Since glutathione serves to fight the free radicals that cause oxidative damage, we want our bodies to increase the concentration of glutathione in cells in response to oxidation. Cell oxidation is when the stress we create from everyday living, from the chemicals in the air, to the ones we put on our skin and the ones we put into our body break down the cell membranes. One of the safest and most effective ways to raise resting levels of glutathione appears to be to...(drumroll, please) exercise! Just as lifting weights can grow your muscles and cardio can strengthen your heart, physical activity creates adaptations that help protect and strengthen the cells.
Health influencers in the scientific community talk about its benefits for a number of conditions, and also tout its potential to slow the aging process.
It binds to fat-soluble toxins, not fat soluble vitamins. It supports the liver and kidneys as they work to detoxify harmful compounds, both organic and inorganic. Glutathione also helps to make proteins in the body and assists the immune system. Supplementation with glutathione has been found to improve patients with cancer, diabetes, liver disease, and brain metabolism.
For most people, the best way to boost glutathione levels is to eat foods that contain glutathione or its precursors. Nutrition is important here.
Onions and garlic were both found to increase concentrations of a few forms of glutathione in rats. Both alliums raised GSH levels in the animals’ livers and kidneys. This may be one of the many mechanisms by which onions and garlic can help prevent disease.
Avocados have glutathione, along with many other health-promoting compounds. A 2021 animal study contrasted avocado oil to a common hypertensive drug, prazosin, and found that, while both treatments decreased high blood pressure in hypertensive rats, only the avocado oil improved the mitochondrial function in the rats’ kidney cells. The avocado oil improved the ability of glutathione to neutralize free radicals and thereby prevent the damage often caused by high blood pressure.
If you’ve ever eaten asparagus and then noticed an odd odor when you urinate, that is from sulfur-containing compounds that form when asparagusic acid breaks down. Sulfur is one of the main ingredients in glutamate. Sulfur is part of the synthesis of glutathione. Other plant-based foods that are high in sulfur, and that are associated with increased glutathione levels are cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, kale, brussels sprouts, and mustard greens.
Watermelon is rich in many compounds, among them lycopene and vitamin C. Both of these may lower biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation, partially through the glutathione component.
Pomegranates are another red fruit that can boost glutathione levels. A 2014 study fed pomegranate juice to 14 healthy volunteers for 15 days and saw that their glutathione levels had risen by almost 23% by the last day of the trial. And a 2017 study gave pomegranate juice or a placebo to elite weightlifters right after a strenuous workout. Among many other positive effects, the pomegranate juice increased the antioxidant power of glutathione by about 7%.
Some mushroom species are high in glutathione itself. One of them, the common white button mushroom has so much glutathione that a long-term study of over 15,000 participants revealed that the more mushrooms people reported eating, the lower their chances of dying. So whether it’s the glutathione or the full symphony of nutrients found in edible fungi, mushrooms can be a great addition to most diets.
There are many ways in which we ca be our own health cheerleaders. Be a partner to your health, always.
-Author and Creator of the Superior Self Series
-CPT, CFI, Life and Wellness Coach
-SuperiorSelf on YouTube
-superiorself on Instagram, Twitter
-KJ Landis on LinkedIn
-Superior Self with KJ Landis on Facebook
-superiorselfwithkjlandis on TikTok
Books available wherever books are sold.
Whatever gets us eating healthier will help us in all facets of our lives because what we eat becomes us.