Sources that Boost Glutathione Naturally
© 2004 Priya Shah
the body's master antioxidant and detoxifier, is one of the 14
"Superfoods" listed in SuperFoods
Rx : Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life, co-authored
by Dr Steven Pratt.
levels cannot be increased to a clinically beneficial extent by
orally ingesting a single dose of glutathione. (1) This
is because glutathione is manufactured inside the cell, from its
precursor amino acids, glycine, glutamate and cystine.
Hence food sources or supplements that increase glutathione must
either provide the precursors of glutathione, or enhance its production
by some other means.
manufacture of glutathione in cells is limited by the levels of
its sulphur-containing precursor amino acid, cysteine.
- as a free amino acid - is potentially toxic and is spontaneously
catabolized or destroyed in the gastrointestinal tract and blood
plasma. However, when it is present as a cysteine-cysteine dipeptide,
called cystine, it is more stable than cysteine.
foods rich in sulphur-containing amino acids can help boost glutathione
are some food sources and dietary supplements that help boost
glutathione levels naturally.
It is derived from the amino acid L-Cysteine, and acts as a
precursor of glutathione. NAC is quickly metabolized into glutathione
once it enters the body. It has been proven in numerous scientific
studies and clinical trials, to boost intracellular production
of glutathione, and is approved by the FDA for treatment of
accetaminophen overdose. Because of glutathione's mucolytic
action, NAC (brand name Mucomyst) is commonly used in the treatment
of lung diseases like cystic fibrosis, bronchitis and asthma.
Milk thistle is a powerful antioxidant and supports the liver
by preventing the depletion of glutathione. Silymarin is the
active compound of milk thistle. It is a natural liver detoxifier
and protects the liver from many industrial toxins such as carbon
tetrachloride, and more common agents like alcohol.
Made naturally in body cells as a by-product of energy release,
ALA increases the levels of intra-cellular glutathione, and
is a natural antioxidant with free radical scavenging abilities.
It has the ability to regenerate oxidized antioxidants like
Vitamin C and E and helps to make them more potent. ALA is also
known for its ability to enhance glucose uptake and may help
prevent the cellular damage accompanying the complications of
diabetes. It also has a protective effect in the brain.
Foods That Boost Glutathione Levels
Asparagus is a leading source of glutathione. Foods like broccoli
(2), avocado and spinach are also known to boost glutathione
levels. Raw eggs, garlic and fresh unprocessed meats contain
high levels of sulphur-containing amino acids and help to maintain
optimal glutathione levels.
Whey Protein Isolate
Whey protein contains proteins like alpha-lactalbumin which
is is rich in sulphur-containing amino acids. Heating or pasteurization
destroys the delicate disulphide bonds that give these proteins
their bioactivity. Undenatured whey protein is a non-heated
product that preserves bioactive amino acids like cystine. It
has been shown in numerous scientific studies and clinical trials
to optimize glutathione levels.
Treatment of brain cells called astrocytes, with the Indian
curry spice, curcumin (turmeric) has been found to increase
expression of the glutathione S-transferase and protect neurons
exposed to oxidant stress. (3)
Changkil saponins (CKS) isolated from the roots of the Chinese
herbal medicine, Platycodon grandiflorum A. DC (Campanulaceae),
commonly called Balloon Flower Root or Jie Geng, have been found
to increase intracellular glutathione (GSH) content and significantly
reduce oxidative injury to liver cells, minimise cell death
and lipid peroxidation. (4)
Selenium is a co-factor for the enzyme glutathione peroxidase.
Selenium supplements have become popular because some studies
suggest they may play a role in decreasing the risk of certain
cancers, and in how the immune system and the thyroid gland
function. However, too much selenium can cause some toxic effects
including gastrointestinal upset, brittle nails, hair loss and
mild nerve damage.
The information here is not provided by medical professionals
and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Nutritional
supplements, while usually benign, can produce adverse reactions
in some people. As with prescribed drugs, long-term effects from
supplements are often unknown. Pregnant women and children should
not take supplements except after consultation with their healthcare
provider. Never exceed the recommended dosage on the container.
If you observe adverse effects stop taking the supplement immediately
and contact your healthcare provider.
systemic availability of oral glutathione
Witschi A, Reddy S, Stofer B, Lauterburg BH. [Eur J Clin Pharmacol.
approach to attenuate oxidative stress, hypertension, and inflammation
in the cardiovascular system
Wu L, Ashraf MH, Facci M, Wang R, Paterson PG, Ferrie A, Juurlink
BH. [Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 May 4;101(18):7094-9. Epub
2004 Apr 21.]
Curry Protect Against Alzheimer’s?
American Physiological Society (APS) Press release; 16-Apr-2004
effect of saponins derived from roots of Platycodon grandiflorum
on tert-butyl hydroperoxide-induced oxidative hepatotoxicity
Lee KJ, Choi CY, Chung YC, Kim YS, Ryu SY, Roh SH, Jeong HG.
[Toxicol Lett. 2004 Mar 7;147(3):271-82.]