Step 6: Boost Glutathione Levels
As we’ve already discussed in [intlink id=”9699″ type=”post”]Step 1 of our Clean Cuisine Natural Detox[/intlink], the phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables as well as all unrefined plant foods play a key role in supporting detoxification and boosting your body’s natural detoxifying abilities. However, some phytonutrients in certain “superfoods” are particularly important for enhancing natural detox. Specifically, phytonutrients that generate glutathione production at the cellular level play a key role in detoxification. Glutathione is naturally produced in your body but levels decline with age and many people are deficient due to stress, infections, poor diet, pollution, toxins, medications and overall poor lifestyle habits.
What is Glutathione?
There are thousands of articles in the medical literature about glutathione, but most people have never even heard of it. And yet, glutathione is actually the “mother” of all antioxidants and is considered to be the “master” detoxifier. Glutathione is found in high concentrations in the liver and when it encounters a toxin it more or less attaches to the toxin and escorts it out of your body.
In addition to playing a key role in natural detox, glutathione directly quenches free radicals and plays a key role in fighting inflammation, free radicals and the aging process in general. This “super” antioxidant even has the ability to regenerate other antioxidants, including vitamins C and E as well as Co-Q10.
The Beauty Brain Connection
Did you know glutathione is your brain’s most important antioxidant and is absolutely critical for proper brain function? Interestingly, what is good for your brain is also good for your skin. Andy and I made this connection a while back when researching a “brain healthy” diet after I was diagnosed with MS…over and over we noted that just about every nutritional recommendation for brain health coincided with the same recommendations for healthy skin. This is because both the skin and the brain are derived from the same embryonic tissues. It is no surprise that any substance that boosts the health of your brain by improving natural detox, quenching free radicals and reducing inflammation will do the same for your skin. This also helps explain why both Andy and I noticed a definite improvement in our skin clarity and overall appearance shortly after changing our diets to a brain healthy “[intlink id=”163″ type=”page”]MS diet[/intlink]” over a decade ago. Boosting glutathione levels will no doubt improve your brain function and mental clarity—but it will do the same for the health and clarity of your skin helping give you a gorgeous “glow.”
Andy and I initially learned about glutathione therapy from my neurologist, Dr. David Perlmutter, who is also the author of several books, including one of my favorites, “The Better Brain Book.” I visited Dr. Perlmutter at his clinic in Naples, FL in 2005 after finishing a grueling multi-city book tour around the country for the release of our first book. I came home from the tour feeling depleted, completely exhausted, lightheaded and dizzy (not exactly ideal for someone who had just written a health book!)
Although we weren’t sure if my symptoms were definitely related to MS or whether they had something to do with an inner-ear problem because of all the flying, Dr. Perlmutter immediately started me on intravenous glutathione. I noticed a tremendous difference in how I felt that very night. The cotton-in-my-head feeling vanished and my overall sense of well-being returned. Interestingly, I not only felt clear headed and energetic I was noticeably stronger for at least three days after the intravenous glutathione (I strength train regularly and so I know exactly how many push-ups I can do on a “good” day—the glutathione boosted my strength and the number of pushups I could do from “good” to “great.”) To this day, I will still periodically get a glutathione injection when I feel run down or depleted. But, while intravenous glutathione can temporarily boost glutathione the effect does not last for long. Plus, I am the first to admit glutathione injection is not exactly the most convenient thing to do….
Phytonutrients Found In SuperFoods That Raise Glutathione Levels
The good news is certain phytonutrient-rich “superfoods” activate pathways that generate glutathione production. Studies show that these pathways may remain activated for as long as 24 hours after being stimulated by an appropriate phytonutrient. Some of the phytonutrients in the following foods are currently shown to be among the most effective for boosting glutathione activity. As part 6 of the Clean Cuisine Natural Detox aim to eat at least one of these “superfoods” each day (Note: you should already be drinking green tea as part 5 of the Clean Cuisine Natural Detox so aim to eat one more “superfood” in addition to the green tea.)
- Catechins in green tea. Research shows the consumption of green tea can boost glutathione levels. If you recall from [intlink id=”9828″ type=”post”]Step 5 of our Clean Cuisine Natural Detox[/intlink] green tea has plenty of other health-promoting benefits too! To boost glutathione levels be sure to drink at least 3 cups of green tea each day.
- Sulforaphane in cruciferous vegetables: The sulforaphane in cruciferous vegetables is one of the strongest and most widely studied activators of detoxification pathways. To boost glutathione levels and enhance detoxification be sure to eat at least one of the following cruciferous vegetable each day.
- [intlink id=”7132″ type=”post”]Radishes[/intlink]
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Pterostilbene (pronounced “tero-STILL-bean) in blueberries and grapes: Pterostilbene like its cousin resveratrol is gaining world-wide attention for its rather dramatic ability to improve human health and slow aging. Pterostilbene enhances the production of key antioxidants including glutathione that are critical for protecting cells against free radicals while also boosting detoxification. Try to consume either one serving of blueberries or grapes every day (note: wild blueberries have considerably more antioxidants than cultivated blueberries. You can purchase frozen unsweetened wild blueberries in places like Whole Foods Market, Natural Foods stores and now even Costco!)
- Curcumin in turmeric. Curcumin is the most active phytonutrient component of the spice turmeric and has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. You can boost your intake of curcumin by cooking with turmeric (a delicious ingredient in many Indian, Thai, Indonesian and Caribbean dishes) or boosting your intake of good old American mustard. You can also supplement with turmeric by taking turmeric extract but we do not recommend supplementation with isolated curcumin (or any isolated phytonutrient for that matter!) Supplementation with turmeric extract is especially helpful for inflammatory disorders such as arthritis and autoimmune diseases. The downside is that compared to the actual spice, turmeric supplements are not well absorbed from the G.I. tract. However, research shows that by adding piperine (a compound found in black pepper) the absorption of turmeric is greatly enhanced. One economical turmeric supplement we found containing piperine is NSI Turmeric Extract with BioPerine (a standardized piperine extract obtained from black pepper). You can purchase NSI Turmeric Extract online at VitaCost. To boost glutathione levels be sure to cook with turmeric or mustard regularly and / or supplement with turmeric extract.
[intlink id=”9978″ type=”post”]See Natural Detox Step 7 (The FINAL Step)[/intlink]