(Natural News) Longevity and maintaining youthfulness are some lofty goals in today’s world of processed foods, environmental toxins and sedentary lifestyles. Proper nutrition is one of the best ways to help keep your body healthy and disease-free. There is a wide array of nutrients that are beneficial, no doubt. One such nutrient, the antioxidant glutathione is an anti-aging powerhouse that ought to be singled out for its total health-promoting benefits.
Glutathione is unique in that it is actually produced by your body, and helps to reduce the burden of environmental toxins at a cellular level. The nutrient is so powerful that it’s said to help prevent a variety of conditions, like Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, heart disease, arthritis and more
Glutathione: How it works for you
Glutathione reductase is the natural, enzymatic form that glutathione takes in the body — and it can be found in virtually every cell you have. Cells use glutathione to protect against damage caused by free radicals, inflammation, oxidative stress and other hazards.
While glutathione can be found system-wide, sources say the highest concentrations of the antioxidant can be found in the body’s detoxification organs, like the liver and kidneys. In fact, glutathione is essential to the detoxification process in cells at virtually every level.
Natural Health 365 reports that there are three key steps to detox, and glutathione supports all three stages. Whether it be toxin modification (chemical reactions that make toxins easier for the body to attack), conjugation (binding toxins to metabolites to prevent them from spreading) or excretion — glutathione is there to make the process run smoothly. In fact, in the conjugation phase, many toxins actually bind to glutathione before being excreted.
Without glutathione, detoxification would be far less effective, if possible at all.
Through glutathione’s promotion of healthy cells (especially healthy mitochondria), it also exacts anti-aging effects. Studies have shown that glutathione is truly essential for long-term health, as it promotes antioxidant defense, assists with the breakdown of nutrients, and plays a role in the regulation of many biological processes — including immune system responses.
Glutathione deficiency is known to increase oxidative stress levels, which can set the stage for a number of debilitating conditions.
Keep glutathione levels optimal for maximum benefit
Maintaining healthy levels of glutathione can be difficult as you age. Like many other nutrients, glutathione production starts to slow down as we progress through life. Stress, poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle can also deplete glutathione stores faster than they can be replaced.
There are not many foods that contain glutathione (though broccoli and carrots do contain it). However, many foods are glutathione precursors, which means they contain the nutrients your body needs to make glutathione itself.
As Natural Health 365 explains, there are a number of nutrients your body needs to make glutathione. The amino acids L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid and glycine are considered to be the “building blocks” of glutathione, while vitamins B-2 and B-6, along with the mineral selenium are essential for the nutrient to be synthesized.
Foods that are suggested to help support healthy glutathione levels include: Avocados, garlic, onion, parsley, and cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli and kale. Additionally, herbs like turmeric and cinnamon are also recommended, along with protein from natural, sustainably farmed sources including red meat, eggs and raw milk.
Glutathione supplements are also widely available, but are notorious for not being readily absorbed by the body. This lack of bioavailability renders most glutathione supplements ineffective, at best. Some research has shown that liposomal glutathione can be an effective form of supplementation, however.
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