The power of glutathione cannot be overstated
As the dangerous effects of free radicals and the benefits of antioxidants become better known, the medical literature is showing a better understanding of the roles of both free radicals and antioxidants in disease states and in the prevention of disease.
No doubt, if you have any familiarity with antioxidants,you have heard of glutathione. Glutathione is one of the most powerful antioxidants in the body. It plays a critical role in detoxification and controlling inflammation.
Low levels of glutathione have been associated with several disease states including Parkinson’s disease, autoimmune disorders, high blood pressure, macular degeneration, and a number of neurodegenerative disorders.
A large body of research has been devoted to investigating ways to increase levels at the cellular level. All of the studies have pointed to limiting alcohol consumption, as alcohol is quite taxing on the glutathione system.
Taking glutathione as a supplement has had mixed results. When taken orally, it does not appear to increase cellular levels of glutathione. IV glutathione is of benefit, but the half-life is very short and,therefore, it needs to be taken quite often.
The rate-limiting step in the formation of glutathione is the amino acid cysteine. The supplement N-acetylcysteine, or NAC, has been shown to be beneficial, as has the supplement SAMe for those who cannot tolerate the NAC.
Foods that help increase glutathione levels tend to be sulfur rich foods containing the three amino acids that make up glutathione: cysteine, glycine, and methionine.
These include proteins such as fish and poultry, tomatoes, strawberries, grapefruit, and all the cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and mustard greens. Sleep and exercise are also essential to the body’s ability to produce glutathione.
The power of this antioxidant cannot be overstated. It is in your best interest to keep your levels high not only in the quest for longevity, but also for quality of life.
Dr. Warren Willey is a Pocatello physician. Visit his website at http://drwilley.com.