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Glutathione, the body’s most powerful antioxidant, is a natural protein that is produced inside the body’s cells from three amino acids: glutamic acid, cysteine and glycine. It has been called the “master antioxidant” and regulates the actions of lesser antioxidants like Vitamins C and E. Glutathione neutralizes free radicals, enhances the immune system and detoxifies the liver. It is found in every cell in the body and protects the cell’s mitochondria from bacteria, viruses and toxins, but is concentrated in the liver—the body’s primary detoxifying organ.
In a healthy environment our bodies would be able to produce enough glutathione to meet our daily needs, but our modern lifestyles deplete our body’s supply. Eating refined and processed foods, taking medications, stress, cigarettes, alcohol and caffeine drain the body of glutathione. Around age 45, our body’s natural store of glutathione starts to decrease and these levels can drop to below 50 percent of our optimal levels. Scientists believe that low glutathione levels may be connected to free-radical-induced illnesses like Alzheimer’s, cancer and heart disease.
Symptoms of glutathione deficiency may include coordination problems, generalized cell damage, mental disorders, various nervous system disorders, tremors and twitching. Glutathione deficiency has been associated with AIDS, alcohol-induced liver disease and some forms of cancer.
Researchers tried to create oral glutathione supplements, but glutathione is too large to pass through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream; therefore it is destroyed in the gut before it can be absorbed and used by the body. This is why glutathione is given intravenously—through an IV.
Asparagus, spinach, avocado, squash, melons, grapefruit and peaches are high in a plant version of glutathione that the body converts to replenish its supply. Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage help restock the body’s glutathione supply.
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