By Camille Vardy, LAc, DNBAO, DAOM
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione is a very potent natural antioxidant that is used by every cell and tissue in the body and is a critical component for numerous important physiological processes. It helps our bodies produce more robust cells and minimizes damage to cells from oxidation by free radicals, it powerfully strengthens the immune system, reduces inflammation, and it also helps regulate our DNA and protein synthesis. This powerful antioxidant, with it’s abundant health-promoting qualities may be helpful in minimizing the development of precancerous cells, supports liver detoxification, and makes our bodies more resilient to stress. More than 150,000 medical studies have been done on the effects of glutathione but it still remains one of medicine’s best-kept secrets.
Glutathione levels decline as we age by about 10% per decade starting at age 20, and by age 40 we can begin to feel the effects on our energy levels, mental clarity and overall health and wellbeing. Supporting optimal glutathione levels may delay these symptoms of aging as well as provide relief from symptoms of existing conditions. Glutathione positively impacts processes implicated in aging, such as telomere shortening and free radical damage, and possibly lengthen our lifespan.
Glutathione enhances the immune system in a number of ways. It is important for the signaling pathways involved in our body’s innate immunity and it substantially increases NK killer and T-cell activity. It also increases the production of white blood cells, as well as directly reduces the impact of asthma and allergic-related lung issues. It has been shown to decrease the inflammatory cytokines TNF-α and NFkβ involved in autoimmune diseases. Glutathione helps our immune system by removing toxins that challenge our immunity. The more exposure to toxins we have, the more glutathione our bodies will use for these detoxification processes.
Critical for cellular repair, the body needs huge reserves of glutathione during active sports. One big day of skiing or a long bike ride can significantly deplete the body’s supply of glutathione, possibly by as much as 80%. Optimizing glutathione levels can give athletes a competitive advantage, contribute to increased endurance, and quicken recovery time. According to Dr. Vardy, glutathione makes us “tougher, stronger and more resistant to injury whether we are an elite athlete or someone committed to staying fit into older age”.
Diet alone is usually not enough to keep glutathione at optimal levels in the body, especially with the added demands of illness, toxins, allergies, aging or high levels of exercise. For many, supplementation may be necessary and there are several forms:
Oral supplementation in a liposomal form is preferred because glutathione rapidly degrades in the stomach and is difficult to absorb.
Topical formulations can also be beneficial as they are readily absorbed into the skin and can be applied to a specific area of the body.
Acetyl-glutathione crosses the blood-brain barrier so it may be the best choice for targeting brain health and mental clarity.
IV pushes of glutathione go directly into your bloodstream and are the most direct way to boost glutathione levels. These injections are available to PIM patients by one of our experienced practitioners.
Please contact Dr. Vardy or your PIM practitioner for a recommendation on the best dosage and route of administration for your needs.