Blood glutathione plays a role in many of your body’s chemical reactions. It detoxifies pollutants as well as some of the chemicals your own body creates. Even in healthy adults, glutathione levels decrease as you age. This is likely because your body cannot create the same levels as it once produced.
Lower blood glutathione levels are often linked to declining health. In fact, it may contribute to some of the medical problems that often develop in older people. To learn more about how glutathione affects aging adults, keep reading.
What is Blood Glutathione?
Blood glutathione is a substance produced in most of your body’s cells and at “surprisingly high levels,” according to Dr. Joseph Pizzorno. It is a tripeptide derived from three amino acids: cysteine, glutamine and glycine.
Glutathione resides in the cells of almost every organism on the earth. It acts as an antioxidant in your body. This means it fights free radicals, molecules that can damage your cells and cause illness.
When blood glutathione levels are high, you have amazing energy and healthy skin. Your heart is strong, and your mind is sharp. You enjoy optimal health. Without adequate levels, however, you can develop dangerous health conditions. Declining glutathione levels may contribute to stroke, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
What Reduces Glutathione Levels?
Many factors—separate or combined—can reduce blood glutathione levels in your body. Insomnia, stress, poor nutrition and environmental toxins are some examples. Glutathione levels also decrease with age.
Certain medical conditions also contribute to declining glutathione levels. They include cancer, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.
What Increases Glutathione Levels?
If your glutathione levels are low, you can boost them with supplements. Glutathione is available as intravenous or topical treatments and as an inhalant. You can also take it as an oral supplement. For some conditions, intravenous delivery is more effective than oral ingestion.
Certain dietary supplements may increase your body’s natural production of blood glutathione. Curcumin, selenium, vitamin C and vitamin E are four notable examples. Flaxseed (linseed), milk thistle and whey may also help.
Foods high in amino acids that contain sulfur may also boost your glutathione levels. Examples include asparagus, avocado, broccoli, spinach and unprocessed meat.
What Are Specific Glutathione Benefits?
Why should you take glutathione supplements as you age? What are some specific benefits? The professionals at Healthline suggest the following advantages:
- reduce oxidative stress
- improve psoriasis symptoms
- reverse fatty liver
- improve insulin resistance
- improve blood circulation
- reduce Parkinson’s symptoms
- improve uncontrolled diabetes
- reduce respiratory disease
Blood glutathione is a master antioxidant. In fact, it is the most abundant antioxidant in your cells. The levels naturally decrease as you age, or if you encounter stress or toxins.
Glutathione treatments, either in food or supplement forms, can boost your body’s natural production of this substance. The higher levels, in turn, can detoxify your body and improve your general health.