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The tripeptide glutathione is one of the most important elements to enhance the health of the body and protect the cells. In this sense, glutathione has three main functions, which are its detoxifying effects especially at liver level, immune enhancers and antioxidants.
Our own body has the ability to synthesize its own glutathione through the amino acids cysteine, glutamine and glycine.
However, there are certain circumstances in which the available cysteine and glutamine are scarce.
Every day the body is exposed to numerous factors that deplete glutathione reserves: stress, contaminants, radiation, infections, bacteria, injuries, drugs, inadequate diet, ageing, sports....
All these stressors cause the amounts of glutathione that our body produces endogenously to be reduced, so we are more predisposed to the appearance of cellular damage, ageing and, in the long term, various diseases.
To compensate this deficiency it is recommended to take glutathione supplements.
We can also elevate glutathione synthesis endogenously by taking supplements of N-acetylcysteine or N-acetyl-L-cysteine which is the main precursor of glutathione.
Until recently, scientists thought that glutathione could not be assimilated correctly by the body, and that to increase its level in the organism it was best to take precursors such as N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) and substances such as alpha-lipoic acid.
Recent studies show that glutathione itself can be assimilated correctly in significant doses, which means that supplements of this substance are a well-justified and well-targeted alternative to stimulate their levels in cells.
The main source of glutathione is acetyl glutathione, which, being stable, is not eliminated in the digestive tract, and is distributed throughout the body cells.
Glutathione is found in a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and meat (especially turkey and chicken).
Walnuts, spinach, potatoes, asparagus, avocado, cola, pumpkin, granola, melon, cauliflower, broccoli, garlic and tomatoes are rich in this substance.
So are grapefruit, peaches and oranges.
Main benefits of glutathione:
- Delays cell ageing
- Strengthens the immune system
- It is the most effective antioxidant
- Helps eliminate free radicals and detoxify the liver and organism
- Promotes cellular health, preventing the onset of pathologies such as cancer
- It has anti-inflammatory properties
Antioxidant properties of glutathione
Glutathione plays a very important role in the defense of the body against oxidative stress.
It has the ability to capture reactive particles before they can damage cellular structures like DNA, RNA, proteins or membranes.
The reduced form of glutathione neutralizes the majority of the free radicals and reactive oxygen particles, such as the hydroxyl, superoxide and fatty acid radicals.
Glutathione also has the ability to "recycle other antioxidants". You can re-activate the oxidized forms of vitamin C, E, alpha-lipoic acid and coenzyme Q10. Thanks to glutathione, these anti-oxidants can be re-used.
Detoxifying properties of glutathione
Glutathione anables the detoxification of xenobiotic substances. Glutathione has the ability to bind to fat-soluble toxins, such as heavy metals, solvents and some pesticides, becoming water soluble so that they can be removed through the urine.
This is because the glutathione molecule has sulphur components. This sulphur forms a sticky substance that allows the toxins to adhere to it, being transported through the body until they are excreted and eliminated.
It is proven that glutathione is the substance that produces the daily detoxification in the liver.
The liver is the largest store of glutathione. Several studies have shown that low levels of glutathione may have a negative effect on liver function.
Certain illnesses (hepatitis, cirrhosis or liver damage due to alcohol consumption), and especially old age, cause the liver to overload and it can be damaged preventing, this way, an optimal detoxification of the organism.
A supplement of glutathione will facilitate these toxins being eliminated, thus enhancing the health of the liver.
The importance of glutathione for the immune system
Glutathione strengthens the immune system and reinforces our defenses against all kinds of pathologies.
The immune system is constantly "hunting" for pathogens and foreign antigens (viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, pre-cancer cells, etc.) that can cause cell damage, toxicity and various diseases.
To eliminate these pathogens, the body needs to have an adequate level of glutathione as it acts as "fuel" for the defensive cells of the immune system.
Glutathione promotes correct activity and multiplication of our lymphocytes (white blood cells). After coming into contact with the antigen, lymphocytes must multiply very quickly and, above all, create antibodies and interleukins, for this goal they need glutathione.
It has been clinically proven that glutathione is very important to protect the body from infections, serious autoimmune diseases and even cancer.
A healthy and strong immune system is essential to prevent autoimmune diseases such as thyroiditis, lupus, psoriasis, and many others.
Studies on the relationship between glutathione and the immune system have shown that glutathione may even help in the treatment of serious conditions such as HIV.
A lack of glutathione is not limited to a certain age or lifestyle, anyone can suffer from it, even when following a healthy and balanced diet.
Low levels of glutathione can cause many health problems, such as ADHD, multiple sclerosis, joint pain, fibromyalgia and diabetes.
Glutathione supplements are the most effective way to increase the levels of this valuable molecule in our body and protect it from the risk of suffering from all kinds of serious disorders and pathologies. People who are often sick need to keep in mind that they may suffer from a deficiency of glutathione, so the intake of glutathione supplements is the most recommended solution.
Glutathione is recommended for:
- Glutathione in supplement form is very beneficial for athletes. When carrying out efforts, they are subjected to a large amount of free radicals, and glutathione can help prevent the tissue damage that this causes.
- People looking for antioxidant protection to take care of their general health.
- People seeking to help their body eliminate toxins.
- People want to take care of their hepatic health.
- Elderly people.
Side effects of glutathione
It is very rare for glutathione to cause side effects. Mild abdominal pain and nausea have occasionally been observed.
On the other hand, it is believed that a prolonged intake for a long length of time, can produce a reduction in zinc levels. For this reason, it is advisable to also take zinc supplements whenever you are taking glutathione. It is not known whether glutathione intake is safe during pregnancy, so to avoid risk, it is preferable not to take it.
Glutathione is considered a completely safe supplement.
There are no known interactions of glutathione with other substances. But it is recommended to consult with the doctor if other medicationes or substances are being taken.
Alcohol reduces glutathione levels, so avoid drinking alcohol while taking glutathione, as it may cancel its effects.
Many people also take N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), a form of cysteine, along with glutathione. It has also been shown that milk thistle increases glutathione levels, so intake of the three substances simultaneously ensures good levels of glutathione.
Recommended glutathione dosage
Usually the recommended daily dose of glutathione is 100 to 500 mg, however, you must follow the directions on the leaflet of each product, so that the intake is always the most adequate.
Do not exceed the recommended dose on the package.
Other names for glutathione:
Glutathione is also known by other names, such as GSH, glutathione, gamma-L-glutamyl-L-cysteinylglycine, gamma-Glutamyl cysteinyl glycine, L-glutathione, reduced glutathione, N-(N-L-gamma-glutamyl-L-cysteinyl)glycine.