Republished with permission from nutri-health.com.
There are so many great foods and herbs that give antioxidant protection to the body. Just to mention a few: blueberries, grapes, resveratrol, milk thistle, chocolate, and many, many more.
However, there is only one antioxidant that literally keeps you alive. Glutathione (glue-tah-thigh-own). What? Never heard of it? You and the rest of the world. It’s pretty surprising since the research on this has been around for decades.
Every cell, tissue and organ in the body is kept alive by glutathione. Our bodies make glutathione out of three “building blocks:” cysteine, glycine and glutamate.
There is also glutathione in real, healthy food like raw fruits and veggies, whole meats, dairy and eggs. So we may get some glutathione from food. But ingested glutathione doesn’t cross into the brain so your brain won’t get glutathione from food. And there’s an enzyme in your stomach that reduces the absorption of glutathione. Most organs seem to prefer to make glutathione from the building blocks.
And, if you’re like most people and don’t eat a perfect diet, you aren’t getting much glutathione from food. Processed food (except for fresh frozen) has no glutathione.
Here’s the sobering truth. If your body runs out of glutathione, you’re dead.
Modern Life Continually Drains Your Glutathione
A good example of that is an overdose of acetaminophen pain killer (Tylenol®). If you take too much, the glutathione in your liver gets used up trying to neutralize it and bam!… your liver dies and without a liver transplant, you die.
Because that’s what glutathione does—neutralize contaminants, drugs, toxins, radiation, too much sugar, oxidation, inflammation and ‘what all’ that continually floods our body.
And unless you live in a bubble on top of a mountain, modern life is a soup of contaminants, drugs, toxins, radiation, too much sugar. Our glutathione is continually drained by having to neutralize all this.
And you don’t have a huge reserve. Your liver has a 1-day reserve; your whole body has a 4-day reserve. (Jones, 2011)
At Age 45…Something….Happens…You Start to Get Old
And then… you turn 45. Then, for whatever reason, the glutathione levels in your body just take a huge dive. If you see a chart, it just falls off a cliff. Up until 45, glutathione has kept ahead of the oxidative load. After 45, for most people, it falls behind. Way behind. (Jones, 2002)
There are some very smart scientists who believe that it is the drastic decline in levels of glutathione that is actually the root cause of aging. And they have some pretty dramatic evidence for this. (Droge, 2005; Sekhar, 2011)
Glutathione May Be the Most Amazing Anti-Aging Discovery Ever
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There are at least 5 human studies that show healthy, vital, high-functioning older people, even people in their hundreds, have HIGH levels of glutathione. And these studies also show that older people who are sick have very LOW levels of glutathione.
For example, one study in India showed that:
- Healthy older people had 11 times more glutathione than older people with poor heart health.
- Healthy older people had 7 times more glutathione than older people with poor blood sugar control. (Kharb, 2000)
Another study out of the University of Louisville in Kentucky found that older women (age 60-103 years) who were in top shape both mentally and physically had very high glutathione levels. Their super health was verified with physical exams, clinical chemistry profiles and psychosocial assessments. (Lang, 2002)
How Do You Know Your Level of Glutathione?
How do you know if your glutathione levels are low? Well, several studies found just asking people about their health was very accurate. People who rated their health as very poor, poor or fair had low glutathione levels. People who rated their health as good to excellent had high levels.
Scientists Say: Everybody Over 50 Should Be Taking A Supplement to Raise Glutathione
I read a lot of scientific papers and believe me, scientists are a conservative group. They hardly ever stick their necks out on a recommendation. Except about glutathione.
More than one expert on aging and glutathione recommends that EVERYBODY who is over 45-50 should be taking a supplement that raises glutathione. (And they don’t work for supplement companies either.) (Julius, 1994; Sekhar, 2011)
How To Raise Your Glutathione Levels with a Supplement
There is widespread medical and scientific agreement that a supplement of 500-1200 mg of N Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) daily is the most effective way to regularly boost your levels of glutathione. NAC delivers the crucial building block cysteine so your body can make its own glutathione. (Atkuri, 2007)
It would make sense that if you are in good health, you could take the lower dose. If you take medications, smoke, drink or have poor health, then take the higher dose. It is considered very safe to take with decades of clinical use. (Millea, 2007)
There are some proprietary supplements of straight glutathione that are gaining credibility, and they may also be useful. However, they do not have the amount of evidence that NAC has. Over 33 gold-standard, placebo-controlled clinical human trials show that NAC improves health, quality of life and well being by increasing glutathione.
NAC is Also a Mucus Buster
NAC is also used to break up stagnant mucus in the lungs and sinuses, so this is an added bonus.
I Never Leave Home Without It
When I travel, I reduce my supplements to the bare minimum—but I always take my NAC!
Atkuri KR, et al. . N-Acetyl cysteine—a safe antidote for cysteine/glutathione deficiency. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2007 Aug;7(4):355-9.
Droge W. Oxidative stress and ageing: is ageing a cysteine deficiency syndrome? Phil. Trans. R. Soc. 2005 360, 2355-2372
Jones DP. The health dividend of glutathione. Natural Med J. Feb 2011. 3(2)
Jones DP, et al. Redox analysis of human plasma allows separation of pro-oxidant events of aging from decline in antioxidant defenses. Free Radical Biology & Medicine. 2002. vol 33, No, 9 pp 1290 – 1300.
Julius M, et al. Glutathione and morbidity in a community-based sample of elderly. J Clin Epidemiol Vol. 47, No. 9, pp. 1021-1026, 1994.
Kharb S, et al. Glutathione levels in health and sickness. Indian J Med Sci 2000;54:52-4.
Millea PJ. N-Acetylcysteine: multiple clinical applications. American Family Physician. 2009 Aug 1; 80(3):265-269. Review.
Sekhar RV, et al. Deficient synthesis of glutathione underlies oxidative stress in aging and can be corrected by dietary cysteine and glycine supplementation. Am J Clin Nutr 2011;94:847–53.
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