Glutathione: The Master Detoxifier and Antioxidant

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Glutathione: Master Antioxidant & Detox Agent

Glutathione is an amino acid and master antioxidant in the human body. According to researchers at the Liu et al (2014) of Department of Biochemistry at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, one of glutathione's powerful primary roles is cellular detoxification. Glutathione S-transferase (GST), a thiol, actually attracts and then captures and binds to circulating toxins and carcinogenic compounds, such as mercury from dental fillings, drugs, and pesticides, and safely excretes them through the intestines. Importantly, glutathione support the liver's ability to detoxify the body while it prevents cellular disintegration.

Glutathione can actually help to prevent serious diseases, including dementia, cancer and heart disease. Doctors use glutathione in the treatment of Alzheimer's, autism, cocaine dependency, and abnormal polyps that present in colorectal cancers.

Glutathione Levels and Disease

The relationship between the body's glutathione levels and disease is key to understanding its importance to human health. Researchers know that serious chronic diseases, such as diabetes, Parkinson's, and autoimmune spectrum disorders cause the body to use its stores of glutathione. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), autoimmune diseases include more than one hundred different conditions or diseases. More than twenty-three million people in the United States are currently diagnosed with some form of autoimmune disease. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) predicts that more than seventy-five million people could suffer with some form of autoimmune disease by 2050. Since some doctors believe that autoimmune diseases are the result of a Western lifestyle, bringing the body back into balance with improved diet, exercise, glutathione, and stress management practices makes good sense.

While it is possible to purchase glutathione in capsule form, most researchers say that the body must make its own naturally-occurring glutathione from the right ingredients and enough physical exercise. Supplements must be consumed on an empty stomach with plenty of fresh water or clear juice.

Mercury Fillings

Mercury from amalgam fillings is one of the most common reasons an individual may have lower than normal glutathione levels. Glutathione is an especially effective way to remove heavy metals like mercury from the body. If an individual has many amalgam fillings, his or her glutathione stores may be compromised. Seek dental advise about the replacement of these fillings.

Mold and Other Environmental Toxins

Mycotoxins are omnipresent in today's food supply, and even so-called healthy grains, seeds, and nuts carry mold spores. In addition mold grows and actually thrives in heating and air conditioning ducts at home and in the office. Forced heat and air delivers these toxins into the air. The NIH reports that increased cases of chronic fatigue, respiratory diseases, allergies, joint-muscle issues, and "brain fog" result in part from exposure to environmental mold and toxins. As the body mounts an offense against mycotoxins, it is important to support its ability to make enough glutathione.

Other toxins, such as pthalates from plastics, leach from an ever-increasing amount of plastic water bottles or containers used and discarded into landfills. Pthalates can also outgas from clothes, rugs, furniture and toys. These toxins are also found in some personal care products, such as cosmetics. Since researchers say that phthalates wreak hormonal havoc, resulting in birth defects, developmental delays, normal genital development in young males, and reproductive maladies to mention just a few, it is crucial to maintain and support the body's healthy glutatione levels.

Detoxification in a Toxic World

A healthy lifestyle is an important safeguard in today's toxic world, but it is not the complete answer. Protection from HVAC and mold, toxins in food, water, and personal care products, pollution, and high levels of stress all cause the body to call upon its precious glutathione reserves. A European research university recommends consumption of a high-priced whey drink one of the ways to increase glutathione. A small number of private clinics even offer glutathione IV drips to their patients who need an emergency boost.

However, most patients can inexpensively stimulate their bodies' natural ability to make enough glutatione by selecting fresh, organic produce and other sulfur-rich foods and supplements. The research about glutathione tells a simple story: not enough glutathione is likely to indicate the presence or likelihood of serious illness. Restoring the body's healthy, protective levels of glutathione is one of the most effective ways to detoxify the body of mercury from dental fillings, medicine residues (even over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol can tax liver function over time), naturally occurring and environmental toxins.

Natural Ways to Increase Glutathione

Poor diet, stress, medicines, and environmental factors can deplete normally occurring cellular glutathione levels. Because the body tends to make less glutathione over time, it is a good idea to eat more sulfur-rich vegetables, such as onions, broccoli, garlic and cabbage, to support its production. Regular physical exercise can help to increase cellular glutathione. Supplementation with glutathione precursors, including N-acetyl-cysteine, selenium, vitamins C and E, and alpha-lipoic acid, can also help the body make more of its own glutathione.

Can the body manage without Glutathione?

Glutathione occurs naturally within the body, it is found in very high concentration in the liver to help with detoxification. But where does glutathione come from? Well, it is actually produced by every cell in the body. Glutathione is the body's master antioxidant and detoxifying agent, it keeps us healthy and without it we would die. Therefore it is important to know how to maintain optimal levels of naturally produced glutathione in our body.

Glutathione - The Body's Natural Detox Agent & Master Antioxidant

Glutathione, also referred to as "GSH" is an important antioxidant naturally produced by every cell of the body and found in great concentration in the liver. It is a natural detoxifier, used by every cell, tissue and organ in the human body. GSH is vital in helping our bodies fight potentially life-threatening infections and diseases caused by any kind of metal toxicity. Glutathione can be found in fresh fruits containing vitamins C and E, especially grapefruit, lemons and melons. Fresh leafy vegetables, mushrooms and meats also provide high levels of the antioxidant. GSH, in its natural form contains sulfur and important proteins necessary for tissue and cellular growth.

