Antioxidants are essential for good health because they prevent free radical damage. One such antioxidant that is found in every cell is glutathione. What is glutathione and why is it important? The answer to that question might surprise you.
What Is Glutathione Exactly?
Glutathione is a tripeptide that is comprised of three different amino acids: glutaminic acid, glycine, and cysteine. Its primary function is to protect cells from damage due to oxidative stress. It contains a sulfur chemical group that causes free radicals and toxins such as heavy metals to “stick” to it. Every element of human health is linked in some way to glutathione, as it is responsible for everything from good heart health to strengthening the immune system.
After asking “What is glutathione?” the next thing you may want to know is how it benefits you. Glutathione is widely regarded for its anti-aging properties, as high levels can prevent the decrease in cellular and organ function that normally happens as a person grows older. It is also associated with good health, and can therefore help you prevent disease. According to Naturopathic Doctor Jeremy Appleton, it also helps the liver remove chemicals that are harmful to the body. Appleton also claims that patients who have chronic diseases such as cancer or AIDS are typically deficient in glutathione.
Factors that Affect Levels
Glutathione is naturally produced by the body and is continuously recycled. Even so, toxins in the environment, medication, stress, and other factors can deplete your natural supply of glutathione. Your levels will also naturally become depleted as your grow older due to metabolic stress. An oxidative stress analysis can determine glutathione levels, and involves only a simple blood test.
Effects of Exercise
More free radicals are created during a strenuous workout due to increased oxygen production. The body then uses its own antioxidant supply to neutralize them, which in turn can cause a depletion in glutathione. One study showed that a 90-minute workout resulted in a 60% depletion in glutathione. If your body is not supplied with more of it, you could experience fatigue, muscle failure, and a longer recovery time. You could also be more susceptible to future injury.
How to get More Glutathione
People who ask “What is glutathione?” often want to know how to get more of it. To ensure an adequate supply, you may need to consume more sulfur-rich foods such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, collards, and onions. Taking glutathione-supporting supplements such as cysteine will also help speed production. The reason for taking supplements that produce glutathione rather than the tripeptide itself is because it is not easily absorbed into the body when taken orally. Even so, some patients will have success when taking glutathione intravenously.
What is glutathione? Put simply, it is an essential compound for life. If you would like to slow the aging process, increase your athletic performance, and improve your overall health, you may want to give glutathione a try.