Also known as the “master antioxidant”, glutathione is naturally produced in the body and it consists of three amino acid building blocks – l-cysteine, glutamine, and glycine.
It’s located in almost every cell of our bodies. The most potent sources of it are found in the liver, heart, lungs, brain, and kidneys.
What’s interesting about glutathione is the fact that you don’t need to consume it through food since we make it on our own.
Glutathione has the ability to renew itself and recycle other antioxidants found in your body. It manages inflammation and fights free radicals, which is why it’s not only useful for battling a few types of illnesses but also preventing them.
One of the most important functions of glutathione is stopping the free radicals, peroxides, and toxins from spreading in the body, meaning it reduces the oxidative stress on cells.
We all know that sebum is naturally occurring in our bodies, and maintaining a healthy amount of it is actually crucial for keeping our skin clear. However, when its constituent squalene comes in contact with common polluters or cigarette smoke, it oxidizes into squalene peroxide, which in turn blocks our pores far more than regular sebum would.
Since glutathione is found in our skin layers, it manages to act on these free radicals and stops them from spreading. Increased levels of glutathione can cause multiple diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and arthritis, so this key benefit should definitely be taken into account not only when it comes to matters of the skin, but other bodily functions as well.
Clogged pores in combination with buildup acne-causing bacteria are one of the major causes of acne. You might be wondering which factors influence the amount of congestion in the skin. Environmental pollutants, stress and poor dietary choices can cause congestion and clogged pores. Even though the skin has the ability to get rid of toxins on its own, when the toxins become too much to bear, the skin becomes susceptible to breakouts.
Glutathione helps by eliminating these unwanted substances from the skin. If you do decide to take glutathione as an acne treatment, you may notice that your symptoms become worse before they improve, meaning your skin might initially break out due to the toxins being pushed to the surface of the skin, but once glutathione tackles those toxins you will start noticing an improvement.
This powerful antioxidant also has the ability to brighten and even out the skin tone. So not only does it treat acne directly, but it also helps reduce the number of acne scars, hyperpigmentation, and marks caused by acne, which is important for keeping the skin healthy in the long run.
The quickest and most effective treatment in terms of acne scars is through injections. By implementing glutathione injections as part of your skin care routine your skin will become brighter, you will notice a natural glow and the texture will improve. The usual dosage is around 3500mg.
Because glutathione helps repair tissue and keeps the immune system on the right track, it’s no surprise that it’s known to help with this condition.
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes the buildup of skin cells by speeding up their life spans. Although there are a few types of psoriasis, the most common one is called plaque psoriasis and it’s characterized by dry, red skin lesions with scales.
A high level of glutathione can really do wonders for this condition since it reduces the oxidative stress in the cells it helps boost the immune system - which is crucial for healthy skin. A buildup of toxins worsens the symptoms of psoriasis, and as we’ve already discussed glutathione plays a major role in liver detoxification.
Patients suffering from psoriasis have seen incredible results by adding glutathione-rich food into their diet, including glutathione injections as a treatment and oral supplements.
If you do suffer from this condition, make sure you talk to your doctor before including any supplements.
Glutathione helps slow down the effects of aging.
Aging is the result of oxidative stress that’s caused by high amounts of free radicals and not enough antioxidants to combat them, which leads to quicker aging. As we’ve discussed before, providing the body with an abundance of antioxidants is the best way to ensure that we don’t age prematurely. This vigorous antioxidant will not only help you with the physical signs of aging such as wrinkles, grey hairs, and fine lines, but it will also protect your brain and memory.
Other than getting rid of acne, hyperpigmentation and giving you glowing, youthful and healthy skin, glutathione is also famous for providing overall health benefits.
So what are these benefits?
It can help treat liver disease by reducing the damage of the cells and detoxifying the body. Research suggests that glutathione can potentially prevent the progression of cancer. Glutathione might also reduce the damage to the colon for those suffering from ulcerative colitis.
In addition, it also has the potential to protect the gastrointestinal tract of people suffering from stomach-related issues. Some studies show that there is enough evidence to conclude that it can help reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, as well as improve the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.
As with any supplement, glutathione carries some potential risks and side effects, especially if you take in long-term. Prolonged supplementation has been linked to lower zinc levels. Also, be careful with it if you suffer from asthma, since it may trigger asthma attacks in those who have it. We still don’t know if taking glutathione while pregnant and breastfeeding is safe or not. Make sure you’re transparent with your doctor regarding all the supplements you’re taking so that you avoid potential cross-reactions.
Now that we’ve covered all the benefits of raising the glutathione levels in the body, you might be wondering if there is any way to increase the levels of this particular antioxidant in our bodies.
Luckily, there are a few things we can do to ensure that we’re making the most of this acne-fighting molecule.
Even though glutathione is naturally produced within the body, adding certain foods is a safe way to increase its levels. Avocados, broccoli, cauliflower, okra, kale, cabbage, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, onions, garlic, and spinach are some of the most potent sources of glutathione.
Vitamin C can be found in lots of fruits and veggies. It’s a water-soluble vitamin that can also work as an antioxidant with a similar function to that of glutathione, which is to protect the cells from damage. Vitamin C is important for the skin in its own right, but research suggests that it might help increase the levels of glutathione since it lowers its workload by performing the same function in the body.
Similarly, vitamin C can convert oxidized glutathione back to its active form, which is how you want it to be. You can increase vitamin C levels by adding more fresh fruits in your diet especially citrus fruits, bell peppers, kiwis and berries or by supplementing.
Choose food rich in micronutrients like selenium, zinc, magnesium, riboflavin, healthy protein sources and vitamin B6 to help increase glutathione production.
Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, lowers the levels of glutathione, which in turn causes more oxidative stress. High stress levels are also correlated with high levels of inflammation in the body, which can also lower the overall amount of antioxidants.
While any type of exercise does wonders for your skin and overall health, long-distance, strenuous training can potentially create more oxidative stress and cell damage. Choosing HIIT (high-intensity interval training) will not only save you time, but it will also keep your glutathione levels steady. Combine this type of cardio with strength training for optimal results.
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is associated with increased levels of oxidative stress. If you consume alcohol on a regular basis, chances are the glutathione levels in your lungs have decreased by more than 70%, which is a shocking percentage. Limiting the amount of alcohol you consume is the right thing to do in order to avoid fluctuation in glutathione levels.
This master antioxidant has the incredible ability to help the body repair itself from inside out. Since the amount found in our bodies decreases as we age, supplementing is usually recommended. You can do this by taking oral supplements, injections, taking it in liposomal form or simply including more glutathione-rich food to your diet.
Living a healthy lifestyle is another important factor if you want to maintain healthy antioxidant levels - not to mention that it’s just the best thing for your health overall. It’s the only way to make sure that your liver is producing the optimal amount of antioxidants that are crucial for a healthy body.