All cells in the body need water, oxygen, glucose and glutathione. The levels of glutathione in our cells could be predictive of how long we will live. For exhaustion and chronic fatigue sufferers reading this, the information that follows is vital to you!
What is glutathione? It is a tri-peptide, or a small protein composed of the amino acids cysteine, glycine and glutamate. Glutathione is made in every cell of the body and it must be made by the 3 amino acids, cysteine, glycine and glutamate. Your body is either replicating healthy cells and delaying the aging process or it is replicating unhealthy cells and speeding up the aging process. Every cell makes and recycles glutathione.The largest amount of glutathione in our bodies is found in the liver, lining of the lungs, kidney, heart and brain.
Why is glutathione important?
1. It is a major antioxidant produced by the cell. It is able to neutralize free radicals and recycle other antioxidants such as vitamins C & E. Glutathione actually helps your body more efficiently use the other antioxidants.
2. It is the body’s most effective detoxifier. It binds to undesirable toxins, pollutants, and cancer-causing chemicals, etc. and excretes them through the urine or gut.
3. It improves immune response
4. It helps regulate the cell’s vital functions, such as synthesis and repair of DNA.
5. It contributes to the production of red blood cells.
6. It helps in wound healing.
7. It helps build lean muscle mass.
8. It inhibits harmful viruses and bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.
9. It increases one’s aerobic exercise capacity by up to 13%.
While glutathione is produced naturally in our bodies, glutathione levels decrease with age at the rate of 1% a year after age 20. In addition, levels of glutathione can be reduced by stress, exercise, infection, injury and environmental toxins. People who live to 100 years of age, will have glutathione levels similar to 30-50 year olds.
Reduced glutathione levels can result in lower energy, insomnia, cellular damage, inflammation, accelerated aging, and a weakened resistance to various diseases, including heart disease, cancer, arthritis and many other diseases. People with any defined disease have decreased glutathione levels compared with healthy individuals the same age. Low levels of glutathione are actually a marker for over 200 medical conditions. It could be said that low levels of glutathione equal cellular aging, disease, and death!
Glutathione helps to improve mental function, increases energy, improves concentration, permits increased exercise, and improves heart and lung function.
WHAT FOODS ARE HIGH IN GLUTATHIONE?
Avocado, watermelon, asparagus, walnuts, grapefruit, potato, acorn, squash, strawberries, orange, tomato, cantaloupe, broccoli.
Glutathione must be produced within the cell itself. Oral glutathione in pill form is not absorbed and will be eliminated by the liver before reaching the blood stream. Injectable glutathione is degraded by the time it gets to the cell and much of it cannot pass the cell membrane.
HOW CAN A PERSON INCREASE THEIR GLUTATHIONE LEVEL?
In addition to being able to get glutathione in some foods (as listed above), the best way to increase glutathione is through a glutathione precursor. Since glutathione is produced within the cell itself and cannot be easily absorbed into the cell, a person needs to consume a product that will enable the body to produce its own glutathione within the cells. This product would be considered to be a glutathione precursor.
A good glutathione precursor helps your body neutralize free radicals and build healthy cells. Your body replaces about 1% of your cells everyday. Your skin, body, organs, tissue are all constantly in a state of regeneration. Otherwise, your body cells are constantly dying and being regenerated. Thus, in about 3 months time, your cells and you, as a person, can make positive strides in getting healthier!
The levels of glutathione in our cells are predictive of how long we will live. Few other factors are as predictive of our life expectancy as is glutathione. It may be referred to as the “master antioxidant” since it regulates the actions of lesser antioxidants including vitamin C and vitamin E in the body. It is the most important antioxidant to overall health.
By Judy Thompson Former public school teacher of Health and Physical Education
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