Glutathione: the Best Antioxidant You’ve Never Heard Of
Isn’t it amazing that glutathione – the key detoxifying agent in our body that is essential for healthy liver – is virtually unknown? The recent years have seen an explosion of research on glutathione, but the discoveries haven’t reached the wide public yet. Let’s remedy this!
Everyone has heard that we need antioxidants to fight freeradicals and stay young and strong, but most people have a vague idea of this process. This gives rise to a huge industry of antioxidant and detox treatments that promise to clean your body in a few days. Do not believe such marketing tricks!
The endogenous antioxidant
It is true that oxidation produces waste products called free radicals, and they can be harmful in large quantities, speeding up aging and increasing the risk of cancer. Antioxidants indeed help prevent this, though an excess of antioxidants can be bad for you (learn more). Among the most famous antioxidants are vitamins A, C, and E. All these cannot be produced by our body, we have to get them with food.
Glutathione, by contrast, is endogenous – our own body produces it. Its antioxidant effect is powerful, enhancing that of vitamins, but glutathione deficiency is very common. This is a serious cause for concern, because glutathione plays a major role in our health – here is a short list:
- Liver. Recent research shows that glutathione does a great job treating fatty liver disease: it improves the metabolic processes in the liver and helps remove toxins.
- Brain. This organ suffers most from oxidative stress, especially in old age. Apart from supporting cognitive functions, glutathione may even be used to treat Alzheimer disease (details here).
- Immune system. Healthy glutathione levels help the body defend itself against infections and environmental toxins.
- Cancer prevention. Numerous studies prove that glutathione deficiency makes cells more vulnerable to free radicals, and that is one of the risk factors for cancer (more info here).
Where do you get it?
Naturally, anyone suffering from fatty liver should now be ready to run and buy glutathione supplements. They are offered on the market, but there is a problem: glutathione is broken down and not absorbed, so taking it orally is useless! Instead, you need to help your body produce more glutathione.
- Foods rich in sulfur (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, etc.) – glutathione is formed by three aminoacids that contain sulphur, and its lack is one of the main causes for glutathione deficiency (more details here);
- B vitamins – your body cannot make glutathione without B6, B9, and B12; they are best found in beans, chickpeas, lentils, and liver;
- Vitamins C (oranges, bell peppers, and leafy greens) and E (avocados, nuts, fish) – strong antioxidants in their own right, they work together with glutathione to slow aging and prevent disease;
- Silymarin, or milk thistle – this humble flower has long been used as a liver tonic, and studies support its efficiency. You can easily buy its extract.
As we have seen, though our body naturally pruduces glutathione, many factors can cause its depletion, leading to liver issues and faster aging. There is nothing difficult in keeping glutathione levels up, however; follow our advice and use your body’s own powers to detox!