by Nils Osmar. Updated July 29, 2023 See full Medical Disclaimer
Glutathione is a powerful natural antioxidant. Some view it as the most important compound to replenish as we age. It’s a powerful natural antioxidant which has been found to:
- Reduce oxidative stress.
- Reduce cell damage in fatty liver disease.
- Improve insulin resistance.
- Increase mobility for people with peripheral artery disease.
- Support brain function.
- Reduce symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
- Some studies suggest that it may help fight against autoimmune disease.
- It’s essential for the immune system’s proper functioning
- It plays a vital role in building and repairing tissue.
Levels plummet as we age
As with many other beneficial compounds, as the aging process wreaks its damage internally, our glutathione levels begin to fall. By the time we’re in our sixties they’re a fraction of what they were when we were young adults. The decrease in glutathione correlates with a decline in executive function in the brain.
So what to do?
Some people advocate taking glutathione supplements. However, they are not well absorbed. So they may not be the best use of your money.
Some companies claim that liposomal glutathione is better absorbed. However, there’s some evidence that taking it may shut down your body’s own production of glutathione. Fortunately there are other options.
Restoring glutathione to youthful levels
If you’d like to boost your levels to what they were when you were a young adult, you might try:
- Taking NAC (N. Acetyl Cysteine) along with Glycine. NAC, taken by itself, can be harmful. While it extended lifespan in worms, it actually result in shorter lifespans when given to some types of animals. See study. But when taken along with glycine, it has a life extending effect.
- Taking sulforaphane. It raises levels of glutathione in the plasma and the brain. You could try eating broccoli or broccoli sprouts rich in sulforaphan – or taking supplements. I do both. The brand I take is DoNotAge’s Sulforapboost. I have also gotten good results from a Avomacol sulforaphane in the past. If you’d like to get it from food, it’s found in mature broccoli, broccoli sprouts and broccoli seeds. (Seeds have the highest level.)
- Taking selenium. I usually take selenomethionine, but all forms of selenium raise glutathione levels. Eating foods rich in selenium such as onions and garlic may be more effective at boosting glutathione than the supplement.
- Taking milk thistle, It boosts glutathione, activates AMPK and also lowers blood glucose.
- Cooking with curcumin (turmeric), which has anti-inflammatory properties, and boosts glutathione
- Eating whey powder. (I add whey powder to Greek yogurt and eat it after exercising on my workout days.)
- Eating sulfur rich foods such as eggs, onions and garlic
Increasing nitric oxide levels
According to this study, raising glutathione or taking glutathione supplements along with L. Citrulline also increases nitric oxide. For this reason, I often add some L. Citrulline when taking the above supplements.
- According to Healthline.com, “Nitric oxide is produced by nearly every type of cell in the human body and one of the most important molecules for blood vessel health. It’s a vasodilator, meaning it relaxes the inner muscles of your blood vessels, causing the vessels to widen. In this way, nitric oxide increases blood flow and lowers blood pressure.” Levels drop precipitously as we age. According to a 2014 study, “Impaired generation and signaling of nitric oxide (NO) contribute substantially to cardiovascular (CV) risk (CVR) associated with hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes mellitus.”
- To restore nitric oxide to youthful levels: We can raise nitric oxide levels by eating foods high in natural nitrites such as celery, or by humming at the right frequency (which increases nasal NO levels).