Glutathione: The Master of Antioxidants

What Is Glutathione

Glutathione is one of the substances known to be an antioxidant. Glutathione is naturally produced in the liver, and there have been many studies conducted to evaluate how it impacts the body. Glutathione has been related to feelings of fatigue, slowed-thinking, and other negative health problems, but you need to know some basic information about this super-antioxidant before you go out looking to buy glutathione antioxidant supplements.

Antioxidants refer to a class of molecules, capable of stabilizing unstable atoms, particularly oxygen. Every cell in the body utilizes oxygen as part of a combustion reaction to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the energy used by our cells. Oxygen exists in a naturally-occuring, stable molecule of O2–two oxygen molecules bound together. However, the combustion reaction results in water, energy, CO2 and some negatively-charged charged oxygen-containing molecules.

Unstable, negatively-charged oxygen atoms, attach to cells, resulting in a cell’s inability to bind to other substances appropriately and cell death. Antioxidants bind and stabilize free-oxygen-molecules, also known as free radicals, without impacting the cell function. Glutathione binds the free radical, therefore, rendering it incapable of binding to bodily cells. Afterwards, enzymes in the body destroy the bound free radical and restore the glutathione to a usable state. However, the body requires approximately 90% of all glutathione to be readily available, and certain health choices can impact this level.

Glutathione Levels

Why Do Glutathione Levels Drop

Every combustion reaction, and most other reactions, in the body results in free radicals. Since glutathione is the natural antioxidant produced by the body, it is used frequently and rapidly. Unfortunately, some poor health decisions or health conditions, such as smoking, obesity, cancer, or HIV infection., increase the number of free radicals produced following these reactions. When the body reaches a critical point that there are simply not enough glutathione molecules available for binding free radicals, the free radicals begin to destroy and inhibit bodily cells.

Negative Effects of Low Glutathione in the Body

There are billions of cells within the body, and every cell has a specific function to ensure the body survives. Skin cells work together to prevent outside bacteria or viruses from entering the body. The liver metabolizes dying red blood cells and toxin from the blood stream, and kidney cells remove metabolized products from the blood, which are then excreted in urine. In the digestive system, immune cells work to prevent absorption of bacteria and viruses within the intestines while other cells are responsible for facilitating absorption and maintenance of proper levels of nutrients into the body. Every damaged cell represents another piece of the body that does not provide its necessary function, which results in fatigue, illness, pain, disorientation, malnutrition, cancers, failure of organs, and ultimately, failure of the body to function appropriately.

Restoring the Body’s Natural Level of Glutathione

Restoring natural levels of glutathione seems like it could be corrected by taking glutathione supplements; however, the process of digestion destroys pure glutathione proteins before it has a chance to be absorbed. Therefore, you need to take the precursors to glutathione, which will safeguard the glutathione molecules against the breakdown processes of digestion, specifically sulfur, N-acetylcysteine, and vitamins A and C.

Glutathione contains a grouping of chemicals called a sulfur group, which is abbreviate by SH. In many publications, you will see glutathione written as GSH, a direct signal to its sulfur component. The first step towards improving glutathione levels involves the consumption of sulfur-rich foods, such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, or carrots.

In addition, you can increase the amount of whey proteins in your diet. You can get whey proteins from organic, non-pasteurized milks and cheeses. The whey proteins provide cysteine and the amino acids necessary for the production of N-acetylcysteine, and therefore, glutathione.  However, the unpasteurized nature could be a health risk in itself. Furthermore, some people are lactose intolerant–unable to digest milk proteins.

Fortunately, some dietary supplements, such as lipisomal glutathione and acetyl-glutathione, are available to provide the same basic chemical components as mentioned above in combination with an inactive glutathione molecule that will survive digestion to be absorbed as active glutathione.

Putting It All Together

Glutathione is an antioxidant that is synthesized in the liver from its precursors, such as N-acetylcysteine, whey proteins, and vitamins A and E. By enabling your body to have plenty of glutathione readily available to address damaging free-radicals and toxins, your bodily functions will be more attuned to their natural state. You can increase your glutathione levels by consuming more foods containing glutathione precursors as well as some glutathione-containing supplements. Reducing the number of free radicals in your body improves the health and function of your body.