Many experts refer to glut (pronounced “
Glutathione is the MOTHER of all antioxidants. An antioxidant is a substance that removes potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism, that is to say, it fights the bad guys within the body and plays a primary role in the protection of all cells from daily metabolic stress, and toxic chemicals. Glutathione is critical for one simple reason -it recycles antioxidants.
In our previous blog, “Why Is Glutathione So Vital” we discussed the pivotal role glutathione plays in our overall health. (In case you haven’t seen part 1, click here to read to it now…)
Focus On A Diet Rich In Colourful Fruits And Vegetables
I’m a big fan of having our needs met through our diet. That said, this involves sourcing organic foods (high in nutrition and free of pesticides) where-ever possible. Organic fruits and vegetables and their rich source of antioxidant phytochemicals and nutrients spare the use of glutathione and help to keep cellular levels high. At times, it is not feasible or possible to purchase organic produce and food items and that is when the following steps become even more important.
Focus On Sulfur-Rich Foods
Sulfur is an important mineral that occurs naturally in some plant and protein foods and is required for the synthesis of glutathione.
A number of human and animal studies have found that eating sulfur-rich vegetables may reduce oxidative stress by increasing glutathione levels5.
- Onions and garlic
- Vegetables such as broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, cauliflower, watercress, asparagus, and parsley
- Poultry, beef, and fish
- Egg yolks
- Cinnamon, cardamom, and curcumin also offer benefits.
- Non-denatured bioactive whey protein (not tolerated in all people)
I am not a fan of dairy, but bioactive whey protein is a source of cysteine and the amino acid building blocks for glutathione synthesis. If this appeals to you then please ensure that you are getting the good stuff! Choose organic, non-pasteurized and non-industrially produced milk that contains no pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics creating a whey protein that is bioactive and made from non-denatured proteins (“denaturing” refers to the breakdown of the normal protein structure).
Exercise boosts your glutathione levels and thereby helps boost your immune system, improve detoxification and enhance your body’s own antioxidant defenses. Regular physical activity, specifically cardio and weight training, seems to help increase glutathione levels. Completing a combination of both cardio and circuit weight training increases glutathione the most, compared to completing cardio or weight training alone.6
An overly aggressive exercise program right out of the gate can do more harm than good and inadvertently facilitate the production of those health-harming free radicals – so, don’t over-do it! Overtraining without a balanced diet and proper rest can deplete your levels.7
Eat Foods High In Glutathione
Dietary glutathione tends to be poorly absorbed by the human body. Additionally, cooking and storage conditions can decrease the amount of glutathione found in food. Despite not being able to massively increase our glutathione levels, glutathione-rich foods may help decrease oxidative stress. Dietary sources of glutathione include spinach, avocados, asparagus, and okra.
Check-In On Your Liver
Glutathione is the single most powerful antioxidant your body produces and recycles. It’s made in the liver, the organ most responsible for detoxifying your body, so optimal liver function is absolutely essential. If your liver isn’t functioning well, glutathione production suffers, toxins overwhelm it and illness, both short term and long, are not far behind.
If you feel like you’ve never placed much attention on your liver or detoxifying it, make sure you read our blogs on liver health and consider two simple but effective products like these below to help lighten the load on your liver.
Watch Your Toxic Load
One of the simplest ways to boost your glutathione levels is to decrease your intake of toxins! Be that via the creams and sprays you use on your skin and hair, toxins in the water you drink or the food you eat, even the air you breathe. The more conscious we become of how we take on toxins the more we can
Easy ways to cut down exposure include: buying organic foods where possible, filtering your water; using gentler organic or homemade, natural cleaning products; reducing the use of personal care products; switching to glass for food storage and reheating.
Alcohol is one toxin we can easily
Wrangle Your Stress
Unmanaged, chronic stress depletes glutathione. Commit to keeping your stress levels under control! Take stress down a few notches with calming practices like meditation, mindfulness exercises, restorative yoga or tai chi.
