1 casein (found in majority of dairy products)
How to Increase Glutathione?
- Adequate sleep
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet
- Increase consumption of selenium rich foods (e.g: Brazil nuts)
- Consume cruciferous vegetables often (e.g: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale)
- Consume sulfur rich foods (e.g: garlic, onions, leeks, scallions)
- Avoid sugar
- Liposomal glutathione (for increased absorption)
- N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) - helps make glutathione in the body
A message from the author, Julia Roller:
Hello! I am a current student studying chiropractic care at National University of Health Sciences. I graduated from University of Nebraska with a Bachelor’s in Nutrition and Dietetics. I had the privilege to swim for the university, which further inspired me to continue my education toward manual therapy. The majority of my education has been focused on how to treat chronic disease or chronic problems. I started to get frustrated with the fact that so many people struggle with chronic back problems and chronic health problems. This inspired me to further my education with acupuncture and a functional medicine program, which I am currently enrolled in. The health world can be hard to navigate with many opinions or biased research on the Internet. My goal is to empower individuals with evidence-based research so that we all can start preventing and healing disease and chronic pain.
Briden, L., & Prior, J. C. (2018). Period repair manual: natural treatment for better hormones and better periods. Greenpeak Publishing.