Glutathione is also called the master antioxidant. Most foods contain glutathione, and it’s broken down by digestion. Studies have revealed that dietary glutathione is not associated with the levels of glutathione in the blood. The body naturally produces glutathione. This peptide is composed of three amino acids – glutamate, cysteine, and glycine. Glutathione is essential for detoxification in the liver. Low glutathione levels are associated with a variety of health problems. Glutathione helps the body detoxify as it binds to toxins before it is excreted, which is a crucial step in flushing the toxins out of the body.
It has immune and anti-inflammatory benefits as well. Glutathione can be used to protect the body against oxidative stress. Some new research suggests that lower levels of glutathione make the brain more susceptible to damage caused by neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. Antioxidants help protect cells from DNA damage that can cause various health problems. Glutathione is vital for natural killer cells as well. Natural killer cells fight off bacteria and viruses that try to attack the body.
Glutathione serves a wide range of functions such as:
- regulating cell growth and division by inhibiting the oxides that prevent the growth
- protecting DNA from oxidative stress and promoting DNA synthesis
- keeping proteins in the right form to allow for effective protein synthesis, catalysis, and activation of the enzymes in the body
- transporting amino acids in and out of the cells
- It also improves the body’s resistance to UV radiation and reduces radiation damage
- promotes metabolism of toxins, carcinogens, and xenobiotics
- protects you from free radicals
- reduces oxidative stress-related damage
- helps the body recycle lipoic acid, Vitamin C and other antioxidants
Glutathione for Relieving Hangovers
Glutathione can help relieve hangovers as well. Acetaldehyde, the real cause of hangovers, is produced when alcohol is broken down in the liver. Alcohol dehydrogenase breaks down the alcohol, but it creates acetaldehyde. A body that’s prepared for this occasion produces two more chemicals to break down acetaldehyde – glutathione and acetaldehyde dehydrogenase. These chemicals form acetate, a non-toxic substance that neutralizes the alcohol and prevents it from causing severe damage to the body.
Glutathione supplements are a great hangover remedy as they prevent depletion of glutathione. Instead of allowing the body to run out of glutathione after only a few drinks, glutathione supplements keep those levels high. Glutathione can bond with the acetaldehyde dehydrogenase and form acetate, which prevents acetaldehyde from being harmful. The higher your glutathione levels, the faster the body will be able to neutralize acetaldehyde and avoid its adverse effects.
A common way to increase glutathione levels is to take another amino acid – NAC (N-acetyl cysteine). Taking NAC supplements helps restore the levels of glutathione in older adults.
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