While some swear by its unparalleled ability to aid weight loss, others cannot stop talking about its potent anti-aging properties that have recently taken the world by storm. This is glutathione; one of the body's most powerful and important antioxidants which has been gaining a lot of traction of late. As a result, the popularity and market demand of glutathione foods has catapulted immensely to the point that glutathione rich foods are now being hailed as some sort of panacea to almost a dozen health problems. But how much of this purported praise is true and, in fact, accurate? Let's take a quick look.
You see, foods high in glutathione have always existed among us. But it is only recently that nutritionists were able to figure out the three chief amino acids that make up this antioxidant i.e glycine, glutamine and cysteine. And as much as there are several sources of glutathione as we shall see later in this article, its imperative to point out that the body is perfectly capable of synthesizing its own glutathione with minimal external aid. However, this ability gradually wanes with age and is also adversely affected by several factors such as chronic stress, smoking, excessive alcohol intake and prolonged illness. That's why its important to stock up on foods that contain glutathione to give your body a helping hand in this department and increase glutathione levels in the bloodstream.
Exploring the Numerous Glutathione Health Benefits
If you have been asking yourself questions such as 'what is glutathione good for?' or 'What foods are high in glutathione and how are they beneficial to the body?' then you have just stumbled on the right piece of information. We are just about to dissect the numerous glutathione health benefits while putting special emphasis on its incredible antioxidant and toxin-elimination properties.
1. Improve your Complexion by Taking Advantage of Glutathione Skin Benefits
Being an antioxidant that is primarily secreted by the liver, it shouldn't come as a surprise that there are several glutathione skin benefits among many more medical uses. This is after all a compound that is often present in almost all vital life-supporting functions such as protein synthesis, tissue building and excretion of toxins. If anything, the effect of glutathione on skin is built on the fact that it is able to shield the body from oxidative damage by free radicals.
Speaking of which, healthy glutathione levels are often characterized by several tale-tell signs, the likes of;
- A clear and evenly smooth complexion
- Few or no blemishes at all
- Diminished acne marks and scars
- A brighter, lighter and overall attractive skin tone
The observation that glutathione packs a remarkable ability to impart a smooth and youthful glow to a person's skin is the reason it is employed in top tier skin brightening creams such as this one by Bloommy.
What's more, experts believe that glutathione - unlike conventional skin lightening ingredients found in traditional whitening lotions - has this sublime way of infusing the brightening action from inside out. In other words, boosting your levels of this extraordinary antioxidant using a glutathione supplement for skin whitening such as these Radiance Capsules is a much safer alternative compared to those chemical-laden lotions. The antioxidant works by inhibiting tyrosinase- one of the many enzymes that is involved in the production of melanin (the stuff that is responsible for dark spots and hyperpigmentation).
Besides reducing the intensity of melanated spots on your skin, glutathione is also thought to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by improving the skin's elasticity. In addition to this, studies show that glutathione is somewhat capable of improving the symptoms of psoriasis, a common skin disease that is characterized by unsightly, itchy and scaly patches on the scalp or knees.
2. The Nexus Between Glutathione And Weight Loss
The association between glutathione and weight loss has always puzzled scientists and researchers. For one, low levels of these antioxidants is linked to the sporadic weight gain which is experienced as we transition from youth to middle-age. It is believed that the progressively diminishing levels of glutathione that occurs during this transient stage plays a critical role in this. And it is very easy to see why this can be traced back to the antioxidant.
First, it is no news that glutathione plays a central role in protecting our cell's mitochondria from oxidative damage meted by free radicals. In one way or another, it is sufficient to say that its presence is paramount for efficient energy production and high metabolic rates. This kind of revved up metabolism is exactly what is needed for fast weight loss, especially if you naturally find it hard to shave off excess pounds.
Secondly, low glutathione levels often translate to damaged mitochondria or inefficient ones. These disease cell organelles are typically unable to sustain the ideal levels of respiratory efficiency needed to reach and hold on to a low body fat percentage. To make matters even worse, these damaged mitochondria will produce additional free radicals during operation. In turn, these extra radicals will damage more mitochondria thus precipitating a vicious cycle of more damage and less energy that eventually culminates in uncontrolled weight gain.
Thirdly, by binding and breaking down these harmful free radicals, GSH relieves your precious mitochondria (and the rest of the cell) from the trouble of dealing with runaway oxidative stress. This then implies that your body can now work efficiently by operating at a near-optimum energy production capacity, which transmutes to faster fat burning and quicker weight loss.
3. Exploring the Link Between Glutathione And Liver Function
There are several reasons why glutathione benefits liver and the adjacent and interconnected body organs like the spleen and gallbladder.
Firstly, GSH is a potent antioxidant that is known for annihilating free radicals imparted to the body by environmental aggressors. In a way, it makes the work of the liver easier by assisting in the elimination of toxins from the bloodstream and within the cells. Which, of course, is not at all surprising considering that glutathione is produced by the same liver.
