While Glutathione (GSH) was discovered in 1888, the enormous importance of this molecule in the body has only recently become understood. Glutathione is commonly referred to as a “master antioxidant” and has the ability to recycle almost every other antioxidant, and even itself. Antioxidants are critically important for a number of reasons, and play the vital role of preventing damage to important cellular components from free radical species or peroxides. Hence, a molecule which can recycle antioxidants is highly valuable in the body.
What Does Glutathione Do?
Glutathione is a relatively simple molecule that is constantly produced naturally in your body. It is a combination of three amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) – cysteine, glycine and glutamine. So what makes Glutathione so powerful? The key to the success of this small molecule are the sulphur (SH) groups it contains. Sulfur is a sticky molecule, which “collects” numerous harmful substances in the body such as cancer-causing free radicals and toxins such as mercury and other heavy metals.
Glutathione is not just responsible for heavy metal detoxification. In addition to this role, Glutathione plays numerous essential roles in keeping the body healthy:
- Reducing inflammation – Glutathione promotes the continued healthy function of the immune system by significantly reducing inflammation. Inflammation plays a critically damaging role in a vast number of serious diseases and ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, joint discomfort, allergies, Alzheimers Disease, Parkinsons Disease, Diabetes, all autoimmune diseases, thyroiditis, lupus, and so many more. Glutathione’s ability to reduce inflammation appears to act as both a preventative measure for these conditions, as well as a treatment for improving the outcomes of many of the aforementioned ailments.
- Protective against many illnesses – Glutathione appears to be protective against a number of conditions including heart disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, almost every type of cancer, chronic infections, autism, kidney problems, liver disease and more. Patients with these conditions have been shown to have a Glutathione deficiency, which suggests that reduced levels of the molecule may render individuals susceptible to these conditions.
- Antioxidant recycling – As well as promoting the detoxification of heavy metals itself, Glutathione has the ability to recycle powerful antioxidants in the body which can also perform this function. Antioxidants are extremely important for removing cancer-causing free radicals, and Glutathione ensures that there is always a plentiful supply of these antioxidants.
Glutathione really is a master molecule, and plays a number of critical roles in maintaining our health and wellbeing. Maintaining Glutathione levels in the body is critical to maintaining good health and staying disease free.
How To Maintain Your Glutathione Levels
Fortunately, Glutathione is normally generated within the body, so you don’t need to worry about how to obtain it through your diet. Not only is Glutathione generated in the body, but after it has neutralized heavy metal molecules it is actually regenerated. So as long as Glutathione is being made, there is no problem. However, there are times when Glutathione levels do decrease, and this may be when the body becomes more susceptible to disease:
- Glutathione production and regeneration naturally declines with age
- A poor diet with limited fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains and high in processed foods may reduce your Glutathione levels
- Exposure to pollutions, toxins and radiation reduces Glutathione levels. When the toxic load in your body becomes too great, the Glutathione molecules are overwhelmed and cannot function properly
- Certain medications, stress, trauma and infections can all reduce Glutathione levels
What’s more, Glutathione supplements and pills show limited effectiveness, as they are destroyed by the harshly acidic environment of the stomach acid. With the importance of Glutathione rapidly becoming recognised in the medical field, new treatments and supplements are becoming available as more research is performed.
In the meantime, maintain a healthy diet, limit your exposure to environmental toxins, exercise regularly and reduce stress in your lifestyle as much as possible. Your Glutathione levels will reap the rewards!