What are the benefits of glutathione and how does it help with aging?
“Glutathione is the most important molecule you need to stay healthy and prevent aging, cancer, heart disease, dementia and more, and necessary to treat everything from autism to Alzheimer’s disease. I called it the mother of all antioxidants.” Mark Hyman, MD, Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine
Most of us may not be able to describe exactly what free radicals are or how they operate, but we have heard so much about them in recent years that we know they can cause damage to our bodies at the cellular level and interfere with DNA. We also know that our best defense against these harmful molecules are antioxidants, and we may be familiar with the better known ones, like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene and selenium. But, what some refer to as the “rock star” of antioxidants is a compound that you may have never heard of; glutathione.
Health professionals recognize the many benefits of antioxidants and glutathione, in particular. Just some of the benefits that are believed to be associated with glutathione include:
- Neutralizes free radicals
- Reduces toxicity of chemicals, pollutants and drugs
- Slows aging processes
- Reduces muscle damage
- Improves recovery time
- Increases strength and endurance
- Aids metabolism in muscle development
- May help prevent or slow the progression of conditions such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, hepatitis and others
Does The Body Produce It’s Own Glutathione?
The good news is that the body produces its own glutathione, which consists of the protein-building amino acids, cysteine, glycine and glutamine. Glutathione contains sulfur, which is believed to be at the center of its superpowers. Because sulfur tends to be a sticky substance, as it moves through the body it attracts and hangs on to lots of things that are not good for us. These undesirables include substances like mercury, heavy metals and other damaging toxins. And, the sulfur in glutathione, gathers up free radicals and carries them out before they can accumulate to the point of causing oxidative stress, which is how they wreck such havoc in the cells.
What may be even more impressive about glutathione is that the body not only produces it, but it also recycles it in the liver so that it just keeps on working. Unfortunately, the not so good news is that glutathione is not indestructible. As we age, the production of glutathione begins to decline. Plus, the onslaught of the way we live our lives these days takes a heavy toll on this crucial antioxidant. Besides aging, just some of the things that deplete the body’s supply are:
- Poor diet
- Drugs and medications
- Radiation and toxins
What happens to the body if the amount of Glutathione is low?
Without a healthy supply of glutathione, the liver becomes unable to keep up with its main job of removing toxins and our cells are vulnerable to the effects of free radicals and other types of infections and damage. There are ways to help the body maintain higher levels of glutathione. These include:
- Diet – eat foods that are high in sulfur and will help boost the body’s production of glutathione, like onions, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, watercress, collards, eggs, nuts, legumes and lean proteins.
- Exercise – try to get at least a moderate amount of exercise on a daily basis
- Sufficient sleep
- Supplements – take those supplements that work with and support glutathione, such as alpha lipoic acid, folate, vitamins B6, B12, C and E, selenium and milk thistle.
The Southern California Center for Anti-Aging focuses on the practice of advanced, preventive and regenerative medicine. We strongly believe correcting imbalances and deficiencies in nutrition, along with improving fitness and balancing and restoring hormones with Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy, can help with creating the foundation for a healthier and happier life. We use a wide range of advanced testing and analysis, including food allergy testing, to ensure the best results for our clients.
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