The short answer here is that glutathione is your body’s main antioxidant. As with any antioxidant, its main function is to reduce free radicals within the body. The damage caused by free radicals accelerates the aging process, as the free radicals destroy essential compounds and tissues, like the lining of your arteries or even your DNA itself.
Inflammation can also increase the production of free radicals and therefore the need for glutathione. In fact, almost any inflammatory condition can be helped by ensuring the body is adequately synthesizing glutathione.
Outside of inflammatory conditions that might call for more glutathione synthesis, we may become deficient in glutathione because of insufficient dietary intake of the necessary building blocks of glutathione. In particular, the amino acid cysteine, which is rare in food, is often a limiting factor in glutathione synthesis.
Magnesium and selenium are two minerals also necessary for the production and function of glutathione. Due to modern farming practices, both of these minerals can be hard to come by in adequate amounts through just diet alone. Vitamin D3 has also been shown to augment glutathione synthesis.
So how can you insure that you have adequate amounts of this very important antioxidant on hand?
- Whey protein has been shown to increase glutathione synthesis.
- Supplementation with N-acetyl cysteine has been shown to be useful. SAMe has also shown to be beneficial
- Optimize your Vitamin D levels by making sure you get 15-20 minutes of sun (or more if you have darker skin) on unprotected skin daily, year around. Consider supplementation if this is difficult.
- Make sure you get adequate magnesium and selenium. Magnesium is a safe & effective supplement that almost everyone should be on. Three Brazil nuts eaten daily can help insure adequate selenium levels.