There’s a reason why glutathione is the body’s most important antioxidant. This powerful antioxidant, found in high concentrations in every cell in the body, plays a crucial role in making DNA, helping certain enzymes function, breaking down free radicals, and protecting your cells.
All these acts make glutathione a crucial component for ensuring that your body (and all its tissues and organs) are working correctly.
However, here is where the problem comes; glutathione naturally declines with age, and some researchers have found links between these lower glutathione levels and certain diseases. Since we know that low glutathione levels can impact our health, the next step is working to increase its levels back to normal.
Because of the many applications of glutathione, there is still a lot unknown about its full effects on the body. However, research has been able to see its impact in the following 11 areas, meaning that, by increasing your glutathione levels, you might just experience these benefits yourself.
Glutathione helps to boost your immune system, increasing your immunity and keeping you healthy. It accomplishes this by supporting natural killer cells and T cells, two types of white blood cells that are very important for the immune system.
One study suggests that glutathione fine-tunes your immune response so that it can more quickly jump into action (without going overboard). This means that glutathione can help your body attack pathogens before they become an infection and begin negatively impacting your health.
Additionally, a small clinical trial found that those who took glutathione supplements had higher levels of lymphocytes and natural killer cells, which means their immune system had more infection-fighting cells.
Are you struggling to fall asleep at night and wake up feeling rested? Studies on glutathione have found that those with higher levels of glutathione fall asleep easier at night, wake up on time, and feel refreshed when they wake up.
Glutathione shows immense potential in fighting oxidative stress, which the skin is especially susceptible to since it is the body’s first line of defense against the environment. However, a 2017 study found that supplementing with glutathione helped to increase skin elasticity, which leads to younger-looking skin.
A 2017 study found that brain tissue can be more susceptible to oxidative stress, suggesting that glutathione’s ability to combat oxidative stress and the cell damage it causes may then offer brain-health benefits.
Research has also found that low levels of glutathione in the brain are linked to certain neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Beyond the connection between low glutathione and these diseases, research has found that supplementing glutathione levels helps improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s.
Not only is glutathione found in every cell in the body, but it is present in even higher concentrations within your major internal organs. Its job is to help the organs counteract free radical damage and detoxify. However, when your glutathione levels are low, it cannot handle all of these tasks, leaving your organs to sustain damage.
By boosting your glutathione levels, it can once again take over caring for your organs, keeping them in good health and improving their function.
A study completed on rats show promise for the ability of glutathione to promote heart health and decrease heart disease risk. The study found that 18 weeks of an antioxidant-rich diet reduced the risk of heart muscle enlargement (a sign of heart failure) and improved blood pressure numbers. The scientists theorize that the antioxidants in the diet turned on antioxidant pathways to boost glutathione production.
Glutathione can also improve atherosclerosis, a condition marked by plaque build-up in the arteries, which can cause heart disease or stroke. One study found that administering glutathione to patients with atherosclerosis led to a significant increase in blood filtration and a decrease in blood thickness.
Insulin is an essential hormone for regulating blood sugar levels, and research has found that low glutathione levels are associated with insulin resistance and higher rates of fat storage in the body. When these studies supplemented cysteine and glycine to increase glutathione, the participants saw increased insulin sensitivity and fat burning within just two weeks. Talk about some quick results!
Glutathione plays a crucial role in scavenging and neutralizing the toxins that can damage your cells. When you increase your glutathione levels, you also increase toxin elimination throughout your body.
Research has shown that lower glutathione levels contribute to an inflammatory state because of increasing levels of pro-inflammatory mediators. By supplementing glutathione levels, your body is better able to control inflammation and prevent chronic inflammation.
This helps with inflammatory diseases such as:
A study on older adults in nursing homes and assisted living found that those with higher glutathione levels were in better health, and those with lower levels saw lower energy levels.
Studies have also shown that taking glutathione before a workout can help lessen fatigue after the exercise session.
N-acetyl cysteine, a by-product of glutathione, is used as a medication to treat respiratory diseases such as cystic fibrosis and asthma, showing the potential for glutathione to help protect the health of your lungs.
Now that you know about all these benefits of glutathione, increasing this vital antioxidant should be one of your top concerns if you want to improve your overall health.
The good news about glutathione is that, while the body naturally produces it, you can also increase its levels it through diet and supplements.
For your food, focus on adding the following to your diet:
In addition to diet, you can also increase your glutathione levels through dietary supplements. However, glutathione is broken down by your digestive tract and stomach acid. So it is important to take a supplement that does not contain glutathione, but that supports the body’s natural production of glutathione and naturally increases its levels in your body.