If you’re unfamiliar with glutathione, it’s worth a spot on your wellness radar.
For my patients with immune dysfunction, glutathione is an almost automatic recommendation.
But the benefits go far beyond the immune system. This potent detoxifier is one of strongest tools in our graceful aging toolkit. Often, it’s a key component of Optimizing detoxification and Supporting our bodies on the road to becoming Fully Functional™.
In this post, we’ll dig into the many benefits of glutathione and some of the forms it takes in our practice.
“Detox,” Beyond the Buzzword
Doing a liver detox might be en vogue these days, but properly supporting our detoxification pathways goes far beyond a few days of juicing.
This antioxidant plays an important role in the true process of detoxification that helps us feel our absolute best, or what we refer to as being “Fully Functional™.”
Through three major functions, this detoxifier helps us process waste, eliminate toxins and optimize the immune system.
Let’s start with a little background. It’s an tripeptide molecule, meaning it’s made up of three amino acids—cysteine, glycine and glutamic acid.
First, glutathione is largely responsible for detoxification in the liver. When levels are high enough, the liver uses the antioxidant to transport waste out of cells. But conditions of oxidative stress (read: modern life) tend to deplete our stores and keep this powerful antioxidant from completing its job.
Keeping our levels high through supplementation can help Optimize our liver function much better than any juice cleanse.
Second, healthy levels protect us from free radical damage. Glutathione binds to free radicals and renders them inactive in the body, making it a powerful defense against aging.
We often think of “anti-aging” treatments for our skin or hair as a way of masking our true age, but at Vine Healthcare we focus on helping you age gracefully so you can live a long and Fully Functional™ life. This means stopping the progression of chronic disease and memory loss, which glutathione can help us do, but it also means negating the effects of chemical toxicity, oxidative stress and free radical damage that accumulates as we age.
Many researchers believe that aging is actually caused by free radical damage, and that depleted glutathione levels might be responsible for oxidative damage to our DNA. Levels tend to drop after age 45, a correlation that might explain the cellular damage we can blame for making us “feel” older.
Finally, this antioxidant regulates our immune systems, making it a beneficial treatment for autoimmune diseases and cancer. This is an area where I see the highest level of need among my patients. I almost always see depleted levels in my patients with chronic disease.
Glutathione works by regulating metabolic pathways to help cells control their reaction to oxidative stress, thereby controlling inflammation. This means glutathione can both stimulate the immune system to fight off disease and down-regulate the immune system. The implications of this are huge; clinical trials indicate glutathione is associated with cancer cell death and improves outcomes for ovarian cancer patients, and may be beneficial in treating a range of disease from acute infections to diabetes.
Getting Glutathione: Supplements, Whole Foods and Other Sources
At Vine Healthcare, we generally recommend patients work the antioxidant into their regular routine, especially if lab work reveals they’re low in this key player in the body. A liposomal glutathione or intravenous administration might become a key component of our efforts to Optimize and Support patients as they heal.
We offer intravenous glutathione administration in our office, where it is generally combined with a Modified Myer’s Cocktail, a form or intravenous micronutrient therapy. For my critically ill patients, this drip might happen once or twice a week, and often makes an immediate difference in their energy levels and sleep quality.
Other patients might choose to take liposomal glutathione at home – I recommend getting yours from Researched Nutritionals. It’s very readily absorbed in the body, shelf-stable for easy transport (unlike some other glutathione products which require refrigeration) and has a pleasant fruity taste.
If lab results indicate that your levels are in range, we might choose to continue to optimize these levels by eating glutathione-rich foods, like cruciferous vegetable, grass-fed beef, poultry, organ meats, and (for the non-dairy sensitive/allergic person only) organic whey protein.
N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) supplementation can also help the body synthesize its own glutathione, and can be less expensive than direct glutathione. While I don’t recommend this for my chronically ill patients, it can be a helpful alternative for those who are in less critical need of the antioxidant.
Optimizing glutathione can help us see a noticeable improvement in our symptoms of autoimmunity and fatigue, and is one of the most powerful anti-aging compounds in our Fully Functional™ toolkit.
If you’re interested in understanding your glutathione status, make an appointment at Vine Healthcare today!