Glutathione Benefits for Health and Wellbeing
The western diet is lacking in a number of essential vitamins and nutrients, which is why supplementation has become so popular. It’s a simple and straightforward way to achieve better health and to try to heal from the effects of bad lifestyle choices. This is particularly true if you have disorders such as Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS), which is strongly linked to long-term health problems and deficiencies. And if you’re considering supplementation, then you need to know about glutathione. There are a number of important glutathione benefits that go with this supplement.
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that can be synthesized inside every cell in the human body. It’s a peptide that’s produced through the biosynthesis of three non-essential amino acids called cysteine, glutamate, and glycine. Although the body can synthesize glutathione, the levels that your body makes start going down in your twenties, and gradually get lower throughout the rest of your life. That’s why it’s so important that you supplement if you have low levels in your system. That will allow you to enjoy the many glutathione benefits and boost your overall health.
Glutathione can be found throughout your body. However, the highest concentrations of glutathione are found in the liver, pancreas, spleen, and corneas. Although glutathione is produced by the body, you can help it along by making sure that you eat a healthy, nutrient-dense diet. This will ensure that your body has all the material it needs to create this essential antioxidant.
Antioxidant Glutathione Benefits
There are a number of important glutathione benefits, but the most important is that it’s a natural antioxidant. This means that it prevents damage to the cells by neutralizing free radicals and detoxifying heavy metals. Without glutathione, these toxins begin to accumulate in the body, causing oxidative stress and resulting in the congestion of the body’s detoxification systems.
Glutathione works in a number of ways. It improves the health of your liver, neutralizes free radicals and helps to recycle other antioxidants, including vitamins C and E. This function has led to glutathione being called the master antioxidant.
Studies have also shown that glutathione has the effect of allowing you to exercise longer without getting tired. This benefit occurs because glutathione helps to maintain your body’s pH levels, inhibiting the acid build-up that occurs because of fatigue. And because your muscles can go for longer without building up as much lactic acid, you can exercise for longer too. This would obviously be very helpful if you were an athlete, but it’s one of the glutathione benefits that’s just as helpful for ordinary people. If you struggle to exercise because of fatigue or other disorders that can cause tiredness, taking this supplement may help. However, don’t use it as an excuse to push your body beyond what it’s capable of or willing to do, particularly if you have AFS.
Why You Might Need Help Detoxifying
The detoxification circuit includes the liver, the immune system, and the extracellular matrix (ECM). The role of this circuit is to get rid of heavy metals, toxins, and the by-products of metabolic activity, called metabolites. If these substances remain in the body and continue to circulate, they can build-up and eventually poison every system and organ in your body. There are a number of activities that can help with detoxification including exercising, fasting, and sweating. However, exercising and maintaining a healthy lifestyle isn’t enough to ensure good detoxification.
There are a number of things that can cause the detoxification circuit to become sluggish and result in a build-up of toxins in the body. Just some of these causes are drug or supplement hypersensitivity, chemical sensitivities, paradoxical reactions to supplements, pain, and retoxification reactions. It can also occur as a result of disorders such as AFS, which is caused by long-term stress and leads to imbalances in various systems in the body.
Unfortunately, there are more toxins in the modern diet and lifestyle than ever before. Each year, people who eat a standard American diet are exposed to 2,000 to 3,000 toxic compounds from food sources alone. Toxic chemicals can be found in cleaning supplies and personal care products like toothpaste, soap, perfumes, lotions, and other cosmetics. And these items are rarely thoroughly tested for long-term human safety.
This can have a devastating effect on your health and on your detoxification circuit. Over time, repeated exposure to the chemicals in these products acts as a toxic cocktail to the human body. And it often results in serious conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and AFS.
What is AFS?
AFS is caused by stress and is connected to the build-up of toxins in the body and the body’s inability to detoxify itself. Ongoing, chronic stress often results in the build-up of toxins in the body and it also results in the overuse of what’s known as the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response. This is the system that helps your body cope with stress by prompting changes in the body. One of the most important changes it makes is to cause the adrenal glands to release more cortisol, which then keeps you alert and awake so you can respond to the cause of the stress.
But this system is a short-term solution at best, and when stress is ongoing it can start to break down. Unfortunately, the modern world is full of long-term stressors, and for a lot of people, this results in the adrenal glands becoming fatigued through overuse. When this occurs, it results in widespread imbalances.
The adrenal glands excrete more than 50 essential hormones, so when they become fatigued it causes problems in every part of the body. This usually results in vague and ever-changing symptoms that can’t be attributed to a single system or problem. As a result, many people with AFS think that they’re just tired and stressed, and don’t realize that their body is fighting a battle that could result in a system-wide shutdown if they don’t do something to help.
The symptoms and problems associated with AFS are closely connected to the detoxification circuit, which is why the many glutathione benefits could be so helpful on the path to recovery.
