By David Humphrey
President & CEO
Kirkman Group, Inc.
Many leading medical doctors are beginning to talk about the benefits of proper levels of glutathione.
- Mark Hyman, M.D., one of the influential doctors in functional medicine calls glutathione the “mother” of all antioxidants1. He says he takes it every day.
- Dr. Joe Mercola, with 4 million registered internet followers says, “Glutathione is your body’s most powerful antioxidant and has even been called “the master antioxidant.” 2
- Director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center, Dr. Katz MD recently came on the popular Dr. Oz Show on television to talk about this mysterious antioxidant. Dr. Katz says “it is one that our body makes itself, to help clean itself of toxins. It attaches itself to bad cells that have been oxidized by free radicals or something, and removes them. If we don’t have enough glutathione, then our bodies can’t be as healthy,”3 she said.
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione is technically a tripeptide, which can be thought of as being like a very small protein, as it is made up of only three amino acids (while proteins are made up of many more). It is present naturally in every cell of the body, as well as in the blood, the bile and the fluid lining the lungs.
The liver is normally the main producer of glutathione in the body4. Glutathione is capable of stopping damage caused by reactive oxygen species to important cellular components such as free radicals, peroxides, lipid peroxides, and heavy metals.5
Good News! We Make Glutathione
The good news is that your body makes glutathione on its own.6 You can boost your own production with a few fixes.
Your body creates glutathione inside your cells. It uses three other amino acids as building blocks. Those amino acids are cysteine, glycine, and glutamine7. Out of the three, cysteine is usually in the shortest supply in your body.
Cysteine by itself works as a supplement. Cysteine helps you quickly restore your levels of glutathione. Look for the form N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) and alpha lipoic acid8. Make sure you take it with plenty of vitamin C to prevent kidney stones.
Nutrients Can Help Glutathione Production
There are also other nutrients that are vital to boosting your levels, especially selenium, vitamin D-3, and B-vitamins. Look for folate (as 5-methyltetrahydrofolate),vitamin B-6, and vitamin B-12 (methylcobalamin).[iv]These are very important in helping you create your master antioxidant9.
The foods you eat are important, too. Sulphur-rich foods boost your levels. Try kale, onions, garlic, cauliflower, and broccoli. Asparagus, peppers, grapefruit, grass-fed beef, and avocados are good choices, too10. Raw, fresh vegetables and fruits have much higher amounts than cooked ones.
Increasing your glutathione levels is critical. If you don’t have enough glutathione, your liver will lose against free radicals and heavy metals11. Protecting our body’s cells from environmental toxicity must be an ongoing commitment. Unfortunately parents, especially mothers, pass their toxic load onto their children.
Supporting detoxification pathways with increased levels of glutathione, minimizing toxic exposure and healthy diet protects fetuses as they develop. It is also an important strategy to continue into adolescence because the brain continues to develop throughout children’s lives.
1Essential Glutathione: The Mother of All Antioxidants – Dr. Mark Hyman. (2010, May 19). Retrieved from http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/05/19/glutathione-the-mother-of-all-antioxidants/
2Glutathione in Whey Protein By Dr. Mercola & Ori Hofmekler. (2010, April 10). Retrieved from https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/04/10/can-you-use-food-to-increase-glutathione-instead-of-supplements.aspx
3Dr. Oz Reveals Glutathione Is A Secret SuperHero of Antioxidants. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.current-movie-reviews.com/22352/dr-oz-reveals-glutathione-is-a-secret-superhero-of-antioxidants
4 Glutathione Information: What is GSH, Biochemistry, Metabolism, and Mechanism of Action. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.essentialgsh.com/glutathione.html
5Pompella A, Visvikis A, Paolicchi A, De Tata V, Casini AF (October 2003). “The changing faces of glutathione, a cellular protagonist”. Biochemical Pharmacology. 66 (8): 1499–503
6What is Glutathione and How Do I Get More of It? – Dr. Mark Hyman. (2010, May 12). Retrieved from http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/05/12/what-is-glutathione-and-how-do-i-get-more-of-it/
7 White CC, Viernes H, Krejsa CM, Botta D, Kavanagh TJ (July 2003). “Fluorescence-based microtiter plate assay for glutamate-cysteine ligase activity”. Analytical Biochemistry.
8Zhang J, Zhou X, Wu W, Wang J, Xie H, Wu Z (2017). “Regeneration of glutathione by α-lipoic acid via Nrf2/ARE signaling pathway alleviates cadmium-induced HepG2 cell toxicity”. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 51: 30–37
9Glutathione: The Mother of All Antioxidants. (2010, June 10). Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/glutathione-the-mother-of_b_530494.html
10 Boost Glutathione and Optimize Life. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://netnutritionist.com/boost-glutathione-and-optimize-life/
11 Zhang J, Zhou X, Wu W, Wang J, Xie H, Wu Z (2017). “Regeneration of glutathione by α-lipoic acid via Nrf2/ARE signaling pathway alleviates cadmium-induced HepG2 cell toxicity”. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 51: 30–37.