Glutathione is a natural antioxidant produced by the body. Aging, poor diet, stress and exposure to toxins can adversely affect glutathione levels in the body. Thanks to its powerful antioxidant properties, it helps reduce oxidative stress and therefore the risk of multiple health problems. As you age, you need to know how to increase glutathione levels naturally.
Glutathione, or GSH for short, is a tripeptide. It is made up of cysteine, glycine and glutamic acid, says Dr. Somnath Gupta, Consultant Physician and Diabetologist at Yashoda Hospitals in Hyderabad. It is also an important ingredient in skin care products. In fact, a 2017 study published in the US National Library of Medicine also showed that glutathione contributed to a significant reduction in wrinkles.
What are the benefits of glutathione?
Many swear by the anti-aging properties of glutathione.
• Glutathione reduces oxidative stress. High levels of oxidative stress can lead to multiple diseases like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes.
• Glutathione reduces cell damage and helps improve non-alcoholic and alcoholic fatty liver disease.
• Glutathione helps improve insulin resistance and manage weight.
• Glutathione helps improve psoriasis.
• Glutathione helps replenish vitamins C and E.
How to increase glutathione levels?
Glutathione depletion is caused by oxidative stress from factors such as pollution, smoking and excessive alcohol, the expert explains. Medical conditions such as chronic illnesses and infections can increase the demand for glutathione. This, in turn, depletes glutathione levels. Additionally, toxins from drugs, chemicals, and heavy metals also decrease glutathione. A poor diet, devoid of fruits and vegetables, can also impact its levels.
1. Eat foods high in sulfur
Look for foods containing sulfur amino acids such as cysteine and methionine. This means that you should include garlic, onion, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and lean proteins like chicken and fish in your diet. These will provide the building blocks for glutathione production, the expert tells Health Shots.
Consider taking glutathione supplements like N-acetylcysteine and alpha-lipoic acid which can support glutathione synthesis. But do not consume them without proper expert advice.
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3. Eat foods rich in antioxidants
Foods rich in vitamins C and E, selenium and zinc can help protect existing glutathione molecules and promote its regeneration. So, citrus fruits, berries, nuts, seeds, and whole grains can be a big help.
4. Regular physical activity
If you exercise regularly, it can help increase glutathione levels and reduce oxidative stress. Aerobic and strength training exercises can help boost glutathione production. But don’t overtrain, especially if your diet is poor and you don’t get enough rest.
5. Proper sleep and stress management
Prioritizing quality sleep and stress management will not only keep dark circles at bay, but will also help maintain optimal glutathione levels. Chronic stress and lack of sleep can deplete glutathione levels. So, maintaining sleep quality and practicing stress reduction techniques like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing can help maintain higher glutathione levels.
6. Turmeric or haldi can help
The yellow herb is commonly used in our dishes and is known for its medicinal properties, especially thanks to its main component, curcumin. Compared to the spice, the curcumin content is much more concentrated in the form of turmeric extract. According to a 1990 study published in the National Library of Medicine, turmeric and curcumin extract may help increase glutathione levels.
Yes, your liver can produce glutathione. But you can also eat foods that will help increase glutathione levels.