Boost Glutathione with Milk Thistle
“It’s the most important molecule you need to stay healthy and prevent disease — yet you’ve probably never heard of it,” says MD Mark Hyman in a HuffPost article. “It’s the secret to prevent aging, cancer, heart disease, dementia and more.”
What’s the molecule he’s talking about? It’s glutathione or GSH.
Glutathione, according to The Radiant Life Blog, is comprised “of three protein building blocks or amino acids – cysteine, glutamine and glycine.”
According to MD Gustavo Bounous, director of research and development at Immunotec and retired professor of surgery at McGill University, “It’s the [body’s] most important antioxidant because it’s within the cell.”
Glutathione has been aggressively studied in the medical world and is something that is extremely important for your body.
Your body actually makes glutathione, but as Mark Hyman tells us, “poor diet, pollution, toxins, medications, stress, trauma, aging, infections and radiation all deplete your glutathione.”
Why is glutathione so important?
Glutathione is what is often known as the body’s master antioxidant and detoxifier for cells.
According to RESURgen, Glutathione is found in large quantities in the liver and it’s key to supporting the body’s immune system. Glutathione is considered one of the most effective and efficient internal antioxidants.
Glutathione is essential for a healthy immune system, protecting against cellular damage and encouraging detoxification. It has also been known to help the body fight off disease and infection.
The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine says that the higher the level of glutathione, the greater ability the liver has of detoxifying the body of harmful chemicals.
Low levels of glutathione can correlate with low energy levels.
WhatIsGlutathione.org says that the formation of “glutathione requires energy, and in this case, the energy required is adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. ATP provides cellular energy, and much of it is synthesized in mitochondria.”
Proper glutathione levels in the body mean higher energy levels.
Glutathione has also been known to combat free radicals.
Free radicals, as this infographic on visual.ly points out, are molecules in the body that are lacking an electron. Free radicals can be caused by anything from stress to processed foods, drugs, UV rays, smoke, environmental toxins and more.
When there are too many free radicals in your system it becomes a problem. Antioxidants like glutathione are what help neutralize those free radicals.
Experience L!fe says that, unfortunately, things you are exposed to in your daily life can negatively impact your glutathione levels.
“Everything from refined foods to over-the-counter painkillers to stress — rob the body of this vital antioxidant. And, even if you’re doing everything right, aging takes a bite. Around age 45, our glutathione levels start to slip. Ultimately, those levels can dip as much as 50 percent below optimal as we age.”
The Radiant Life Blog says, “proper glutathione levels are actually required so that the other antioxidants such as vitamins C, E, selenium and carotenoids, can be properly utilized within the body.”
When your glutathione levels become too low, a number of negative things can occur in your body.
ImmuneHealthScience.com tells us that low levels can cause your body to be unable to repair DNA and detoxify and can lead to cell mutations, weakened cell membranes and more.
So, how do you keep your glutathione levels up?
At this point, I’m sure it’s pretty clear to you that glutathione is important to your body and you’re probably still wondering how to make sure you keep those levels up.
There are a number of foods and supplements you can ingest to keep your glutathione levels in a good place, but one natural source, in particular, stands out when it comes to glutathione support.
Celebrated for its detoxifying properties as well as its ability to protect and regenerate cells, milk thistle has been known to boost glutathione levels as well as prevent depletion.
According to Livestrong.com, the silymarin found in milk thistle can help the liver heal itself through cell regeneration.
The liver has the highest concentration of glutathione due to the fact that the liver is the main detoxification organ in the body. (To discover more about how your body detoxifies itself, check out our recent post, here).
The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine says that milk thistle has been shown to increase the level of glutathione in the liver by up to 35%.
In terms of those pesky free radicals mentioned earlier, milk thistle helps with combating those, too.
According to detoxdiy, “Milk thistle removes precursors of free radicals through three antioxidant enzymes namely catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase.”
It’s a good idea to be proactive and attempt to boost your glutathione levels before a deficiency occurs and to boost your health in general. Ingesting milk thistle is a great way to start.
How to get milk thistle in your diet
Glutathione supplements are available, however, most experts report that our bodies have a difficult time absorbing them.
Instead, they suggest taking a natural herb, like milk thistle, or including other foods that naturally boost your body’s glutathione production in your diet.
There are a couple of ways to go about taking milk thistle.
The first is to eat the plant itself. Newsmax suggests adding milk thistle stalks, leaves, flowers and roots to your salads or even your cooked meals. They also suggest putting crushed milk thistle leaves and seeds into a tea bag and steeping them in hot water to make tea.
Aside from eating the actual plant, you can eat oil that is pressed from the plant’s seeds. You can drink this oil or use it topically by rubbing it into your skin and hair.
If you choose to go the oil route, it’s important to only use good quality oil. Our Perfect Press® Milk Thistle Oil is 100% pure. It’s carefully pressed from organic seeds and bottled exclusively in Miron glass UV-protective bottles to preserve quality over time.
Milk thistle does more than just boost glutathione levels. Check out our top ten benefits of milk thistle blog post to learn more about what this amazing herb can do for you.