If you are a lover of functional medicine like most of our patients, you have probably heard about glutathione. In the last five years, over 100,000 medical articles have been devoted to the molecule. Herald as one of the most important antioxidants, if not THE most important antioxidant, glutathione has been shown to help in the treatment of cancer, heart disease, dementia, and autism. This week’s blog puts a much deserved spotlight on glutathione, its benefits, and how to optimize your glutathione levels.
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione is a tripeptide molecule made of three amino acids: glutamic acid, cysteine and glycine. While your body produces its own glutathione, the bad news is that poor diet, pollution, toxins, medications, stress, trauma and aging can deplete your levels. In fact, starting at the age of 20, your glutathione levels begin to decline 10-15% per decade, causing symptoms of low energy, fatigue, and a weakened immune system.
Why is it so important?
Glutathione is a vital antioxidant and is imperative for optimal functioning. Glutathione is powerful because of the sulfur chemical groups it contains. Toxins and free radicals stick to the sulfur, and allow the body a way to eliminate the toxins. Usually, glutathione is recycled by the body and can be used again to help eliminate toxins. However, if the toxin load is too great, glutathione can not be recycled and problems may occur. Certain genes also produce enzymes that allow the body to create and recycle glutathione in the body. If you are deficient in one or more of these genes, you will have a harder time detoxifying and producing natural glutathione.
What should I do to optimize my glutathione levels?
1. Eat the right foods
– Sulfur rich foods will help support glutathione production. This includes garlic, onions and vegetables such as broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, cauliflower and watercress.
– exercise helps build your body’s natural glutathione levels and immune system. When starting an exercise plan, make sure to start slow and work your way up. Walking, jogging, sports and strength training can all be parts of your exercise program. Plan to increase your workout regimen to 30 min/day for the best results.
3. Boost levels with supplements
N-acetyl Cysteine will support glutathione levels and has been used extensively to treat lung disease, asthma, and tylenol overdoses.
Alpha lipoic acid is crucial to energy production, brain health and detoxification. While its made naturally, your stores could be depleted from stress or other toxins.
Methylation nutrients are critical for normal biochemical functions. Folate, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 levels should be examined and repleted.
Selenium is a crucial mineral for glutathione production and recycling.
Vitamin C and Vitamin E work together to recycle glutathione and are part of the family of antioxidants
4. IV Nutritional Support
If your immune system if not optimal and your glutathione is depleted, IV nutritional support may be of service to you. Our office offers IV glutathione support, which may be especially helpful for patients battling chronic diseases.
Levels of glutathione are significantly decreased in Parkinson’s patients, with the deficiency occurring in the portion of the brain where dopamine-generating neurons are concentrated.
For many Parkinson’s patients, glutathione replenishment has proven to be an effective therapy for halting or even potentially reversing disability. In patients who respond to this therapy, the effects can be almost immediate and dramatic. Within an hour of treatment, patients often experience reduced rigidity, fewer tremors, and improved walking ability.
Glutathione is an imperative antioxidant and is essentially to optimal health. For more information on nutritional IVs or additional therapies, contact our office at (407) 355-9246.