Get Enough Sleep
It seems that chronic lack of sleep can cause a decrease in glutathione levels. While getting enough sleep on a regular basis can help increase or maintain your levels.
A study measuring glutathione levels in 30 healthy people and 30 people with insomnia found that glutathione peroxidase activity was significantly lower in those with insomnia.9 Multiple animal studies have also shown that sleep deprivation causes a decrease in glutathione levels.10
Get Your Vitamin C
Vitamin C plays a vital role in maintaining glutathione levels. For this reason, eating foods high in vitamin C or taking vitamin C supplements may help increase glutathione levels in your body.
Get Your Selenium.
Selenium important mineral helps the body recycle and produce more glutathione.
Your body relies on selenium, an important mineral, for many of its basic functions, from reproduction to fighting infection. The amount of selenium in different foods depends on the amount of selenium in the soil where the food was grown. Rain, evaporation, pesticides, and pH levels can all affect selenium levels in the soil.
Brazil nuts are your best source of selenium followed by beef, chicken, fish, organ meats, cottage cheese, and brown rice.
Supplements Or Supporting Supplements
To achieve optimal levels of glutathione, I also recommend supplementation.
Glutathione is created in the body from glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine. Taking these amino acids can help the body naturally produce more, but the following products are my preferred supporting supplements because the production and recycling of glutathione in the body, requires many different nutrients.
Glutathione itself as a supplement is thought to be safe for all adults, tests have not been done however on pregnant women to claim safety in pregnancy. Speak to your health care provider about appropriateness in pregnancy otherwise focus on food sources of glutathione and supporting supplements that help manufacture glutathione.
While not essential, I take the following supplements a few times a week. I ramp it up when I’m flying and traveling a lot. Also when I have a heavy work load and am not getting enough sleep or exercise.
S-Acetyl Glutathione Supplement.
When purchasing a glutathione supplement, make sure you’re getting acetyl glutathione to ensure bioavailability – and reap maximum benefit. I like S-Acetyl Glutathione GOLD because unlike other brands it does not contain the additive magnesium stearate or stearic acid which are thought to potentially inhibit absorption of key nutrients. It supports healthy cell function, healthy aging, detoxification, and healthy immune responses. While supporting amino acid transport across cell membranes. It works to enhance the antioxidant activity of vitamins c and e.
Methylation nutrients (folate and vitamins B6 and B12).
Methylation and the production and recycling of glutathione are the two most important biochemical functions in your body. Methylation nutrients are perhaps the most critical to keep the body producing glutathione. Take folate (especially in the active form of 5
Alpha lipoic acid.
This is a close second to glutathione in importance in our cells and is involved in energy production, blood sugar control, brain health, and detoxification. The body usually makes Alpha lipoic acid, but given all the stresses we are under, we often become depleted.
Milk Thistle (Silymarin).
Milk Thistle has long been used in liver disease and helps boost glutathione levels. I love sourcing my Milk Thistle as a tea.
Numerous animal and test-tube studies have shown that turmeric and curcumin extract has the ability to increase glutathione levels.11 Researchers conclude that the curcumin found in turmeric may assist in restoring adequate levels of glutathione and improve the activity of glutathione enzymes.
To experience an increase in glutathione levels, you would need to take turmeric extract, as it would be extremely difficult to consume the same levels of curcumin with turmeric spice.
All Said And Done
Here’s the main take home:
Glutathione is a super important antioxidant that neutralizes and clears heavy metals and toxins from the body. Protects our DNA from damage, tampers down inflammation and helps fend off heart disease, cancer, neurological decline, dementia and many more of the debilitating diseases. It maintains optimal immunity and keeps our mitochondria pumping. It’s therefore incredibly important we maintain our glutathione levels.
If we are mindful, there are ways as outlined, that we can maintain and boost our glutathione levels through diet, lifestyle habits, and supplementation.
We hope you’ve found this article useful in securing your health.
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