The Key to AFS Recovery
AFS can be a difficult disorder to recover from. Attempts to alleviate the surface symptoms such as fatigue, palpitations, and blood sugar problems often result in paradoxical reactions. And even when they don’t, they fail to address the underlying problems and often add to the build-up of toxic products that are clogging your overstressed system. The key to AFS recovery is to reduce the amount of stress the body is under. This means eating a healthy, nutritious diet, and making lifestyle changes. For most people, this also means identifying emotional, physical, and mental stressors and eliminating or reducing their effects.
Another key to AFS recovery is to help the body detoxify itself properly. Stress causes a build-up of metabolites, which are extremely harmful to the body. These metabolites build-up in the interstitium, disrupting the functions of the cells and causing further imbalances. There are usually some symptoms when this occurs including digestive problems such as constipation, bloating or diarrhea, as well as other symptoms related to the immune system such as autoimmune flare-ups. If this situation isn’t addressed, it can result in the entire system becoming poisoned, so it’s important that you take steps to eliminate the problem as soon as possible. And that’s where the most important glutathione benefits can be so helpful.
How Glutathione Aids Detoxification
Glutathione is a powerful weapon for those suffering from AFS. The greatest glutathione benefits involve its ability to aid with detoxification. It does this by neutralizing free radicals, assisting and strengthening the liver and recycling other beneficial antioxidants. That’s why restoring and maintaining healthy glutathione levels can help with AFS recovery. Even healthy systems can benefit from more antioxidants to aid in the breakdown of toxins, and the benefits for an unhealthy system are even greater.
Free radicals and other toxins are produced through natural metabolic processes. However, when the body is under stress, such as when you have AFS, even more of these are produced. This naturally results in congestion. However, glutathione can gather the dangerous free radicals that are stored in the fat cells and release them into the blood. When this occurs, they are naturally transported to the liver, which can then eliminate them from the body. And because some experts estimate that between 500 and 600 toxins hide in the fat cells, where the liver can’t eliminate them, this is one of the most important glutathione benefits for your health.
Glutathione also helps to strengthen the liver. Part of the liver’s duties is to break down old or damaged blood cells. However, when there is a build-up of toxins, these cells become damaged. Because glutathione can neutralize the free radicals that cause this damage and protect proteins, this reduces the amount of work that the liver has to do and prevents fatigue and damage.
Another important glutathione benefit is its ability to strengthen other antioxidants. Antioxidants are absolutely necessary to protect you from the harmful effects of all the toxins of the modern lifestyle. Glutathione removes free radicals from other antioxidants and safely disposes of them, freeing the antioxidants up to perform their job more effectively. This increases the overall number of available antioxidants in the body to fight against toxins and lessens the demand on the detoxification circuit.
How to Increase Glutathione Levels
There are a number of ways to enjoy the glutathione benefits by increasing the levels of it in your system. Some of the most effective ways are:
Get regular, gentle exercise.
Be careful of adopting this strategy if you have advanced levels of AFS. Often, over exercise can have a devastating effect on your body if your symptoms are quite advanced, so make sure you get expert help before you try this.
Eat glutathione-rich foods.
This includes foods like eggs, garlic, onions, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and cabbage. All of these foods support glutathione synthesis.
Take a glutathione boosting supplement.
If you try this, make sure you have the help and advice of a medical professional who knows about AFS and its effects. When you have AFS, taking supplements or medications can sometimes have a paradoxical effect, so don’t try to do this on your own.
Make sure you are healthy enough for glutathione and get the right amount.
As good as glutathione is, not everyone can tolerate it. Those who have a weak or congested liver may discover they experience more fatigue with glutathione supplementation. This usually reflects underlying liver weakness. The proper dosage, frequency, and delivery system is critical. Improper supplementation may trigger an adrenal crash, which will be extremely unpleasant and will also slow your AFS recovery.
Start slowly with glutathione.
Whatever tactic you try, start slowly. If you’ve had low glutathione levels for a long time it means that toxin levels in your body are probably very high. Suddenly pulling large amounts of toxins from fat cells can cause your system to be flooded with these toxins, resulting in some very negative symptoms and results.
If you’re considering taking supplements because of deficiencies or ill-health, then you need to think about glutathione. The many glutathione benefits of this antioxidant will do more than simply correct the imbalance in your body. It will also help to improve the health of your liver and your body’s ability to detoxify itself. And that’s a vital step for good health on an ongoing basis. This is particularly important if you have AFS, which often causes problems with the detoxification circuit that worsens the underlying disorder. Just make sure that before you take any supplements, you discuss your plans with a professional who is familiar with your condition first. This will help you avoid any problems that may occur.
© Copyright 2015 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.
Dr. Lam’s Key Question
What are some important glutathione benefits?
There are a number of glutathione benefits that you should be aware of if you’re looking to improve your health. Not only is this a fairly common deficiency, but it also acts as an antioxidant, which is why supplementing with it can be so good for your health.
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