One of the most beneficial antioxidants known to man is glutathione. In fact, this antioxidant is so important the body naturally produces it. Glutathione (GSH) is so powerful that it’s known as our body’s master antioxidant and detoxifier.
Without an optimal glutathione level in the body, it would be much more difficult to detoxify our bodies properly. This amazing molecule is produced in the liver and is needed in every cell in our body, and its deficiency impairs other antioxidants like vitamin C and E, from doing their jobs.
By being present in each and every cell, GSH has the ability to quench free radicals as they are produced. In doing this, this powerful antioxidant enzyme is able to prevent cellular inflammation from occurring. As you might already know, inflammation is a major cause of disease and aging.
Since GSH is generated in the liver, it should always be found in abundance there, and in a perfect world, it would be. Unfortunately that’s not always the case since things that can seriously deplete our GSH reserves are constantly bombarding us. The liver is tasked with detoxifying our bodies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for our entire lives. Without plenty of GSH the liver cannot function properly. GSH eradicates viruses, bacteria, and free radicals. This in demand antioxidant helps the liver to detoxify our bodies of environmental toxins, drugs, and dangerous heavy metals, like mercury. Now you can start to see how vital GSH is and how keeping optimal levels might not be very easy without giving our liver a hand. It should also go without saying that doing everything we can to keep our livers as healthy as possible is mandatory as well.
As mentioned earlier, GSH is present in every one of our cells, and it’s presence there is crucial to optimal cellular functioning. At the cellular level, GSH shuttles nutrients and proteins into our cells. That means that without GSH, our bodies cannot receive the many antioxidants and other nutrients it needs to survive and thrive. People with low GSH can be eating plenty of nutrient dense foods and still be practically starving themselves since their cells would not be able to receive the nutrients effectively.
GSH also aids in cellular energy production by protecting our cells from oxidative stress. It does this by constantly detoxifying our cells so that they can function at the highest level possible.
GSH is also vital for healthy skin, hair and nails. In fact, GSH has been found to maintain the anagen phase of hair growth. It fights free radicals that lead to aging skin, and it allows the collagen in our skin to stay intact, ensuring that our skin does not age prematurely.
Like other antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E, GSH never becomes unstable and never becomes a free radical. It’s able to continuously recycle itself and fight free radicals and support other antioxidants in their fight as well.
Intriguingly, GSH has been found to induce deep, restful sleep. If you happen to be suffering form insomnia, it may be because you are lacking adequate GSH in your bloodstream. As we know, without deep sleep, our bodies cannot repair and rejuvenate themselves properly.
Perhaps most importantly, GSH has been found to greatly slow the aging process. Researchers believe that one of the main reasons why aging occurs is due to free radical damage. In fact, our most feared diseases like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s, are linked to massive free radical damage and inflammation. By keeping GSH as high as possible, we are maximizing our ability to mount an effective attack on the free radicals and inflammation that would otherwise be able to take over.
Now that you know some of the many ways why GSH is so necessary, lets look at the best ways to help our body to produce more of it.
Because GSH in pill form is hard for the body to assimilate, don’t bother even trying this approach. Ideally, the very best way to increase GSH in supplement form is liposomal GSH. Unfortunately, the liposomal form is quite pricey, so unless you make it yourself at home, there are other less expensive ways for us to raise glutathione.
One of my favorite ways to increase GSH is by taking its’ precursors, R-Lipoic Acid and N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC). I take 100 milligrams of R-Lipoic with each meal, and I take 600 milligrams of NAC each day as well. These are two of the best supplements to take to ensure optimal GSH production.
Supplements and foods that are higher in sulfur are great at increasing GSH. For those who enjoy garlic, in food or supplement form, you’re in luck since garlic is one food that is known to have a high sulfur content. I don’t eat too much garlic, but I do eat a lot of MSM powder. MSM is a highly absorbable form of sulfur. I take 2 teaspoons of MSM powder everyday, at least 30 minutes away from food. If you’re going to take MSM, it needs to be in powder form, as in pill from it will not work very well. Look for a powder that is 100% MSM, it must be free from any flow agents or excipients. The best MSM powder should clump up. Since eggs are high in cysteine, it’s said that eating raw eggs can increase GSH as well. For the last several years, I have been eating raw, organic, pasture raised eggs on a regular basis. I happen to like them with a little sea salt or salsa on them. I know raw eggs aren’t for everybody, so I understand if you don’t want to do this.
Another great sulfur rich food is broccoli sprouts. Eating plenty of these sprouts everyday will certainly help raise your GSH. If you don’t want to eat sprouts, then just take a supplement called Broccomax that has a high level of sulforaphane in it; this potent nutrient is found in broccoli sprouts and is a powerful antioxidant that is good for a number of things, including raising GSH.
Another potent antioxidant I like to take every day is curcumin. This potent nutrient, derived form the turmeric root, is great for our overall health and has been found to be effective in preventing and fighting Alzheimer’s, and cancer. It also raises GSH and should be included in everybody’s anti aging regimen. I make sure to get 250 milligrams of curcumin everyday, be sure to take the Curcumin 95 version.
It’s also been found that vitamin D3 can greatly increase glutathione as well. Since vitamin D3 is so crucial to overall health, I take 5,000 to 10,000 IU’s daily combined with 10,000 – 20,000 IU’s of vitamin A (retinol). It’s great to know that another of the many benefits of regular D3 consumption is more GSH in my bloodstream!
For those out there who love to take a dip in freezing cold water, you’re in luck. It’s been found that bathing or showering in cold water can greatly increase GSH. Like eating raw eggs, this isn’t for everybody, but taking an occasional cold shower or even just finishing off a warm shower with a minute or two of cold water could really be beneficial.
Another good way to optimize your ability to produce plenty of GSH would be to do a heavy metal cleanse. This can be a little more involved, so I will be sure to do a post specifically on heavy metal cleanses and the many benefits of doing them in a future post.
For now, please do everything you can to incorporate a few, or all, of the GSH raising tips discussed above. If you have any questions or comments about the information in this post, please let me know!
About the Author
Troy Pratt is a lifelong natural health enthusiast. After being inspired by his grandfather at the age of 12, he has gone on to study natural health and anti aging for over 3 decades. He is passionate about helping others to achieve great health and fight aging. Please visit him at http://www.antiaginghero.com.