Glutathione is a natural antioxidant that is made in the body. Ageing, unhealthy diet, stress and exposure to toxins can take a toll on glutathione levels in the body. With its powerful antioxidant properties, it helps in reducing oxidative stress and therefore, the risk of multiple health conditions. As you age, you must know how to increase glutathione levels through natural ways.
Glutathione, GSH in short, is a tripeptide. It is composed of cysteine, glycine and glutamic acid, explains Dr Somnath Gupta, Consultant Physician and Diabetologist, Yashoda Hospitals Hyderabad. It is also an important ingredient in skincare products. A 2017 study published in the US National Library of Medicine, in fact, also showed that glutathione helped in 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 cancers, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.
• Glutathione reduces cell damage and helps in improving non-alcoholic and alcoholic fatty liver disease
• Glutathione helps in improving insulin resistance and weight management.
• Glutathione helps in improving psoriasis.
• Glutathione helps in regenerating vitamins C and E.
How to increase glutathione levels?
Glutathione depletion occurs due to oxidative stress from factors such as pollution, smoking and excessive alcohol, says the expert. Medical conditions such as chronic illnesses and infections may increase demand for glutathione. That, in turn, depletes glutathione levels. Also, toxins from drugs, chemicals and heavy metals lower glutathione as well. A poor diet, which lacks fruits and vegetables, can also impact its levels.
1. Eat foods rich in sulfur
Look for foods that have sulfur-containing amino acids such as cysteine and methionine. That means you should include garlic, onion, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and lean proteins such as chicken and fish to your diet. These will provide building blocks for glutathione production, the expert tells Health Shots.
Consider taking glutathione supplements like N-acetyl cysteine and alpha lipoic acid which can support glutathione synthesis. But do not consume these without proper expert guidance.
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3. Consume foods rich in antioxidants
Foods rich vitamins c and e, selenium and zinc can help to protect existing glutathione molecules and promote its regeneration. So, citrus fruits, berries, nuts, seeds and whole grains can be of great help.
4. Regular physical activity
If you regularly workout, it can help to boost glutathione levels and reduce oxidative stress. Both aerobic and strength training exercises can help in stimulating glutathione production. But don’t overtrain, especially if your diet is poor and you are not getting enough rest.
5. Adequate sleep and stress management
Prioritising quality sleep and managing stress will not only keep dark circles at bay, but also help to maintain optimal glutathione levels. Chronic stress and sleep deprivation can deplete glutathione levels. So, maintaining quality of sleep and practising stress-reducing techniques like yoga, meditation and deep breathing can help to 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 due to its main component, curcumin. Compared to the spice, the curcumin content is way more concentrated in the extract form of turmeric. According to a 1990 study published in the National Library of Medicine, turmeric and curcumin extract can help to increase glutathione levels.
Yes, your liver can produce glutathione. But you can also eat foods that will help to raise glutathione levels.