Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that is composed of three amino acids: glutamine, glycine, and cysteine. Every cell of the body contains glutathione, and by researching the effects that glutathione levels have on a variety of diseases, scientists continue to discover its benefits.
Functions of Glutathione
Like all antioxidants, glutathione serves many essential functions for the body. These include:
- Making DNA
- Forming sperm cells
- Breaking down some free radicals
- Supporting immunity
- Helping the liver and gallbladder process fats
- Regenerating vitamins C and E
- Transporting mercury out of the brain
Despite the body’s ability to make glutathione, levels tend to decrease as you get older. Poor nutrition, stress, and environmental toxins can also lower glutathione levels.
Benefits of Glutathione
Benefits of maintaining your glutathione levels, either through a healthy diet and exercise or through topical, oral, or intravenous supplementation include:
Antioxidants help counteract free radicals, which contribute to aging and some diseases. Therefore, powerful antioxidants like glutathione can protect the body from the damaging effects of free radicals.
Reducing Cell Damage from Liver Disease
Antioxidant deficiencies can worsen the fatty liver disease, contributing to further cell death. Conversely, glutathione may improve the protein, enzyme, and bilirubin levels of patients with chronic fatty liver disease.
Reduced Insulin Resistance in Older Patients
A study examining the role that glutathione plays in weight management and insulin resistance connected low glutathione levels to less fat burning and higher rates of fat storage. Increasing glutathione levels may help older patients manage symptoms of insulin resistance.
Reduced Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
While further research is still needed, a study connecting the effects of intravenous glutathione treatments on Parkinson’s disease symptoms, including tremors and rigidity, reported improvement for patients.
Assistance in Fighting Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune diseases can cause chronic inflammation and increase oxidative stress. Glutathione may help in reducing oxidative stress by eliminating free radicals and protecting cell mitochondria. Scientists are still uncovering the ways that glutathione can benefit our overall health. Meanwhile, you can work to maintain your natural glutathione levels through a healthy diet, getting enough rest, and avoiding environmental toxins.