Top 10 Health Benefits Of Glutathione For Your Body
Glutathione benefits living organisms in many ways by acting as an antioxidant. It is an amino acid compound present in every human cell. Every living organism has glutathione in its body. It is a powerful antioxidant which when present in adequate levels can protect us from dangerous health conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and even stroke.
Although this antioxidant is produced in our body cells glutathione can be injected into our body, applied topically, or as an inhalant.
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione is a compound formed by the combination of three amino acids: cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine, it is a powerful antioxidant that prevents and delays the aging of cells. Glutathione prevents damage to cells and detoxifies harmful chemicals in the liver and has the ability to bind itself to drugs helping the body to excrete them easily. It also performs the important function of boosting the immunity of the body and regulating the growth and death of cells in our body. Levels of glutathione have been noticed to reduce with aging.
Benefits of Glutathione
1. Relieves oxidative stress
When the production of free radicals in the body increases, and the body cannot fight them off, it results in oxidative stress. High levels of oxidative stress leave the body susceptible to medical conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer. Glutathione helps to alleviate oxidative stress which assists the body to ward of these ailments.
High levels of glutathione in the body are also known to increase the level of antioxidants. This increase in antioxidants along with glutathione reduces oxidative stress.
2. May improve heart health
Glutathione, with its ability to prevent oxidization of fat in the human body, could help reduce incidences of heart attacks and other heart diseases. Heart diseases are caused by the accumulation of arterial plaque on the insides of the arterial walls.
Low-density lipoproteins (LDL), or bad cholesterol, causes plaque by damaging the internal linings of the arteries. These plaques break off and can block blood vessels, stopping blood flow and causing heart attacks or strokes.
Glutathione, along with an enzyme called glutathione peroxidase, subdues the superoxides, hydrogen peroxide, free radicals and lipid peroxides that cause lipid oxidation (fat oxidation). This prevents the bad cholesterol from damaging the blood vessels and therefore the formation of plaque. Glutathione thus helps lower the risk of heart attack and other heart diseases.
3. Protects liver cells in alcoholic and fatty liver disease
When there is a deficiency of antioxidants and glutathione, more liver cells tend to die. This reduces the liver’s ability to fight fatty liver and alcoholic liver diseases. Glutathione, when present in sufficient levels tends to increase the levels of protein, bilirubin, and enzymes in the blood. This helps individuals recover from fatty and alcoholic liver diseases faster.
A high glutathione dosage administered intravenously to individuals with the fatty liver disease showed that glutathione was the most effective treatment for the disease. It also showed a substantial reduction in malondialdehyde, a marker of cell damage in the liver.
Orally administered glutathione also showed that the antioxidant had a positive effect in individuals suffering from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
4. Helps fight inflation
Inflation is one of the major causes of major diseases like heart diseases, diabetes, and cancer.
An injury causes the blood vessels in the injured area to expand to allow more blood to flow to the area. This blood is loaded with immune cells that flood the area to ward off any possibility of an infection. Once the injured area heals, the swelling subsides and the immune cells reduce in number. But in an unhealthy body affected by stress, toxins, unhealthy diets the inflation will not subside that quickly.
Glutathione helps in cases such as these by boosting the immune white cells. They control the number of white cells that go to the injured area depending on the severity of the inflation.
5. Improves insulin resistance
As we grow older the glutathione levels in our bodies become lower as our body produces less and less glutathione. This results in less burning of fat in our body. The body thus stores more fat. This also increases the susceptibility to insulin.
A diet that increases the level of cysteine and glycine will also increase the production glutathione in our body. This higher presence of glutathione helps in greater insulin resistance and higher fat burning.
6. Peripheral vascular disease patients see improved mobility
Peripheral artery disease afflicts people whose arteries get clogged by plaque. The disease mostly affects the legs of an individual. This happens when blocked blood vessels are unable to supply the required amount of blood to the muscles when the muscles need it. The individual suffering from the peripheral vascular disease will experience pain and fatigue when walking.
Glutathione, administered intravenously twice a day, showed marked improvement in their conditions. The individuals were able to walk for longer distances and did not complain of any pain.
7. Glutathione for skin
Glutathione benefits also extend to maintaining healthy skin and treating it. Acne, skin dryness, eczema, wrinkles, and puffy eyes can be treated with the appropriate glutathione dosage.
The use of glutathione for skin inhibits tyrosinase, an enzyme that produces melanin. The use of glutathione for a long duration will result in lighter skin because of the production of less melanin. It has also been shown to decrease psoriasis, improve skin elasticity, and reduce wrinkles.
