Twenty-four hours a day, we are bombarded with man-made environmental chemicals. These include herbicides and insecticides, vehicle and factory emissions, heavy metals in our food and cosmetics, and cleaning products laden with chemicals such as benzene and chlorine. Given this heavy toxic burden, it is not surprising that the incidence of toxicity-induced diseases is currently skyrocketing. The good news: a natural substance (glutathione) already being produced in your body can neutralize these poisons – to help ward off disease and even slow down the aging process.
Keep reading for a closer look at glutathione and how to avoid a deficiency – which increase the risk of disease.
Glutathione is the body’s premier antioxidant
No substance in the body has more power to nullify toxins and protect cells than glutathione. In the form of glutathione reductase – which is glutathione in its natural, enzymatic state – it is used by every cell in the body to help preserve them in their undamaged – or redox – condition.
This life-prolonging workhorse protects cell DNA from damage, protects against harmful free radicals, decreases inflammation, reduces oxidative stress and wards off heart disease, neurological decline and cancer. By promoting healthy cell mitochondria energy production, glutathione actually provides anti-aging effects.
Although glutathione appears in every cell of the body, the greatest concentrations of it are in the detoxifying organs, such as the liver and kidneys. In fact, without glutathione, detoxification would be essentially impossible.
Glutathione promotes all stages of detoxification
Detoxification takes place in three separate stages, and glutathione enhances all three of them.
Phase one is toxin modification, in which toxins are identified and changed – through oxidation and reduction reactions – into forms the body can more easily attack.
In phase two, the modified toxin is conjugated – meaning its activated metabolites are bound to glutathione. Although other antioxidants in the body can bind toxins, glutathione is the primary participant. As testament to this fact, this second phase is also called “glutathione conjugation.” This binding keeps toxic metabolites from spreading into and across membranes, and helps to confine them.
In phase three, or excretion, enzymatic derivatives of glutathione – known as glutathione S-metabolites – work to cause the metabolism and final excretion of toxins.
Glutathione levels decrease with age
Glutathione is produced in the liver from three different amino acids. But stress, poor nutrition, a sedentary lifestyle and prescription medications can deplete the body’s stores. And, as is the case with so many health-promoting substances, the young possess glutathione in lavish supply, while levels fall in older individuals.
Chronic exposure to toxins also threatens glutathione levels – which means toxins deplete the exact substance that your body most needs to neutralize them.
Unfortunately, most commercially-available supplements of this essential nutrient are poorly absorbed, and few foods – with the exception of broccoli and carrots – contain any glutathione to speak of. In addition, the process of cooking depletes almost 100 percent of this valuable substance.
Eating glutathione precursors can optimize production
The best bet is for ramping up your body’s production of glutathione is to consume healthy amounts of the three “building blocks” of glutathione – the amino acids L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid and glycine – while also making sure you get enough of the nutrients necessary for glutathione synthesis: vitamins B-2 and B-6, along with the mineral selenium. It is a fairly straightforward – but vital – recipe.
Natural health experts advise enhancing glutathione production by eating healthy qualities of garlic, onion, parsley, avocados and cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli and kale. Of course, you should opt for certified organic produce to minimize exposure to toxins.
Cinnamon and turmeric are also recommended, along with non-denatured organic whey protein from grass-fed cows. By the way, a great quality (goat) whey protein is available inside the NaturalHealth365 Store.
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Raise your glutathione levels with NAC
The most effective means of raising glutathione production, however, might be N-acetyl-cysteine.
High dosages of NAC are often used to detox patients who have ingested poisons, and some researchers theorize that low doses can block age-related loss of glutathione. Animal research shows that cells from younger animals are more resistant to stress than cells of older animals.
Older cells not only lose glutathione more quickly under stress – but die twice as rapidly as cells from younger animals. However, researchers found that pretreatment with NAC raised glutathione levels in older cells and helped to reduce cell death.
You can also try to minimize your exposure to glutathione-destroying toxins. Cut down your heavy metal exposure by drinking purified water (or real spring water – tested for quality), organic cleaning products, and glass containers and cookware for food storage and reheating – plus, consider using natural stress reduction techniques, such as biofeedback, mindfulness meditation, yoga or tai chi.
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