8 ways to boost glutathione and support detoxification

By Jessah Robinson, Adv Dip (Nut Med)

Firstly, what is glutathione? In simple terms, glutathione is the body’s most powerful antioxidant that is capable of protecting cells from oxidative stress, free radicals, infection and disease. Its many functions include: reducing inflammation, helping the liver to detoxify waste, protecting against environmental toxins, and boosting immune system function.

While healthy, young people have an abundant supply of glutathione, these levels begin to decline at around age 45, due to stress, illness and injury taking its toll.

Low levels of glutathione are linked to:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Immune diseases (HIV, autoimmune disease)
  • Cardiovascular diseases (hypertension, myocardial infarction)
  • Neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Dementia)
  • Autism
  • Arthritis
  • Pulmonary disease (COPD, asthma and acute respiratory distress syndrome)
  • Chronic age-related diseases (cataracts, macular degeneration, hearing impairment, and glaucoma)
  • Liver disease
  • Cystic fibrosis

Factors that can deplete glutathione:

  • Infections
  • Injury
  • Stress
  • Heavy metal exposure
  • Pesticides
  • GMO foods
  • Radiation
  • Prescription and OTC medications

Ways to boost glutathione levels

1. Eat sulphur-rich foods

It is essential to consume foods with adequate sulphur content as sulphur binds to toxins and free radicals, allowing them to be safely eliminated from the body. Studies have shown that eating sulphur-rich foods can increase glutathione and reduce oxidative stress. Foods that are rich in sulphur-containing cysteine include garlic, onions, eggs and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts and Bok choy.

2. Take whey protein

Organic grass-fed whey protein replenishes glutathione by boosting cysteine, which is one of the major building blocks of glutathione. Synd-X protein powder contains grass-fed whey protein from Australian and New Zealand dairy cows and is extremely low in carb and high in protein.

3. Get physical

Aerobic exercises that get your heart rate up such as walking, running, dancing, jogging and cycling can elevate glutathione. Research indicates that doing a combination of cardio and strength training is most effective for building up glutathione stores. In saying this, be wary of overtraining as this can actually reduce glutathione levels.

4. Consume foods rich in vitamin C and E

Vitamin C helps to raise levels of glutathione in red blood cells and lymphocytes, and vitamin E protects enzymes that protect glutathione. Good sources of vitamin C include oranges, red capsicums and kale, while vitamin E can be found in almonds, spinach and sweet potato.

5. Source some selenium

Selenium is a powerful antioxidant and is needed for your body to produce glutathione. Good sources of selenium include Brazil nuts, sardines, grass-fed beef and chicken.

6. Try milk thistle

For centuries, milk thistle has been touted as a powerful liver healing herb and detoxifier. Silymarin is the active component of milk thistle which not only is anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic but also increases glutathione levels. The recommended adult dosage of milk thistle in terms of liver protection is 420 mg/day.

7. Get adequate sleep

Maintaining good sleep hygiene is essential for many things such as rest and repair, weight maintenance and healthy ageing, but is also good for increasing glutathione levels. Therefore, not getting enough sleep can decrease glutathione. A study reported that glutathione content was decreased in the liver by 23-36% by 5 and 10 days of sleep deprivation. Magnesium is a powerful mineral which relieves sleeplessness and restless sleep. For more information, see Dr Cabot’s book ‘Tired of Not Sleeping’.

8. Relax

It is critical to find ways to relax and destress such as practicing yoga, deep breathing exercises or meditation. Excessive stress can exacerbate any health issue. Using stress reduction techniques such as the ones previously mentioned help to protect precious glutathione stores. Individuals who practice meditation have 20% higher levels of glutathione! Magnesium supports relaxation and relieves symptoms of stress.

Dr Cabot’s 15 Day Cleanse is a great way to ensure sufficient detoxification through healthy eating, delicious meals and having our three different cleanse powders daily. Doing a cleanse is a great way to improve overall health and achieve maximum vitality.