Your body creates a wide range of compounds designed to maintain and enhance your general health and wellbeing. Glutathione is one of the most important compounds in your body, but you may not be getting as much of it as you need. Read on to learn more about glutathione and how it benefits health.
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione, often abbreviated to GSH, is a molecule produced naturally by the liver and is made up of glycine, L-cysteine, and L-glutamate. It is considered one of the most important and powerful antioxidants in the body, and it is believed to enhance the immune system. The amount of glutathione naturally produced by the body decreases with age. Poor diet, chronic stress, and certain infections and diseases can also decrease glutathione levels, which is why some people turn to supplements.
How Do People Take Glutathione?
Although glutathione is created naturally in the body, it can also be found in certain foods. The highest concentrations of glutathione are found in:
- Raw or rare meat
- Certain fruits and vegetables, particularly those that have been freshly pickled
- Milk and dairy products that have not been pasteurized
The main problem with dietary glutathione sources is that the human body may have trouble absorbing it properly. Cooking and storage methods can also reduce the amount of glutathione present in food.
Glutathione can also be inhaled, applied topically, or administered intravenously. Intravenous glutathione is often used for symptoms of diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and atherosclerosis. It is also sometimes used to ease side effects from chemotherapy and to help with infertility.
Oral supplementation is the most common and practical means of improving glutathione levels. Oral glutathione supplements are broken down into the molecule’s three amino acids, with many of the benefits attributed to L-cysteine.
Increasing Glutathione Naturally
Certain foods and nutrients that are not glutathione-rich may still help to increase your natural glutathione levels. These include:
- Sulfur-rich foods – Sulfur is a mineral that plays an integral role in a variety of cellular functions. It is required to support the structure and activity of certain proteins and enzymes within the body. Sulfur is also a necessary mineral for the natural synthesis of glutathione.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is an essential vitamin most commonly known for supporting the immune system and helping to fight off the common cold. Researchers suggest that vitamin C’s own antioxidant properties may help glutathione’s survival. Some studies also show that vitamin C may increase glutathione levels, particularly in white blood cells, by converting oxidized glutathione back into its non-oxidized form.
- Selenium – Selenium is another essential mineral that is necessary for glutathione activity. Studies have found that selenium supplements may increase glutathione peroxidase levels.
What are the Benefits of Taking Glutathione?
Glutathione is most prominently known for its role as an antioxidant. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which are products of cellular oxidation. Free radicals can cause damage to cells and DNA, resulting inflammation and disease. Antioxidants, like glutathione, neutralize free radicals to prevent them from causing this damage. Glutathione deficiency is often characterized by greater free radical damage, or oxidative stress.
Along with its antioxidant properties, glutathione plays a key role in the metabolism and breakdown of nutrients as well as the regulation of various processes, including immune response. While glutathione still requires further study, current research suggests that glutathione supplementation may offer several health benefits.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel diseases, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, are disorders characterized by chronic inflammation in the digestive tract. This can result in abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and fatigue. Some studies suggest that the inflammation may be caused by oxidative stress, and supplementing with glutathione may help to heal the damage in the colon and gut.
Studies found that combining glutathione supplements with regular exercise training may help to increase antioxidant capacity while protecting the heart from oxidative damage and improving general heart function.
Autoimmune diseases refer to several disorders that are characterized by the immune response mistakenly attacking heathy cells. This includes lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and celiac disease. While research is still determining what causes this immune system malfunction, studies show that glutathione may help to combat the symptoms of autoimmune diseases through its antioxidant properties. Reducing oxidative stress and eliminating free radicals may regulate the body’s natural immunological response.
Risks and Side Effects
Because there are only a handful of studies on glutathione, not much is known about the side effects or risks of supplementing with glutathione. Some people have reported bloating or cramping when using glutathione, and others report an allergic reaction such as a rash or trouble breathing.
If your doctor has recommended glutathione or if you believe it could support your health, consider bovine colostrum supplementation as an easy way to improve your body’s glutathione status. Colostrum contains natural glutathione and its precursors. And because colostrum helps ameliorate inflammation, leaky gut and its related conditions (IBS, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s, etc.), taking a highly efficacious supplement daily is recommended.
Keep in mind that leaky gut is a multi-faceted condition which simply cannot be fixed by a single antioxidant, a single amino acid, a single mineral, a single strain of probiotic, or a single extract of an herb. That is not to say that patients won’t experience some symptom relief, but real results can only be achieved with the one substance designed by Mother Nature and provided by every mammalian mother to her newborn – colostrum.
Sovereign Laboratories provides a superior colostrum supplement for people of all ages. Learn more about Colostrum-LD® with LD Liposomal Delivery™.This article was brought to you by Sovereign Laboratories, a world leader in the development of liposomal delivery to maximize the bioavailability of our dietary supplements.