Learn what Glutathione is, how to pronounce it, how it works in your body and what else needs to be present to make the magic happen, what occurs when we don’t have enough and how to boost your levels naturally.
Pronounced (glue–ta- thigh-own) Glutathione (GSH) is made up of three different amino acids: glutamine, cysteine and glycine. GSH is a strong antioxidant which help prevent or reduce damage caused to our cells by molecules called “free radicals”. Free radicals are caused as a natural by- product of being alive from exposure to unwanted gasses and environmental chemicals we breathe in and out, digestive by-products, chemicals and toxins absorbed via our skin, and through our fruits and vegetables, herbicides and pesticides, chemicals in our water and drinks. When there is free-radical damage, otherwise healthy cells can become altered, which can lead to chronic conditions, fatigue and a general feeling of not being 100%. Antioxidants like GSH mop up these free radicals before any long term serious damage results.
GSH is naturally produced by your liver and acts like an internal rubbish truck – driving around collecting up these rowdy free radicals and other toxins like heavy metals and helping to expel them from the body quietly (a bit like the drunk friend at the pub that is quietly popped into a taxi and taken home). GSH can be sourced through eating a diet rich in fresh vegetables and fruits like avocados, dark green sulphur producing bitter vegetables like Kale, Cabbage, Brussel sprouts and Cauliflower. Common vegetables like Potatoes, Onions and Garlic also provide GSH – as do fruits and some spices like Cardamom, Cinnamon and Turmeric.
GSH works in close conjunction with your internal methylation process to help repair the body and remove unwanted free radicals. The Methylation process helps to repair the damage done to each cell DNA when the free radicals come to party. To have an optimal methylation process we need the vitamins B12(Cobalamin), B6 (Pyridoxine), B2(Riboflavin) and folate (folic acid/ Vitamin B9) to be present internally. Folate rich foods are things like wheat germ, spinach, sesame seeds, broccoli, Cashew nuts and Walnuts. B12 is usually sourced through meat and fish products like chicken, lamb, sardines, oysters, tuna, eggs and cheese. A supplement can be advisable for vegans. B6 is found in watercress, cauliflower, cabbage, peppers, bananas and broccoli. B2 comes from – yes you guessed it, more veg like mushrooms, watercress, cabbage, broccoli and pumpkin. If you eat a diet high in processed foods and not many fruits and veggies- and you add liver loaders into your body like caffeine, alcohol and/or drugs then you may not have an optimal methylation process happening. This alongside reduced GSH levels may result in more recurrent ills and chills, signs of ageing and a feeling of lack of energy.
GSH levels peak naturally when we are 18 – 20 years old. Remember when you used to feel bullet- proof as a student? When you lived on a poor diet, probably drank a bit too much (alcohol and caffeine) and could bounce right out of bed the following morning with plenty of energy after about 3 hours’ sleep? As we age, our GSH levels need a bit more support from us in terms of our lifestyle and diet choices. After this peak at 20 years old our natural production of GSH declines at around 10% per year. So, there is some truth in why you can feel “dusty” after a lot less alcohol and reduced sleep as we age.
Leading an active lifestyle stimulates GSH. When we break into a sweat we are also helping to clear our body of unwanted toxins. If you are chronically low on GSH then you might not feel the energy to want to get active- so start with the diet and supplements first and then gradually include some gentle exercise like walking. Incidentally, exercising also creates a certain number of free radicals, which is why a good diet rich in antioxidants like Vitamin C (which we don’t manufacture internally – we must get it from our foods or supplements) is so important to provide your body with the tools to repair and nourish itself constantly.
Over and over we hear these days about the importance of a consuming a largely plant based diet to provide all these micro and macro nutrients to allow our magnificent bodies to repair and replenish each day. Awareness of how all these (sometimes more complex) internal chemical pathways affect our outer health hopefully will go a long way to helping you make conscious and smart choices when it comes to you and your family’s diet and lifestyles. While you are enjoying your broccoli tonight – start thinking about how that Glutathione is supporting your good health and energy levels.
TAPS No: PP1198