Glutathione is a small protein found in all cells. It is referred to as the “master” antioxidant due to its ability to increase the utilization and recycling of their antioxidants. Its major function includes providing antioxidant protection, removing toxins and supporting the immune system. It is formed of three amino acids: cysteine, glutamate and glycine.
It helps to maintain mental health, cardiac health, skin health, improve insulin sensitivity, prevents cancer development, reduces inflammation and provides other health benefits. In the absence of this compound, the body cell cannot detoxify correctly and there are chances of cell damage. You can increase its levels in your body by taking supplements such as glutathione tablets and eating foods rich in it.
In this blog we will discuss
- Glutathione benefits for human health
- Foods that increases glutathione levels in the body
Effects of Glutathione & its benefits for human health
1. Antioxidant activity: It is a potent antioxidant thus it protects the body from the harms of free radicals. Free radicals are harmful to the body in a number of ways. They can cause premature ageing and various medical conditions. The antioxidants assist in counteracting the free radicals and provide protection to the body against their damaging effects.
2. Prevents cancer development: According to certain studies, it plays a role in the prevention of cancer progression.
3. Improves insulin sensitivity: Insulin resistance can cause type 2 diabetes. The insulin causes the movement of glucose from the blood and into cells. A study suggests that the individuals with insulin resistance are susceptible to have low glutathione levels, specifically if they have suffered complications, like retinopathy or neuropathy.
4. Decreases symptoms of Parkinson’s disease: Clinical Trials indicate that maintaining its levels in the body may assist to the symptoms of this disorder.
5. Decreases the damage by ulcerative colitis: It is a key antioxidant in gastrointestinal tissue. Ulcerative colitis has been associated with oxidative stress and damage.
6. Help with the effects of drinking alcohol: It plays a role in metabolizing alcohol. When alcohol is processed in the body, it forms a carcinogenic byproduct called acetaldehyde. Glutathione contains a amino acid L-cysteine that breaks the acetaldehyde into carbon dioxide and water that get eliminated in urine.
7. Helps the patients with autism: Children with autism spectrum disorders have low levels of glutathione as compared to normal children. They suffer different abnormalities in forming and restoring active forms of glutathione.
People with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder suffer high oxidative stress and low glutathione levels.
8. Improves cardiovascular health: Studies demonstrated that the sublingual glutathione supplementation helps to decrease the vascular stiffness and lowered low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and total cholesterol with long-term use.
9.Lowers inflammation: It inhibits the formation of most inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines keep a person suffering from chronic diseases in constant low-grade inflammatory state. Inhibiting the inflammatory pathways restores the inflammation levels. Thus, there is a strong link between inflammation and glutathione.
Glutathione also inhibits the NF-κ, the primary regulator of inflammation. It is a protein complex that enhances the activity of many inflammatory genes and their products.
10. Skin whitening effects: Nowadays, there are huge numbers of products that contain glutathione as a skin care agent due to its amazing benefits for the skin. However, some people like to take its tablets.
Research shows that it helps to whiten the skin. It binds to the tyrosinase and inhibits the pathway of the enzyme to form melanin. Melanin is a pigment, which is responsible for the color of skin.
Oral Glutathione Supplements helps the skin in the second way also, by hindering the activation of tyrosinase. It acts so by reducing the free radicals in the body. Free radicals are responsible for producing the tyrosinase.
Foods that increases glutathione levels in the body
- Sulfur-rich foods: Sulfur is a chemical found in various amino acids that also include the ones required for the glutathione synthesis. Vegetables such as garlic and onions are rich sources of sulfur-containing compounds, which can assist in enhancing the glutathione production.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale contain a sulforaphane, which is a compound having several health benefits. According to studies sulforaphane increases and restores the cellular and blood glutathione levels.
- Selenium: It is a cofactor of glutathione peroxidase, which is an antioxidant enzyme active within the cells. It protects the cells from damage caused by free radicals formed during the metabolism. Selenium allows glutathione peroxidase to perform.
The rich source of selenium includes Brazil nut, beans, oatmeal, spinach, sunflower seeds, brown rice, fish and mushrooms.
- Protein: Glutathione comprises cysteine, glycine and glutamic acid. The whole grains are a rich source of these three amino acids. kombu offers glutamic acid, sunflower seeds and lentil offers cysteine, and glycine is offered by organic tofu.
- Vitamin C: It is also a potent antioxidant, which can help in maintaining the levels of glutathione by counteracting the free radicals. As per the studies increased intake of vitamin C helps to increase the levels of glutathione in white blood cells and red blood cells.
Citrus fruits such as kiwis, papayas, strawberries and bell peppers are rich sources of vitamin C.
- Foods naturally rich in glutathione: Fresh and frozen foods offer its highest levels. Okra, asparagus, spinach and avocados contain its high levels, along with some other vital minerals and vitamins.
Glutathione levels in the body can be maintained through food and oral supplements such as its tablets. But beyond them, the levels in your body also depend upon the way you live. Taking adequate sleep, doing regular exercise and limiting alcohol consumption can help to maintain its levels in your body levels.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
1. Is glutathione bad for the heart?
Glutathione is a potent antioxidant for the heart. According to the studies its deficiency is associated with higher incidences of heart failure.
2. What are the symptoms of glutathione deficiency?
People with its deficiency may develop frequent bacterial infections. The other symptoms of its deficiency include anemia and symptoms caused by brain problems including seizures and intellectual disability.
3. Does glutathione remove scars?
It can help to reduce and prevent dark marks, age spots and scars. Moreover, it detoxifies the liver that results in brighter and clearer skin.
4. How does glutathione help skin?
It is an antioxidant that is naturally found in our cells, which counteracts the free radicals, stimulates the immune system and helps to detoxify our body. It can further cause skin lightening by deactivating the enzyme tyrosinase that assists the production of the pigment.
5. How long will it take to see the results from glutathione?
You can observe the benefits of glutathione administration after about three weeks of therapy. Furthermore, the improvements depend on how regularly you are taking the therapy, your general health and metabolism.
6. Is Glutathione skin whitening permanent?
The whitening effects with the use of its supplements are permanent if you maintain them by avoiding sun exposure. Your skin colour will not go back to its original colour even if you stop the administration of these supplements. Though, there will always be susceptibility for you to darken your skin on sun exposure and exposure to harsh elements.