Defend yourself with antioxidants and glutathione

409 antioxidants and glutathione

You’ve probably seen antioxidant labels on foods and supplements, but what does it mean exactly and what is the best antioxidant to choose? Antioxidant means it prevents oxidation, a process that happens to all cells in nature, including those in the human body. Oxidation happens when oxygen interacts with cells and it’s what makes an apple turn brown, metal rust, or food go rotten. In the body oxidation is a normal part of cell turnover. However, a small minority of oxidized cells become problematic “free radicals” that set off a chain reaction of damage, causing cells to mutate and behave abnormally. Free radicals reach us through pesticides, air pollution, cigarette smoke, excess alcohol, sunburn, junk foods, etc.

The defense? Antioxidants. And our most powerful antioxidant is one the body makes called glutathione. To stay a step ahead of modern civilization we need to avoid free radicals as much as possible, eat an antioxidant-rich diet, and make sure our body is sufficient in glutathione.

The best source of antioxidants in the diet are colorful fresh fruits and vegetables. Since different plants contain different types of antioxidants, it’s important to eat a wide variety. Many supplements are also geared toward shoring up your body’s antioxidant supply.

Glutathione: The master antioxidant

Glutathione is such a powerful antioxidant it is called the master antioxidant. Glutathione protects cells from free radicals, is important for detoxification, and supports immune health. Many people with autoimmune conditions find plenty of glutathione is necessary to prevent or dampen autoimmune flares.

  • Low glutathione raises your risk for:
  • Autoimmune disease and autoimmune flares
  • Chemical sensitivities
  • Heavy metal sensitivities
  • Inflammatory disorders
  • Intestinal permeability (leaky gut)
  • Other immune issues

Stress lowers glutathione levels

When we are healthy, when life is mellow, and when we eat a whole foods organic diet and avoid the use of toxic products, our bodies make sufficient glutathione. However, chronic stress depletes glutathione levels. This stress can come from toxins, poor diet, lack of sleep, smoking, excess sugar, and other stressors. Glutathione levels also decrease naturally as a result of aging.

Straight glutathione is not effective taken orally. Good deliveries of glutathione include a liposomal cream, nebulizer, suppository, or IV drip. However, S-acetyl glutathione is a newer form of glutathione that can be quite effective in helping to manage autoimmune disease when taken orally.

Glutathione recycling raises glutathione inside the cells

You can also raise glutathione levels inside the cells by taking certain precursor nutrients. This will help protect the cells’ mitochondria, which produce energy. Recycling glutathione means taking glutathione that has already been used and rebuilding it so it’s ready for action again. Good glutathione recycling will help you better manage an autoimmune disease and leaky gut.

The compounds that have been shown to support glutathione recycling include:

  • N-acetyl-cysteine
  • Alpha-lipoic acid
  • L-glutamine
  • Selenium
  • Cordyceps
  • Gotu kola
  • Milk thistle

Boosting your antioxidant status and glutathione levels can play a profound role in managing autoimmune disease, inflammation, chemical sensitivities, food sensitivities, etc.

To learn more about how to increase your antioxidant and glutathione support, contact my office for advice.

Protect your body from disease with glutathione

protect body with glutathione

Modern life inflicts constant assaults on our bodies in the way of industrialized foods, environmental toxins, chronic stress, lack of sleep, and even electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) from cell phones and computers. Our best defense to protect health is to shore up glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant.

Although the body naturally makes and recycles glutathione, modern life can overwhelm this system, depleting us of this vital compound. When glutathione is low the body is more vulnerable to disease and damage, and your risk for disease rises.

Glutathione as a supplement is not well absorbed by the digestive tract. Fortunately, many nutritional compounds act as building blocks to glutathione, and can help raise and maintain its levels inside and outside of cells. You can also obtain glutathione intravenously.

Below are some of many nutritional compounds that have been shown to boost glutathione levels.

  • N-acetyl-cysteine is a very bioavailable building block to glutathione.
     
  • Alpha lipoic acid helps recycle glutathione already in the cells.
     
  • Milk thistle boosts glutathione.
     
  • Methylation nutrients–methyl folate (5-MTHF), methyl B6 (P5P) and methyl B12 (methylcobalmin)–are methyl forms of B vitamins can help boost glutathione production and recycling.
     
  • Selenium helps the body produce and recycle glutathione.
     
  • Vitamin C help increase glutathione levels.

Diet and lifestyle factors can also affect your glutathione levels. Sulfur-rich foods such as garlic, onions, broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, cauliflower, and watercress can help boost glutathione. If you can tolerate dairy, whey protein has been shown to increase glutathione (choose bioactive, non-denatured, non-pasteurized, and non-industrially produced whey). Exercise also boosts glutathione; get aerobic exercise daily (such as walking) and strength train two to three times a week.

Preserve glutathione to prevent disease

One of the most important ways to maintain your glutathione levels is to reduce stress on your body. Glutathione’s job is to protect the cells, whether it’s from an autoimmune disease, sleep deprivation, or the toxic ingredients in scented detergents and fabric softeners. Healthy glutathione levels reduce your risk of developing chronic and autoimmune disease as well as food and chemical sensitivities. It is also an excellent anti-aging compound.

Following are some strategies to prevent depletion of glutathione.

  • Find out what your food intolerances are and remove those foods from your diet. Many people are not aware that they are intolerant to common foods, such as bread or cheese. An elimination diet or a lab test can help you determine which foods are stressing your immune system and taxing glutathione reserves.
     
  • Eat an all-natural, whole foods diet. Processed foods and fast foods contain chemical additives, genetically altered foods, antibiotics, hormones, excess sugar, and other ingredients that are stressful to the body and deplete glutathione.
     
  • Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is very stressful. If you have issues sleeping, it is often secondary to something else. Contact my office for help.
     
  • Manage your autoimmune disease. An autoimmune or chronic disease, such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, or diabetes keeps the immune system on overdrive and damages tissue, depleting glutathione. Ask my office how we can help you manage your autoimmunity.
     
  • Reduce your exposure to toxins and pollutants. Many common environmental chemicals are toxic to the body. They are found in shampoos, body products, household cleaners, lawn care products, and so on. We have enough to deal with in terms of pollutants in air and water, minimize your exposure to them in the home.
     
  • EMFs are a source of “electrical pollution.” Cell phones, computers, WiFi, and other electronics are stressful to the body and exposure should be minimized.