Glutathione:

The Body’s Master Antioxidant


Imagine strolling the streets downtown as a metro bus rushes by kicking up a gust of dust and exhaust smoke your way. You cough a few times trying to clear the burning dryness from your throat.


Imagine racing your friend up a grassy hill. Your thighs and calves are burning as you proudly pump your fists in the air on the last few steps. Although out of breath, victory is all yours as you wait for him to catch up. 

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Imagine having just polished off a plate of slow-roasted vegetables served with a succulent piece of tender pot roast. Satisfied, you sit back and sip on your merlot while contemplating on dessert.

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In all three scenarios, you rapidly burn through different antioxidant molecules in reactions that are a part of your body’s normal response to toxins, oxidative stress, and any other ordinary physiological processes. Your habit of being conscientious about eating foods rich in beta-carotene, lycopene, selenium, and other antioxidants is certainly paying off.


So how is glutathione relevant to all these reactions?


Often called the body’s “master antioxidant,” glutathione’s main job is to recycle all the other antioxidants so that they can be used again and again. Glutathione plays such an integral part in your cellular function it can be found in all human cells. Glutathione is also important in defending your immune system against the constant environmental assaults that you encounter every day - all found in smog in the air, pesticides in food, or some not so safe ingredients in body care products. Glutathione’s other roles include helping your body to fight infections, prevent cancer, keep cognitive and mental functions sharp, and maintain physical strength, endurance, and a healthy metabolism. Increasing glutathione levels in those who are deficient can help boost the immune system, support liver detoxification pathways, increase physical energy and mental concentration, reduce cellular inflammation, and even have anti-aging effects.


Your glutathione level is based on your genetics, nutrition, lifestyle factors, and cellular needs and usage. Studies show that healthy young people have the highest glutathione levels, healthy elderly people have lower levels, and hospitalized elderly have the lowest levels. While there are many ways to boost your glutathione levels, it is best to talk to a knowledgeable healthcare provider on finding the best methods that would work specifically for you.


So the next time those toxic fumes hit your lungs or when free radicals are generated from fatiguing muscles, remember that this amazing master antioxidant is hard at work.