Glutathione is one of the most important compounds in your body. It is so crucial that your body makes its own, creating it from the amino acids glycine, cysteine, and glutamic acid. It is required for cellular defense, detoxification, and fighting the DNA damaging risks of oxidative stress. Ideally, our cells would be full of active glutathione. But that’s not always the case.
Maintaining optimal levels of glutathione is essential to your health, according to a 2004 report published in the Journal of Nutrition. The report’s authors note that glutathione plays a key role in antioxidant defense, the breakdown of nutrients, and regulation of many biological processes (including immune response). The authors also point out that glutathione deficiency contributes to oxidative stress, which in turn influences the development of many diseases (including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, cancer, heart attack, stroke, and diabetes).
Just when we need it the most, glutathione levels can drop. This is due to age, health challenges, environmental factors, genetics, or a combination of factors. However, the right supplemental source can make all the difference.
Glutathione has many important functions, including:
- making DNA, the building blocks of proteins and cells
- supporting immune function
- forming sperm cells
- breaking down some free radicals
- helping certain enzymes function
- regenerating vitamins C and E
- transporting mercury out of the brain
- helping the liver and gallbladder deal with fats
- assisting regular cell death (a process known as apoptosis)