What you need to know about Glutathione
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione (GSH) is the body's own health 'AID to Energy'– Antioxidant, Immune Booster, Detoxifier and Energy enhancer. This small protein, produced naturally in the body, supports these four crucial functions. In fact, your life depends upon glutathione. Without it, your cells would disintegrate from unrestrained oxidation, your body would have little resistance to bacteria, viruses and cancer, and your liver would cease functioning from the accumulation of toxins.
How is Glutathione made?
Glutathione is made naturally in the body from three amino acids: glycine, cysteine, and glutamate. Both glycine and glutamate are naturally found at plentiful levels in the human body. Cysteine, however, is always the limiting reactant in your body's glutathione production process. Cysteine is found in the body at lower levels than glycine and glutamate because, unlike the other two, cysteine is not commonly found in foods. In fact, glutathione itself isn't found in any foods. Also, your body runs out of cysteine much faster than it runs out of either glycine or glutamate. The only way to increase cysteine levels and, more importantly, glutathione levels is to take either glutathione supplements, cysteine supplements, or both. Let's start with the cysteine supplementation method. The production of glutathione proceeds as follows: glycine + glutamate + cysteine = glutathione.
Why is glutathione important?
Glutathione is an essential component of your cells, with low glutathione levels, cells cannot perform many of their functions properly. Although glutathione functions in dozens of roles in our metabolism, the major functions can be summarized in four areas:
• Antioxidant • Immune support • Detoxifier • Energy
1. It is the major antioxidant produced by the body. Antioxidants such as vitamins C or E cannot be made by your body and in fact could not work properly if glutathione were not present.
2. Our immune systems depend on a steady supply of glutathione. Without it, our immune defenses become weakened.
3. It is important in detoxifying many substances including heavy metals, breakdown products of cigarettes and automobile exhaust, many cancer-causing agents, and a multitude of pollutants and toxins we encounter on a daily basis.
4. The major source of energy produced in our cells is derived from tiny structures called mitochondria. These mitochondria would literally burn up without the presence of glutathione.
What causes us to LOSE Glutathione (GSH)?
Every day our bodies are exposed to factors that drain our levels of glutathione: stress, pollution, radiation, infection, drugs, poor diet, aging, injury and fatigue. These all contribute to glutathione depletion which, in turn, leads to cellular aging, disease and death. "Concern about maintaining one's glutathione level will eventually be on par with other health maintenance issues." says Dr. Bounous.
Optimal glutathione levels are important for everyone. Although you are hopefully in good health right now, glutathione levels fall as we age, and are lowered by a great number of very common illnesses. There is a constant demand for glutathione in our daily life; stress, pollution and infectious disease are all causes of glutathione depletion. For those that exercise regularly, glutathione is especially important to replenish to avoid injury, improve recovery time and keep your immune system strong.