Most of us have heard of antioxidants, special substances that help your body’s cells ward off damaging, unstable molecules called free radicals. Many common vitamins are antioxidants, including vitamins A, C, and E. In fact, there are hundreds of antioxidant substances, many found naturally in the foods you eat.
Of all these substances, glutathione is often recognized as the “master” antioxidant because it’s widely involved in so many biological processes and functions. In fact, glutathione is involved in virtually every aspect of health, including heart health, nerve function, and even sleep.
Low levels of glutathione have been implicated in both acute and chronic health problems, including health problems associated with severe COVID-19 infection. Recently, researchers have explored the benefits of glutathione supplementation.
With offices in Forest Hills, Queens, and Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, New York, Advanced Medical Care offers glutathione therapy to help patients optimize their glutathione levels and support their health and wellness. In this post, our team briefly overviews glutathione and why it’s often referred to as the master antioxidant.
As noted above, antioxidants work by limiting or preventing damage caused by producing free radicals, highly unstable molecules that form because of specific activities or habits. For instance, free radicals can form from strenuous exercise or sun exposure, from smoking, or simply from converting food to usable energy.
Because they’re unstable, free radicals can damage healthy cells, causing “oxidative stress, " leading to health problems like cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and some cancers. While there’s no way to completely avoid free radicals, maintaining healthy levels of antioxidants can help mitigate the damage the molecules can potentially cause.
Ideally, we would get all the antioxidants we need by eating a healthy, balanced diet. But today’s hectic lifestyle makes it hard to achieve that ideal balance, and some underlying medical problems or even day-to-day stresses can interfere with antioxidant production.
Other times, depending on our lifestyle habits and exposures, we may produce so many free radicals that even eating a balanced diet may not be enough to counteract their damage. Plus, while our bodies can produce some antioxidant compounds, production of those antioxidants naturally declines with age.
Glutathione is an antioxidant found in many sources, including plants, animals, and fungi. Some of the most abundant food sources of glutathione include cabbage, Brussels sprouts, garlic, onions, broccoli, and cauliflower. The compounds that combine to form glutathione are found in foods like asparagus, carrots, avocados, spinach, melons, peppers, and potatoes.
Glutathione is found in cells throughout the body and comprises three amino acids: glycine, cysteine, and glutamic acid. Together, these amino acids form a compound that binds with unstable free radicals and prevents them from damaging your cells.
The reason why glutathione is referred to as the “master” antioxidant is because it plays a key role in managing the cell damage associated with a wide array of diseases and health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer. It also helps prevent some of the effects of aging, assisting cells to stay healthy and functional for a longer period.
If your glutathione levels are low, your cells are exposed to greater amounts of damage by free radicals, which could increase your risks of serious health problems. Increasing the amount of glutathione in your diet isn’t always viable, especially as you age or if you have a medical issue that interferes with how glutathione is produced or used.
Glutathione supplementation can help, but taking supplements on your own isn’t a good idea. Just like medications, taking the wrong amount of glutathione could be harmful, especially if you take other medicines. Our team develops individualized supplementation regimens based on each patient’s unique health history and profile for optimal glutathione levels.
Glutathione is vital in helping you manage your health by tapping into your body’s natural protective processes. To learn more about glutathione therapy and supplementation and how it could help you stay healthy, book an appointment online or over the phone with the team at Advanced Medical Care today.