Coined “The Mother of All Antioxidants” by Mark Hyman, MD, glutathione is one of the hottest topics in both natural health and medical circles today. Pronounced “gloota-thigh- own,” nearly 117,000 articles have addressed this powerhouse molecule, and experts are now recognizing that an alarming rate of people are deficient because of:
- Pre-mature aging
- Chronic stress
- Environmental toxins
- So-called “health foods”
- Genetically modified foods
- Overuse of antibiotics
- And radiation therapy
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione (GSH) is a peptide consisting of three key amino acids that plays several vital roles in the body. Longevity researchers believe that it is so crucial to our health that the level of GSH in our cells is becoming a predictor of how long we will live!
The key to understanding why GSH is so important for our health is realizing that every cell in our bodies produces it. In the words of Gustavo Bounous, MD, retired professor of surgery at McGill University in Montreal,
“It’s the [body’s] most important antioxidant because it’s within the cell.”
Although it is absolutely essential to maintaining a healthy immune system, it is not technically an “essential nutrient” because the body can create it from the amino acids L- cysteine, L-glutamic acid and glycine.Some of the functions that GSH is responsible for include:
- Conjugates (“links together”) with drugs to make them more digestible.
- Is a cofactor (“helper molecule”) for some important enzymes including glutathioneperoxidase (which protects you from oxidative damage).
- Is involved in protein disulfide bond rearrangement (which is critical for the biogenesis of 1/3 of all human proteins).
- Reduces peroxides (natural bleaching agents that are harmful to the body).
- Participates in leukotriene production (vital component for inflammatory and hypersensitivity reactions).
- Helps the liver detoxify fat before bile is emitted, which takes stress off of the gallbladder.
- Helps detoxify methylglyoxal, a toxin produced as a by-product of metabolism.
- Cancer apoptosis (“programmed cell death”).
Because of this, you can see why it’s important to know and raise your levels constantly!
Boost Your Glutathione Levels
It’s all about the foods you eat. But as mentioned above, your body simply needs the raw materials with which to make glutathione. Other foods help to create a hospitable environment in your body that facilitates the production of glutathione.