Why glutathione is essential for detoxification

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glutathione-detox-tips(NaturalHealth365) Twenty-four hours a day, we are bombarded with man-made environmental chemicals.  These include herbicides and insecticides, vehicle and factory emissions, heavy metals in our food and cosmetics, and cleaning products laden with chemicals such as benzene and chlorine. Given this heavy toxic burden, it is not surprising that the incidence of toxicity-induced diseases is currently skyrocketing. The good news: a natural substance (glutathione) already being produced in your body can neutralize these poisons – to help ward off disease and even slow down the aging process.

Keep reading for a closer look at glutathione and how to avoid a deficiency – which increase the risk of disease.

Glutathione is the body’s premier antioxidant

No substance in the body has more power to nullify toxins and protect cells than glutathione. In the form of glutathione reductase – which is glutathione in its natural, enzymatic state – it is used by every cell in the body to help preserve them in their undamaged – or redox – condition.

This life-prolonging workhorse protects cell DNA from damage, protects against harmful free radicals, decreases inflammation, reduces oxidative stress and wards off heart disease, neurological decline and cancer. By promoting healthy cell mitochondria energy production, glutathione actually provides anti-aging effects.

Although glutathione appears in every cell of the body, the greatest concentrations of it are in the detoxifying organs, such as the liver and kidneys. In fact, without glutathione, detoxification would be essentially impossible.

Glutathione promotes all stages of detoxification

Detoxification takes place in three separate stages, and glutathione enhances all three of them.

Phase one is toxin modification, in which toxins are identified and changed – through oxidation and reduction reactions – into forms the body can more easily attack.

In phase two, the modified toxin is conjugated – meaning its activated metabolites are bound to glutathione. Although other antioxidants in the body can bind toxins, glutathione is the primary participant. As testament to this fact, this second phase is also called “glutathione conjugation.” This binding keeps toxic metabolites from spreading into and across membranes, and helps to confine them.

In phase three, or excretion, enzymatic derivatives of glutathione – known as glutathione S-metabolites – work to cause the metabolism and final excretion of toxins.

Glutathione levels decrease with age

Glutathione is produced in the liver from three different amino acids. But stress, poor nutrition, a sedentary lifestyle and prescription medications can deplete the body’s stores. And, as is the case with so many health-promoting substances, the young possess glutathione in lavish supply, while levels fall in older individuals.

Chronic exposure to toxins also threatens glutathione levels – which means toxins deplete the exact substance that your body most needs to neutralize them.

Unfortunately, most commercially-available supplements of this essential nutrient are poorly absorbed, and few foods – with the exception of broccoli and carrots – contain any glutathione to speak of.  In addition, the process of cooking depletes almost 100 percent of this valuable substance.

Eating glutathione precursors can optimize production

The best bet is for ramping up your body’s production of glutathione is to consume healthy amounts of the three “building blocks” of glutathione – the amino acids L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid and glycine – while also making sure you get enough of the nutrients necessary for glutathione synthesis: vitamins B-2 and B-6, along with the mineral selenium. It is a fairly straightforward – but vital – recipe.

Natural health experts advise enhancing glutathione production by eating healthy qualities of garlic, onion, parsley, avocados and cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli and kale. Of course, you should opt for certified organic produce to minimize exposure to toxins.

Cinnamon and turmeric are also recommended, along with non-denatured organic whey protein from grass-fed cows. By the way, a great quality (goat) whey protein is available inside the NaturalHealth365 Store.

Raise your glutathione levels with NAC

The most effective means of raising glutathione production, however, might be N-acetyl-cysteine.

High dosages of NAC are often used to detox patients who have ingested poisons, and some researchers theorize that low doses can block age-related loss of glutathione. Animal research shows that cells from younger animals are more resistant to stress than cells of older animals.

Older cells not only lose glutathione more quickly under stress – but die twice as rapidly as cells from younger animals. However, researchers found that pretreatment with NAC raised glutathione levels in older cells and helped to reduce cell death.