Secondly, glutathione staves off cell death in the tissues of the liver which is usually accelerated by low antioxidant levels. Bear in mind that cell death often translates to fatty liver disease which is very common among alcoholics. Actually, GSH is believed to improve enzyme, protein and bilirubin levels in patients suffering from chronic fatty liver ailments thereby improving their chances of making a full recovery.
Thirdly, there's compelling evidence that glutathione improves insulin sensitivity in older people. This reduced insulin resistance is key to ensuring that the liver is not overworking just to keep your blood sugar levels under control. Add this to the observation that high-glutathione levels are involved with aiding the gallbladder and the interstitial liver cells deal with excess fats and you will begin to appreciate the depth of the collaboration between glutathione and liver.
How to Boost Your Antioxidants Levels with Natural Sources Of Glutathione
Apart from supplements, there are several natural sources of glutathione that you can turn to if you are looking to boost your levels of this uber important antioxidant. Here's a quick primer on which fruits and vegetables rich in glutathione to add to your diet.
1. Go for Sulfur-rich Vegetables and Fruits
Sulfur is one of the main elements that is needed for the formulation of glutathione in the liver. As such, it should go without saying that eating a diet that consists of sulfur-containing compounds should boost your GSH levels since you're increasing the availability of one of the ingredients needed in the synthesis.
Speaking of which, sulfur is typically found bound in two essential amino acids: cysteine and methionine. And, in turn, these glutathione amino acids are chiefly derived from a wide range of dietary proteins including fish, beef and poultry.
Nonetheless, there are several vegetarian natural sources of glutathione and sulfur too. This includes many cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, mustard greens, and watercress. Nutritional research also shows that eating allium vegetables e.g onions, shallots, garlic can also boost one's glutathione levels as they also pack substantial sulfur levels.
2. Boost Your Vitamin C levels
It may sound a bit unusual but researchers have recently found out that supplementing your vitamin C levels is also a practical way of increasing your GSH levels. Here is what happens: ascorbic acid is believed to be adept at attacking free radicals, the same free radicals that glutathione neutralises by binding on to them. In a way, by sparing glutathione from having to do all the hard work of preventing oxidative damage, vitamin C allows your body the luxury of maintaining high levels of GSH without straining.
In addition to this, vitamin C is also capable of converting the bound and oxidised glutathione back to its original active form. And this implies that the body can now recycle some of the recreated glutathione in overseeing critical cell-forming reactions creating sperm cells and supporting immune functions.
The best thing about this is that there are several foods that are rich in vitamin C, especially citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, pomelos and grapefruit.
3. Glutathione and Milk Thistle
Just like vitamin C, milk thistle is also considered to be incredibly rich in antioxidant-forming compounds. In this case, it is the silymarin in milk thistle that increases one's GSH levels by attacking and obliterating free radicals. And by lifting that burden off the shoulders of glutathione, milk thistle allows your body to replenish its GSH levels progressively without the pressure of possible oxidative damage looming over it. What's more, silymarin also prevents cell damage making it easier for the body to maintain high glutathione levels.
4. Try Turmeric Glutathione Extracts
Food experts believe that curcumin - one of the main active compounds of turmeric - can assist in restoring one's glutathione levels. What's even better, this curcumin glutathione relationship is backed further by the fact that it also improves the activity and efficiency of glutathione enzymes.
5. Stock up on Foods that Contain Glutathione
Prioritizing dietary sources of glutathione such as asparagus, spinach, avocados and okra, is a good way of boosting your GSH levels for cheap. Avocado glutathione, for instance, is widely considered to be among the most absorbable and readily available dietary sources of this antioxidant. And this should explain why it is such a recommended fruit for reducing/preventing oxidative stress.
In addition to this, there's no shortage of studies that illustrate how foods with glutathione are also coincidentally good at beefing up the body's immune function. In fact, eating foods high in glutathione is one of the best ways of pre-empting debilitating conditions such as stroke, mouth cancer, hypertension and diabetes.
6. Add a Selenium Supplement to your Dietary Regimen
Apart from being an essential mineral, selenium also happens to be a glutathione cofactor. In simpler language, it is also needed for optimum glutathione activity. Some of the best natural sources of this extraordinarily important mineral are brazil nuts, brown rice, cottage cheese, organ meats, cottage cheese, chicken and beef. However, it is even better if you can find a way of introducing a quality selenium supplement to your dietary regimen.
You see, by increasing your selenium intake, you can boost or at least maintain your body's levels of glutathione by replenishing one of the cofactors necessary for optimum antioxidant activity.
The role that glutathione plays in your body cannot simply be understated. Healthy levels of this antioxidant continue to be associated with valuable health benefits and anti-aging effects. The health benefits, in this case, are largely related to glutathione's place in more than a few vital physiological processes including; enzyme activity, gene expression, cell signaling, cell proliferation, and cysteine carrier/storage. And this is why it continues to be remarkably important to have glutathione foods in your staple diet.