Glutathione: The Natural Boost Your Immune System Needs
Glutathione is a compound that is rarely ever mentioned during normal conversations, but it is a very important antioxidant and plays a key role in your overall health and in the functionality of your body. In the healthcare industry, glutathione is called "the mother of all antioxidants," and is a highly regarded daily supplement. Here, we will learn all about glutathione as an antioxidant, how it is integral to your health, and why you should be taking it as a daily supplement.
What Is Glutathione?
Glutathione is a peptide that contains amino acids which are required and used by every cell in your body. Because of this, glutathione has several critical roles in the human body. Glutathione contains the amino acids glycine, glutamate (glutamic acid) and cysteine. Cysteine is an amino acid found in breast milk and is responsible for boosting the immune system. Glycine is an important amino acid in that it is integral to the synthesis of other amino acids and helps your body absorb calcium. Glycine also has a myriad of other health benefits. Glutamate is essential to the functionality of our brain for it is the principal neurotransmitter for the nerve cells in our brains so they may send signals to other nerve cells. Glutathione is produced by the liver as a normal function of the liver. Glutathione is also introduced to the body through a healthy diet or through supplements such as IGF-1 Plus with Glutathione.
How Can Glutathione Help Improve My Health?
Glutathione is such an important antioxidant to the human body that a scientific study suggests that the abundance of glutathione in the cells can help predict the life expectancy of that human. The reason the amount of glutathione in cells can benefit life expectancy is the fact that glutathione helps protect cells from something called oxidative stress and protecting cells from oxidative stress can prolong the health and life of cells and of the human body. Glutathione has also been shown to be a powerful anti-inflammatory agent because it inhibits the production of most inflammatory cytokines. Glutathione can also help repair cells that were damaged by radiation, pollutants, stress, infection, and a range of other ailments. Surprisingly enough, glutathione can also slow the process of aging in the cells. As we age, our cells begin to lose their ability to self-repair and to produce strong antioxidants. Increasing our intake of glutathione can help replenish or replace the antioxidants lost from aging and slow down the aging and deterioration of our cells and aid in the self-repair of the cells to prolong their functionality and lifespan.
As an antioxidant, glutathione removes oxygen radicals from the body which can harm other cells in the body and cause disease and deterioration. While vitamins C and E are also antioxidants, glutathione has the added benefit of already living within each of your cells allowing it to perfectly placed to do its job. Glutathione can also act a defensive agent against xenobiotics, foreign substances in the human body, such as pollutants, drugs, carcinogens, and other foreign substances.
Because the abundant presence of glutathione is essential to the reduction of oxidative stress, when glutathione levels become low, it leaves the cells in your body susceptible to the consequences of unchecked oxidative stress. These consequences could culminate in a range of different diseases including Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and Huntington's disease. Glutathione will also be a beneficial compound for those who suffer from a compromised immune system or an immunodeficiency. Because of these serious health consequences, it is important to maintain healthy glutathione levels, but that can sometimes be challenging. Your glutathione levels could be lower than is healthy. It is possible to suffer from a glutathione deficiency, especially in those who are older.
Do I Have A Glutathione Deficiency?
As a medical standard, glutathione levels in individual cells begin to decline at a rate of 10% per decade of age after age 20. Around the age of menopause is when body cells deteriorate enough from aging that their levels of glutathione begin to decline at an increased rate. But age isn't the only factor to consider when looking at a glutathione deficiency.
As we've previously learned, glutathione acts as a protective agent against xenobiotics such as pollutants, drugs, and viruses. In our normal daily life, we, as human beings, are exposed to multiple factors that deplete our glutathione levels at a constant rate. The factors that cause our glutathione levels to be depleted include environmental pollution, viruses, various types of smoke, and exhaust fumes. All of these factors enter our bodies as xenobiotics and trigger the defensive properties of the glutathione in our cells. This isn't generally detrimental to our health. After all, acting as a defensive agent against xenobiotics is one of the main jobs of glutathione.
Glutathione deficiency becomes a concern when we don't replenish our levels of glutathione, either by producing it naturally or consuming foods that contain it or even taking it in as a supplement all on its own. There are multiple ways to restore our glutathione levels if we cannot produce it in large enough amounts to maintain healthy levels.
There are also genetic defects that can cause a glutathione deficiency. These defects include either a genetic mutation or a missing gene. This can occur in the genes which regulate and produce glutathione enzymes and affect the metabolism of cysteine, folate, and B vitamins.
Some common symptoms of a glutathione deficiency include:
- frequent colds
- sleep disorders
- dry skin
- joint pain
- lack of energy
- mental "fog"
- coordination problems
Some more serious symptoms of a glutathione deficiency include the rupturing of red blood cells, impairment of the functions of white blood cells, possible deterioration of nerve tissue, and it could even result in the suffering of mental or nervous disorders such as tremors or twitching. If you suspect that you have a glutathione deficiency, consult your physician to confirm the deficiency before beginning any type of glutathione supplement regiment.
How Can I Get Extra Glutathione?
Diet is the most natural and more practical way to raise glutathione levels. Eating wholesome, natural, and organic foods rich in glutathione and cysteine on a daily basis will replenish your glutathione levels and provide the nutrients your body needs to absorb the glutathione and cysteine. If you find yourself with a compromised immune system, you should seriously consider stocking your fridge with glutathione- and cysteine-rich foods to help give your immune system a strong, healthy boost.
Sulfur-rich vegetables are the best way to naturally boost your glutathione levels and your immune system.
When it comes to fruits, you want fruits that are high in vitamin C as well as contain healthy amounts of glutathione because vitamin C will help your body better absorb the glutathione.
Please remember that cooking any of these fruits will destroy the glutathione. A raw grapefruit has 70 mg of glutathione while a cooked grapefruit has none. 100 grams of raw tomatoes have 166 mg of glutathione while cooked tomatoes have none. Eating them raw is the best way to obtain the glutathione.
You can also consume cysteine-rich foods to help boost your glutathione levels. Some examples are:
- egg yolks
- red peppers
- whey germ
There are supplement options on the market like IGF-1 Plus with Glutathione that can be taken orally to increase low glutathione levels and boost your immune system.
Remember to refrain from drinking alcohol, using drugs, and smoking while on a glutathione replacement regimen. Those activities drastically reduce your body's naturally made glutathione levels and compromise your immune system.