Through this process, glutathione is able to detoxify the lungs, liver and intestinal tract and remove a wide range of toxins, including those produced by heavy metals, cigarette smoke, alcohol, radiation and cancer chemotherapy. Glutathione also facilitates carbohydrate metabolism and prevents oxidized fats from accumulating in arteries, where they can increase one’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Glutathione neutralizes oxygen molecules before they cause damage to cells. It is a component of two important enzymes, glutathione peroxidase and glutathione-S-tranferase. Both of these enzymes play important roles in ridding the body of toxins. In addition to working at the cellular level, glutathione protects tissues in the brain, heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, eyes and skin from damage caused by oxidation. It also has anti-cancer properties due to its ability to target and remove carcinogens from the body, particularly from the liver.
Glutathione plays an important role in protecting the body from the effects of aging. Unfortunately, as the body ages, levels of glutathione tend to decline.
The lower glutathione levels become, the faster one becomes susceptible to the effects of aging.
Glutathione is also depleted by illness and chronic exposure to heavy pollution.
When levels of glutathione are deficient, the nervous system can become affected, resulting in problems with coordination and balance.
Low levels of glutathione also depress the immune system and predispose a person to both acute and chronic illness.
For these reasons, many people take glutathione supplements in order to maintain the body’s natural ability to get rid of toxins, though there is not much evidence that taking supplements provides any benefit.
Alternatively, taking supplements of the individual amino acids cysteine, glutamic acid and glycine is thought to enhance the body’s own ability to produce glutathione, and many nutritionists believe that taking individual amino acid supplements is more effective than taking glutathione itself. Supplements of DHEA, a hormone produced naturally in the body, are also thought to be effective in boosting the natural production of glutathione.
In addition to taking supplements, glutathione intake can be increased by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, most of which contain this important antioxidant in significant amounts. In fact, some vegetables, like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts not only provide glutathione but also contain compounds that boost production of it in the body. It should be noted that cooking can destroy glutathione in fruits and vegetables, so it is best to eat them raw or lightly steamed.
Another way to increase glutathione levels is to supplement with a high-quality whey protein, as clinical studies have shown to be effective in this regard.
Eating glutathione-rich foods can also help to boost the absorption of glutathione in supplements. Certain other nutrients, specifically vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin C, selenium and fish oil, help the body to produce and absorb glutathione more effectively.
If you’re looking to supplement with a glutathione supplement, the NOW brand product is available at one of our recommended online retailers, BodyBuilding.com.