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Top 9 Health Benefits & Side Effects of Glutathione

We all know that proper nutrition is the key to good health. Eating a balanced diet with all the essential minerals and vitamins is one way of ensuring proper nutrition. But that can be a difficult task on a day-to-day basis.

Glutathione is a powerful master antioxidant, produced by the liver to protect your body against peroxides, heavy metals, and free radicals. If your body is not producing the required level of glutathione, you can either include glutathione-rich foods in your diet or take glutathione supplements in your diet. But what is glutathione, really, and how does it impact your body? We discuss glutathione benefits in detail ahead.

What is Glutathione?

Glutathione is a string of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Glutathione is found in both plants and animals. It is an antioxidant created by cells, mostly consisting of glutamine, glycine, and cysteine, the three amino acids. The reasons for depleted levels of glutathione can be poor nutrition, pollutants in the environment, stress, etc.

Glutathione levels start declining as you age. Type 2 diabetes, hepatitis, a higher risk of cancer, and Parkinson's disease are all linked to low glutathione levels.

You can increase your body's natural synthesis of glutathione or take glutathione supplements to enhance your body from within. Vitamins C, E, Selenium, and Curcumin can aid the liver's production of glutathione. Sulphur-containing foods, such as meats and certain vegetables, can also boost Glutathione benefits. These foods can protect your body against free radicals and eliminate harsh toxins, such as drugs and pollutants.

Health Benefits of Glutathione

Glutathione is crucial for the optimum functioning of the immune system. It helps in building and repairing tissue. Its antioxidant properties help in defending your body against free radical damage to your cells. Glutathione benefits for improving overall health are manifold.

#1. Reduces the risk of Coronary Endothelial Dysfunction

Endothelial cells control the relaxation and contraction of blood vessels, and the widening and narrowing of arteries affect blood pressure. The damage to endothelial cells that leads to its dysfunction can occur in people with or without atherosclerosis. Coronary Endothelial Dysfunction is a condition that raises the risk of arrhythmia and stroke.

Studies have shown that glutathione can help lower blood pressure in people with this disorder. Blood artery width and blood flow rose in those who received glutathione infusions, both of which dramatically reduced coronary risk factors.

#2. Prevents premature infant lung health

Glutathione benefits infants by protecting their lung health. Premature infants with low glutathione levels are susceptible to chronic lung disease. Premature infants unable to produce the required levels of glutathione have the risk of having constant lung issues.

In one trial, glutathione was given intratracheally to premature babies to increase levels. Glutathione levels after the treatment were more than four times higher than they were before. Studies also showed a decrease in oxidative stress markers, which are signs of an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals. The chances of these treated babies acquiring lung diseases later in life decreased dramatically owing to the reduction in oxidative stress.

#3. May help psoriasis

Studies have shown that whey protein improves glutathione levels. Whey protein is taken orally treated with psoriasis, which is brought on by variations in glutathione levels.

#4. Boosts insulin sensitivity in the elderly

Glutathione production declines with age. Studies were conducted concerning the function of glutathione in age-related insulin resistance and weight management. Studies have shown that low glutathione levels are linked to lower rates of fat burning and higher rates of fat storage in the body. To enhance glutathione levels in the elderly, cysteine and glycine-rich foods were added to their diet. Within two weeks, the glutathione levels, insulin sensitivity, and fat burning all improved.

#5. Reduces risk of neurological damage in autistic children

Glutathione benefits autistic children to a great extent. These children generally have lower levels of glutathione and are prone to oxidative damage. Substances like mercury enhance the risk of neurological damage in these kids.

Studies showed that oral administration of glutathione improved cysteine, plasma sulphate, and whole-blood glutathione levels in autistic children and reduced the risk of neurological damage.

#6. Reduces the impact of uncurbed diabetes

Low levels of glutathione are related to chronic high blood sugar. Tissue damage and oxidative stress may result from this. A study indicated that adding cysteine and glycine to the diet increased levels of glutathione. Even in people with uncontrolled diabetes, higher levels of glutathione help to reduce oxidative stress and shield them from the harm that oxidative stress might cause.

#7. Helps manage symptoms of respiratory diseases

N-acetylcysteine, a bi-product of glutathione, is administered to treat respiratory conditions like asthma and cystic fibrosis. It is available as an inhaler and helps to thin mucus and reduce inflammation when inhaled.

#8. Protects against autoimmune diseases

Chronic inflammation caused by autoimmune diseases increases oxidative stress. Glutathione benefits diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and celiac caused by inflammation. Glutathione either strengthens or weakens the immune response, which causes oxidative stress to decline. Autoimmune diseases damage specific cell mitochondria. By scavenging free radicals, glutathione protects the mitochondria of the cell.

#9. Protects against Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease has tremors as one of its symptoms and affects the central nervous system. There is presently no treatment for it. An earlier study revealed that intravenous glutathione benefits symptoms including stiffness and tremors. Glutathione may help reduce symptoms and improve the quality of life for those who have this disease, according to this case study's inference.

Glutathione Side Effects

Glutathione side effects are zero – if derived by way of incorporating foods rich in glutathione! However, glutathione supplements sometimes have side effects, especially if taken in extremely high doses. Some commonly experienced glutathione side effects are:

  • Bloating
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Breathing trouble due to bronchial constriction.
  • Allergic reactions like a rash.

Conclusion

Glutathione is produced by the liver to protect our bodies from free radical damage. It is loaded with antioxidant properties that help in reducing oxidative stress and related damage. Normally glutathione levels decrease as you age. Maintaining healthy levels of glutathione is important due to the numerous advantages it has for managing general health. Glutathione levels can be managed by including glutathione-rich foods in your diet or by consuming glutathione supplements.

FAQs

Which foods should I eat to improve glutathione levels?

If your glutathione levels are low, improve it by incorporating the following foods into your diet:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Lean meat like chicken and fish
  • Flaxseeds
  • Milk Thistle
  • Legumes

Is it safe to consume glutathione supplements every day?

Glutathione taken orally to the extent of 500 mg daily for up to 2 months is considered safe.

Who should avoid glutathione supplements?

Glutathione supplements should not be taken by people who are taking antipsychotic or chemotherapy medications. Also, if you desire the optimum benefit from glutathione supplements, you should avoid the consumption of alcohol, as alcohol inhibits the absorption of glutathione.

Do glutathione benefits include cardiovascular health?

Studies have shown that glutathione deficiency impacts an already damaged heart. It is also believed that supplementing with glutathione may enhance the preservation of cardiac cells in cardiac diseases and also complement the existing treatment.

Who needs glutathione?

Our bodies are able to produce required levels of glutathione, and supplementation will not be required generally. Glutathione levels tend to decrease as we age. If there is any deficiency noticed, elderly people will require glutathione. Also, people suffering from AIDs or cystic fibrosis will require glutathione

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