8. Alleviates symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
Tremors are one of the symptoms that people suffering from Parkinson’s disease usually suffer from. That is because the disease afflicts the central nervous system. Intravenous administration of glutathione showed improvement in individuals from the disease. The treatment reduced tremors and rigidity in the patients under observation. It is believed that glutathione may make life easier for those suffering from Parkinson’s disease by reducing the symptoms that the diseased show.
9. Helps autistic children by reducing oxidative damage
Children with autism are shown to have a higher level of oxidative damage in their brains. At the same time, the levels of glutathione are very low. This increased the risk that the children to further neurological damage by chemicals like mercury.
Children treated with oral and topical glutathione dosage showed marked improvement in levels of plasma sulfate, cysteine, and blood glutathione levels. This gives hope that glutathione treatment can improve brain functioning and therefore, the lives of children with autism.
10. Could help fight autoimmune diseases
Autoimmune diseases include celiac disease, arthritis, and lupus. These diseases cause chronic inflammation and pain which increases oxidative stress. Glutathione can control the body’s immunological response by either stimulating it or reducing it. This gives physicians to reduce the oxidative stress in individuals suffering fro autoimmune disorders.
Autoimmune diseases destroy cell mitochondria in certain cells. Glutathione helps to protect cell mitochondria by fighting free radicals. Glutathione incites white cells and T cells that fight against infection. T cells primed by glutathione showed an increased ability to fight off bacterial and viral infections.
As the body grows older, the levels of glutathione in the body decrease. We need to eat foods that will help the body restore the levels of glutathione. There are many foods that either contain glutathione naturally or glutathione boosting nutrients.
As far as glutathione foods go, whey protein contains gamma-glutamylcysteine. That is a combination of glutathione and cysteine which makes it easier for our body to separate the two amino acids. They are both good antioxidants.
· Allium foods
Good glutathione supplements are food from the plants belonging to the Allium genus are rich in sulfur. Sulfur helps our body produce more natural glutathione. Onions, garlic, scallions, chives, shallots, and leeks are foods that belong to the allium genus.
· Cruciferous vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates which will boost the glutathione levels in your body. That is why plants bearing these vegetables have a sulfuric aroma.
Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, bok choy, brussels sprout, arugula, radishes, watercress, and collard greens are all cruciferous vegetables.
· Foods having alpha-lipoic acid
Beef, organ meat, spinach, brewer’s yeast, and tomatoes are good glutathione supplements as they are rich in alpha-lipoic acid. This acid regenerates and boosts the levels of glutathione in your body.
· Selenium rich foods
As a trace mineral selenium helps the body in increasing the levels of glutathione and other antioxidants in the body. Foods containing selenium are oysters, seafood, eggs, brazil nuts, asparagus, mushrooms, and whole grains.
Glutathione supplements come in various forms. They can be taken orally. But orally taken glutathione are not that effective in replenishing the body levels of the compound.
A better way of taking a glutathione supplement is to take liposomal glutathione on an empty stomach. An ingredient of active glutathione is contained in the center of the liposomes. Taking this supplement orally is a better way to increase the body’s glutathione level.
Glutathione can also be inhaled with a special nebulizer. But you will need a prescription for using it.
Transdermals and lotions are available which can be applied topically. Their rate of absorption is variable and can sometimes be unreliable.
Intravenous administration is the most direct method of taking glutathione supplements. It is also the most invasive way.
Glutathione side effects
Glutathione supplementation has side effects rarely. These can range from bloating. abdominal cramps, gas. loose stools, and possible allergic reactions. It is better to consult your physician before taking glutathione supplements.
The glutathione dosage required for a person can vary on a person’s age, weight, and physiology. It may also depend on his health condition and medical history. It is better to consult your physician to check what dosage of supplement you should take.
Glutathione is an important molecule in our bodies. It is a powerful antioxidant and helps the body maintain a check on the free radicals. This keeps us healthy and wards of diseases like heart problems, cancer, and heart attacks.
It is important to maintain an optimum level of glutathione in our bodies. There are various ways in which we can do that. We can eat a glutathione rich diet, take glutathione oral, apply it topically are get in administered intravenously.
Seek medical advice whenever you decide to take glutathione supplements to alter its level in your body.
- Rouhier N, Lemaire SD, Jacquot JP (2008). “The role of glutathione in photosynthetic organisms: emerging functions for glutaredoxins and glutathionylation”. Annual Review of Plant Biology. 59 (1): 143–66.
- Franco, R.; Schoneveld, O. J.; Pappa, A.; Panayiotidis, M. I. (2007). “The central role of glutathione in the pathophysiology of human diseases”. Archives of Physiology and Biochemistry. 113 (4–5): 234–258.