Glutathione (Gloo-ta-thy-own) performs several key functions in your body.
It is often referred to as the mother of all antioxidants.
What is Glutathione?
Produced and stored in the liver, glutathione is a potent detoxifier that allows your liver to breakdown harmful substances and flush them out of the body.
Smaller amounts are then released from the liver into the bloodstream where it is commonly found to help protect your lungs, digestive tract and the health of your eyes.
- maintains the integrity of red blood cells and protects against cell damage;
- aids carbohydrate metabolism;
- protects against premature aging;
- helps to recycle and boost the activity of other antioxidants…vitamins E and C.
Glutathione = Healthy Eyes
When light enters your eyes each and every day, free radical damage is produced. Healthy levels of glutathione, in tandem with other antioxidants present in your eyes, protect against this damage and help in warding off the early onset of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Studies show that antioxidants protect your eyes against degenerative diseases.
cysteine, glutamic acid and glycine.
When you include protein in your diet, be it fish, chicken, red meat and \ or vegetable sources, this protein is then broken down into amino acids and released into your blood. The body uses these tiny building blocks to recreate ( or resynthesise ) the protein it needs for functions such as, growth and repair, digestion, and for creating hormones like insulin.
So it follows that adequate protein is paramount. Without it, we would be in a pretty poor state of health, quick smart!
When you then think of the proportion of diets today that contain large amounts of carbs and fat and only small amounts of protein and amino acids, you can start to see where problems might occur with a gradual reduction in glutathione levels over time.
Reduced glutathione levels are thought to be partly responsible for a number of chronic diseases of this century.
Glutathione Protein Powder
Whey protein supplements are well known to aid in boosting the amount of glutathione in your body by supplying plentiful amounts of the three precursor amino acids mentioned.
Keep in mind that not all whey protein is created equal. Some cheaper, supermarket forms are loaded with sugar, sweeteners or fillers and more importantly are not cold-pressed.
Look for cold-pressed or ‘non-denatured’ proteins that are not processed with heat and retain nutrients and BCAAs (branch chain amino acids) in their pure form. This is whey at its best.
Another form of cysteine, N-acetylcysteine (NAC) , is a common amino acid supplement for athletes and gym-goers and clinically shown to help build and restore healthy glutathione levels in the liver, along with helping to build and restore muscle.
Whole-foods can also aid in maintaining healthy levels of glutathione.
The body can make NAC from cysteine, hence foods loaded with cysteine should be eaten regularly.
According to nutritiondata.com, foods high in cysteine include:
- Beef, chicken, pork, fish and shrimps
- Low fat milk and other dairy products
- Horseradish, asparagus and soybeans
Highly processed, nutrient-deficient foods with little protein lead to reduced glutathione levels over time.
Couple this with stress, alcohol and a gradual build-up of environmental toxins, it is easy to see how this mother-of-all-antioxidants can become overwhelmed and depleted.
If you want to slow the ageing process, reduce toxicity in your body and guard against eye disease and maintain healthy eyes, you could do well to keep replenishing your levels of glutathione by eating at least a little protein with every meal or by supplementing with a good-quality, cold-pressed whey protein powder or glutathione precursor supplement like NAC.
Oh…and of course, look after your liver!