Increase creation of antioxidant glutathione with food, supplements
BY SUZY COHEN Dear Pharmacist
Saturday, November 10, 2012
11/10/12 at 3:58 AM
Dear Pharmacist, I recently read a magazine article that discussed the health benefits of glutathione, and I was shocked at how many there are. Do you recommend this supplement for everyone ? - L.S. Orlando, Fla.
Glutathione is fantastic for the human body. We make it actually and it supports liver function! It boosts your immune system, and helps you cleanse your system by grabbing heavy metals, like mercury and other poisons. Because it's an antioxidant, it can neutralize oxidative damage from free radicals; those are the loose cannons in your body.
Popping a little capsule of glutathione is less effective than other options, in terms of raising blood levels. The gut does not absorb glutathione well. Glutathione is a nutrient best made inside our cells or "intracellularly." Luckily, virtually all of our organs contain cells that are able to cook up the recipe of glutathione using three natural amino acids : Glycine, glutamate and cystine (a more stable form of cysteine).
To make it yourself, you could increase consumption of foods that contain these precursor amino acids, or you could pay for the direct injection, given by IV over about 5 or 10 minutes.
Some of the fresh foods known to be high in these amino acids are: avocados, asparagus, garlic, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, milk thistle, and unprocessed meats. However, if you do decide that oral supplementation of glutathione is the best choice for you, I recommend Liposomal Glutathione by Empirical Labs, or S-Acetyl Glutathione by Xmogen; both these products can be ordered for you by a physician, they are not at health food stores.
You can also buy a high-quality whey protein supplement at any health food store, and this will quickly raise levels by providing the essential amino acids you need as precursors.
If you have cancer, or take immunosuppressive drugs, or if you've had an organ transplant, I would avoid glutathione supplementation unless your doctor advises it. Finally, acetaminophen is a drug mugger of this nutrient so you will need to restore levels if you take that drug.