Glutathione works along with enzymes, essential proteins and antioxidants produced by our bodies to prevent potential damage to cell structures, which can be caused by reactive oxygen found in some products containing dangerous substances, such as peroxides and metallic-based cleansers. Glutathione, which is not an essential nutrient, naturally detoxifies the body by maintaining vitamins and other antioxidants in their active forms. Every system in the human body can be adversely affected by low levels of glutathione.

Every organ and system in the body depends on glutathione for the metabolism and detoxification of waste products and toxic substances. A lack of glutathione can adversely affect the immune system, neurological system and functions of the heart, lungs, kidneys, digestive system and liver. The normal effects of aging, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, trauma and exposure to pollution and toxic metals can deplete the amount of glutathione in your system. A healthy liver produces sufficient amounts of glutathione (natural detox agent) to cleanse your body and remove toxic wastes. If you have a lack of this essential detoxifier, you may experience symptoms of many conditions and diseases including chronic fatigue syndrome, heart disease, lung disease, neurological conditions, osteoarthritis, asthma, and kidney or liver disorders.

Glutathione is available in several forms including oral tablets, inhalation systems, muscular injections and intravenous infusions. GSH has proven effective in treating eye conditions including glaucoma and cataracts. It has also been used to treat chronic alcoholism, heart disease, pulmonary disorders, hepatitis, liver disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. Diseases that affect the immune system, such as hepatitis, HIV and AIDS have been helped by infusions of glutathione in critically ill patients. Supplements have been prescribed to treat chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson's disease and memory loss associated with Alzheimer's disease. The inhalation of GSH can be effective to treat chronic lung diseases, such as cystic fibrosis and pulmonary fibrosis. The inhalation system is routinely used to treat people with severe HIV or AIDS. Glutathione can help maintain open airways in patients with weakened immune systems.

When used as an intravenous infusion, GSH can prevent the onset of anemia in patients with liver or kidney failure, or patients undergoing dialysis treatments. It is also used to prevent or reduce the potential risk of kidney disease in patients who have undergone open-heart surgery for atherosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries. Although somewhat controversial, GSH has been promoted to help prevent premature aging, cancer, dementia and heart disease. If you are considering GSH supplements for preventative measures, it is important to speak with your healthcare professional or pharmacist before beginning treatment.

The Benefits of Glutathione in Reducing Metal Toxicity in our Bodies

One of the most important benefits of glutathione is to counteract the effects of metal toxicity caused by multiple toxic agents, especially mercury. The human body naturally removes the effects of metals from our bodies through the production and secretion of glutathione. If your immune system is weakened or compromised because of a disease or serious condition, your liver may not produce adequate amounts of glutathione to reach your cells, tissues and organs. A severely impaired immune system can cause you to react adversely to heavy metal poisoning, especially from mercury. The effects of chemotherapy treatments for cancer can deplete the amounts of glutathione produced by a healthy liver, causing potentially-deadly metal poisoning.

One of the most serious forms of metal poisoning is caused by mercury, once considered a relatively-safe substance. It has recently been reported that dental fillings are one of the major causes of metal toxicity. The majority of dental fillings are made from a combination of mercury and other metals. Due to the increasing cost of dental insurance and the expense of silver or gold fillings, most of us choose the fillings recommended by our dentists and do not ask about the metal content. The ingestion of mercury through saliva saturates our gums and eventually migrates to our bloodstreams, causing an eventual build-up of mercury.

Dental fillings, which are usually made from a combination of soft metals, contain approximately 50 percent mercury. The longer the fillings have been in place, the more particles of mercury and combined metals are absorbed into the body. Mercury absorbed into the body through the saliva first reaches the digestive system, causing chronic and painful conditions such as gastroenteritis and colon disease. If untreated, digestive system complications can lead to bowel obstructions.

Many medical device implants, especially those used in hip replacement surgery contain a combination of metals including cobalt. As the hip implant moves, small particles of metals can be released into the tissues surrounding the implant and eventually migrate to the bloodstream, causing metallosis, a serious form of metal poisoning. Metallosis can cause a blood clot to develop in one of the legs, known as deep vein thrombosis. If not diagnosed and treated immediately, the clot can travel to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism, which often leads to death. Heavy metal toxicity, from mercury, cobalt and other metals can cause severe brain disorders and neurological conditions including anxiety, depression, irritability, attention deficit disorder and memory loss.

An accumulation of mercury in the body has been linked to the early development of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Researchers have found that heavy metal poisoning can affect major organs, including the kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, digestive system and endocrine glands. Mercury poisoning can also cause type 2 diabetes and irreparable damage to the immune system.

High levels of mercury and other metals in the body can decrease the natural function of the liver to produce glutathione, eventually shutting down function of the liver, kidneys and other organs responsible for removing waste and metal toxins from your body. Glutathione works by recycling antioxidants and toxins from the body. Toxins and waste products are then eliminated through urine and feces. An abundance of toxins can negatively impact the immune system, often leading to serious diseases and chronic conditions. The natural production of glutathione, a natural detoxifier, can prevent your body from developing preventable diseases and conditions.

There are several ways to optimize and utilize glutathione, a natural detoxifier. Eating food rich in sulfur and essential vitamins can certainly help. Fresh leafy vegetables, including onions, garlic, kale, broccoli, cauliflower and spinach are excellent sources of natural glutathione. Regular exercise, regardless of your food and supplement intake increases glutathione levels and helps you maintain a healthy immune system.

If you choose to take glutathione supplements, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider or pharmacist. You will be able to select the best dosage for your specific needs. After beginning a regimen of supplements, along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, it is important to have routine laboratory tests to monitor your blood and liver function.

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