Coined by Dr. Mark Hyman (http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/05/19/glutathione-the-mother-of-all-antioxidants/) as “The Mother of All Antioxidants” and “the most important molecule needed to keep your body healthy”, Glutathione is one of the most popular subjects in the alternative health world. In fact, over 128,000 articles have been written about it! (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=glutathione) Glutathione was once a subject that was not often discussed, but more and more doctors, dentists, and health practitioners are realizing its vital role in maintaining wellness throughout the body.
Glutathione or (GSH) is a natural molecule produced by your own body. It is comprised of three building blocks or amino acids – cysteine, glycine, and glutamine. The best part of glutathione is the sulfur compounds it contains. You may know sulfur by its strong smell. It is a sticky substance that attracts various toxins and heavy metals and chelates them out of the body. The following bullet points taken from Dr. Josh Axe’s article (https://draxe.com/glutathione/) on Glutathione are some of the many functions GSH performs in the body:
- Conjugates (“links together”) with drugs to make them more digestible.
- Is a cofactor (“helper molecule”) for some important enzymes including glutathione peroxidase (which protects you from oxidative damage).
- Is involved in protein disulfide bond rearrangement (which is critical for the biogenesis of 1/3 of all human proteins).
- Reduces peroxides (natural bleaching agents that are harmful to the body).
- Participates in leukotriene production (vital component for inflammatory and hypersensitivity reactions).
- Helps the liver detoxify fat before bile is emitted, which takes stress off of the gallbladder.
- Helps detoxifies methylglyoxal, a toxin produced as a by-product of metabolism.
- Cancer apoptosis (“programmed cell death”).
Sadly, as we age, our body’s production of Glutathione becomes less and less. In addition, nearly one third of the population is missing the genes that allow them to metabolize glutathione properly. Because of this, they cannot produce and recycle Glutathione in the body. Many years ago, before there were over 80,000 chemicals and toxins all around us, this was not as much of an issue. Today, however, our toxic burden has become so heavy that the lack of Glutathione has led to serious chronic illness.
So how can you raise your Glutathione levels?
There are a number of different foods and herbs that help your body to produce more Glutathione. Before I get into some of those, I want to note how essential it is to get adequate daily supply of this antioxidant, especially during mercury detoxification. As I stated in my last article, Mercury must be physically removed by aid of one of its two primary chelators – GSH or Alpha Lipoic Acid. Also, unlike in the removal of other toxic substances where GSH is damaged, but later restored, in mercury detoxification GSH is gone forever. Therefore, it is critical to replenish all the more.
Milk Thistle is probably one of the best herbs in detoxifying the liver and raising Glutathione levels. And then, of course, be sure to eat foods rich in sulfur every day. The five top sulfur-rich foods are garlic, ginger, onions, eggs, and broccoli sprouts. Try and get a hardy amount of at least one of these foods each day. Some other foods that are high in glutathione are raw dairy products, especially cream and butter. With pasteurization, virtually all GSH is destroyed. Raw meats, especially beef liver, are another wonderful source. And don’t forget that toxins, sugar, and processed foods rapidly deplete your GSH stores.