The term “free radicals” might bring to mind the image of the French Revolution, with radical free thinkers marching in the streets and plotting over cups of tea. In reality, free radicals are unstable atoms that come from a variety of sources including pollution and tainted foods like red meat.
Free radicals are known to contribute to aging and a host of chronic illnesses. Luckily, our bodies produce a natural defense against free radicals: antioxidants, which help to combat damaging free radicals.
Glutathione (pronounced gloo·tuh·thigh·own) is a key antioxidant that plays a role in many chemical reactions in your body. Namely, helping to boost your immune system and detoxify chemicals like pollutants and drugs. The name might be hard to pronounce, but the benefits of glutathione couldn’t be clearer.
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione is the most prevalent, powerful antioxidant in the body. Glutathione serves to recharge other antioxidants, playing a major role in long-term health and wellness. It is heavily concentrated in tissues such as the liver, spleen and heart, making it a key component of immune function. Glutathione also serves several other important purposes:
- Detoxification: Your liver uses glutathione to remove damaging substances from your body. It also serves to neutralize and reduce a wide variety of toxins and carcinogens. This makes glutathione an important part of substance abuse recovery.
- Immune support: Glutathione protects your cells’ mitochondria from free radical damage during ATP production. In simpler terms, glutathione serves as a barrier between immune system cells including B-cells, T-cells, mast cells, phagocytes and macrophages from harmful outside substances.
- Anti-aging: Glutathione can even suppress excess melanin production, reducing dark age spots and wrinkles. Some dermatologists may recommend it for hyperpigmentation issues.
Glutathione Levels and Aging
As we age, our bodies produce lower and lower levels of glutathione. That’s bad news, as lower glutathione levels appear to go hand-in-hand with poorer health. For example, glutathione depletion is the leading cause of cellular liver damage. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to maintain healthy glutathione levels as you age:
- Avoid as many pollutants and toxins as possible
- Limit your Tylenol intake
- Limit your alcohol intake
- Avoid highly processed foods, choosing healthy, nutrient-rich whole foods instead
- Make sure to get at least eight hours of sleep per night
- Practice stress-lowering activities like yoga
- Prioritize regular exercise (be careful not to over-exercise, as this has been linked to glutathione depletion)
Your glutathione levels may also decrease if you are diagnosed with certain chronic health problems:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Parkinson’s disease
- Autoimmune disease
- Mold exposure
- Heavy metal toxicity
- Multiple sclerosis
- Liver disease
- Chemical sensitivities
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Certain cancers
Boosting Your Glutathione Levels
If you’re struggling with a weakened immune system or any of the chronic illnesses listed above, it’s a good idea to boost your glutathione levels through supplementation. You can also take glutathione nutritional supplements as a fertility treatment or a detoxification agent during substance abuse recovery, or even to protect yourself from the harmful effects of radiation and chemotherapy during cancer treatment.
So, what’s the best way to boost your glutathione levels? Glutathione is found in certain foods including avocado, spinach and asparagus; however, complete glutathione is found in very few foods. Therefore, it’s necessary to add supplements to your daily routine.
At Kare Health and Wellness, we offer two glutathione nutritional supplements in Springfield Missouri:
- Lipo-spheric Glutathione, which is encapsulated in phospholipid spheres to preserve the antioxidant as it makes its way through the GI tract
- Oral L-Glutathione capsules
- Intravenous glutathione treatments, which only take about five to 10 minutes
If you still have questions about glutathione, reach out to Kare Health and Wellness in Springfield, Missouri at 417-881-4994. Our goal is twofold: to improve your immediate health and prevent future health issues through functional medicine. Our experts can assess your glutathione levels through a blood sample and match you with the best supplement for your needs. We’ll also assess your progress to make sure you feel your best in the long term.