Perhaps you haven’t heard of glutathione, but you wouldn’t be alive without it. Glutathione was first identified by J. de Rey-Pailhade in 1888, but it wasn’t a known detoxifier until about 30 years ago. Now it’s recognized as a chief antioxidant and detoxifying element. What’s more is that it also supports a healthy immune system and healthy cells by its potent antioxidant and detoxifying functions.
Glutathione is made in the body at the cellular level and works its way outward from there. Known also as GSH, glutathione is comprised of three amino acids: glutamate, glycine and cysteine. It has numerous health benefits, too, including boosting the immune system by assisting in the multiplication of lymphocytes, the cells that mediate specific immunity.
It also aids in the detoxification process and fighting off free radicals. Free radicals, of course, are those unstable molecules responsible for tissue damage, accelerated aging and overall unhealth. Antioxidants like glutathione are what the body uses to scavenge for free radicals and quells the damage they cause.
As for detoxification, the highest concentrations of glutathione are in the kidneys and the liver. In fact, glutathione serves as one of the major liver detoxification pathways. Glutathione actually attaches itself to toxins and turns them into a form that can be safely eliminated from the body. In short, glutathione neutralizes and liquefies toxins so that they can exit the body as harmless waste.
Truth be told, without glutathione, our cells would disintegrate from the destructive forces of oxidation and our livers would cease functioning due to the overwhelming accumulation of toxins. But that’s not all that glutathione does. It also protects the skin, as well as the eyes' lenses, corneas, and retinas. In addition to detoxifying the kidneys and liver, it also detoxifies the lungs, intestines, epithelia and other organs.
Normally, glutathione levels stay at 90% functionality in the body and all is well. What happens if glutathione supplies wane, though? The good news is that it can regenerate itself—that is, unless there’s too much toxic waste for it to take on. The bad news is that if glutathione levels fall below 70% of its activity potential due to inactivity or excessive oxidation, then serious health consequences can result.
Understandably, it’s important to keep glutathione levels at an optimal level. Eating specific foods can help. Our bodies can create glutathione naturally from foods such as broccoli, asparagus, onions, garlic, eggs, poultry, red meat, fish, dairy products, beans, fruits, avocados and walnuts.
So make sure you get enough of these foods. They help feed glutathione levels so that it can consistently deliver its “knockout punch” to toxins.