You can also try to minimize your exposure to glutathione-destroying toxins. Cut down your heavy metal exposure by drinking purified water (or real spring water – tested for quality), organic cleaning products, and glass containers and cookware for food storage and reheating – plus, consider using natural stress reduction techniques, such as biofeedback, mindfulness meditation, yoga or tai chi.

Editor’s note: The NaturalHealth365 Store offers the finest quality, liposomal (easy to absorb) glutathione on the market. Click here to order today.*

*And, yes, if you decide to purchase a bottle – this does help to support our operations. (here at NaturalHealth365)

Sources for this article include:


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  • Janet Gilbert

    This is something I haven’t read before. Very interesting article and one that will help many people. Now, that I know about it I will be sure to include it in my health regiment.

  • Dan Meredith

    Staying healthy is challenging in today’s world. Everything you consume and breath in affects your health. To elevate your health you need the supplements that detoxify your body. I ordered the goat whey it as more than a delicious smoothie ingredient it is health insurance.

  • Ty Shlackman

    CDC.gov should not be used as a source for any kind of health information since they are a criminal organization that profits from vaccines that poison people.

  • Martha Hyde

    I like your description of the importance of glutathione in three separate steps for detox. But be aware of what the word “detoxification” is actually referring to. Also we need to separate out the breaking down of compounds to chemical elements from actually getting the dangerous chemical elements out of the body. Most detox organs do one and not the other.

    You need to qualify the use of glutathione as a detox necessity. It works on organic toxins but not inorganic toxic atomic elements or inorganic compounds, which tend to accumulate in our bodies because we have no natural method for removing them. Even breaking them down to chemical elements may be difficult to do unless we have the right enzymes available where they are found. The lungs are the primary detox organs since they help us breathe out toxins, especially the inorganic ones, and so help us actually remove them from the body. Alcohol is clearly one most familiar to us. Some toxins in tobacco products are another one. But we also breathe out aluminum and other metals.

    The liver only breaks down organic toxins. Most organic toxins are made up of carbon, hydrogen and possibly oxygen, none of which is dangerous to us. Most organic toxins are toxic because of their structure, but some also have side chains of toxic chemical elements.

    The liver doesn’t excrete toxins. It depends upon other organs to do that. It tends to accumulate heavy metals and other inorganic toxins. Many such toxins never enter the blood vascular system, but instead, travel within the body via interstitial fluids ( hypodermal). There they wreak havoc with all sorts of systems.

    The kidney only helps to get rid of these toxins if they have combined with the right buffers. Glutathione only works on some toxins, but clearly not all. We can provide more kinds of buffers by eating lots of fresh veggies and fruit, which usually provide the most in buffers.

    Another detox organ is the colon. If calcium has combined with these inorganic toxins, they might get to the colon where they can leave the body with the feces. But liver, kidney and colon rely heavily upon the vasculature to transport these toxins. (It is possible to reach these organs via interstitial fluids, but both liver and kidney have tough connective tissue capsules preventing most of this transport. The only way toxins can get to these organs otherwise, if they cannot travel in the blood, is in the loose connective tissue associated with neurovascular bundles).

    Lungs are easily entered via interstitial fluid highways, bypassing blood vessels. There is a lot of loose connective tissue and capillary surfaces surrounding the alveolae, and thus a lot of highways. Toxins can get into the lumen of the lungs (and thus outside the body) via tears and holes in the alveolae, which could easily occur in damaged tissues. If you cough a lot, you probably have a lot of such damage.

    The colon also has natural holes in its lining via Peyer’s patches (BALT), but those also allow toxins to get into the gut tissues from outside the body via food/liquid. The colon can also get toxins carried in from anywhere else in the body via interstitial (hypodermal) fluids because they are continuous with fluids found everywhere else in the body, especially under the skin where they travel especially fast in the acupuncture meridians.

    So I would put buffers used, as mentioned in this article, for redox reactions, from acids and bases as most important for detox.