Maintaining adequate glutathione levels is vital for managing oxidative stress, fighting free radicals, and reducing the risk of disease. Glutathione naturally declines after the age of 30, but can decrease faster based on your diet and lifestyle choices. Glutathione can be improved to some degree by adding certain foods to your diet.
Glutathione In Your Diet
Unlike other antioxidants, such as vitamin C, glutathione is poorly absorbed from food. Avocados, asparagus, and spinach are rich in glutathione, but the body isn’t great at using the glutathione in these foods so it simply isn’t enough to just add those into your diet.
Luckily, the body is able to make most of the glutathione it needs. In order to do so, it requires certain raw materials, specifically the amino acids: glutamine, glycine, and cysteine. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, so these would be found in protein-rich foods.
Sulfur is a mineral that is required to make glutathione. It can be found in two of the most pungent-smelling vegetable families, the cruciferous and the allium vegetables. Methionine and cysteine, two sulfur-rich amino acids, are also good sources of sulfur.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant in its own right. Vitamin C doesn’t play a direct role in helping the body make glutathione. But, it may help the body spare glutathione by attacking free radicals first. It may also convert inactive glutathione into its active form. Foods high in vitamin E, another antioxidant, may work in a similar way.
Selenium is an essential mineral needed for glutathione activity. Supplementing with selenium has been found to significantly increase glutathione levels. Selenium supplements are not recommended for most people due to the risk of toxicity. But, it is likely that selenium-rich foods may also be beneficial for increasing glutathione.
Foods that Naturally Increase Glutathione
What specific foods need to be included in your diet to help increase glutathione?
Foods high in glutamine, glycine, and cysteine:
- Whey protein
- Bone broth
- Meat, fish, chicken
Foods high in sulfur:
- Beef, fish, poultry
- Cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, etc.
- Allium vegetables: onions, shallots, and garlic
- Legumes and beans
Foods high in vitamin C:
- Citrus fruits
- Sweet peppers
Foods high in vitamin E:
- Nuts and seeds
- Green leafy vegetables
- Wheat germ
- Olive oil
- Brazil nuts
- Organ meats
- Cottage cheese
- Beef, chicken, fish
- Brown rice
Increasing Glutathione with Your Diet
In looking at the list above, you can see that eating healthy foods such as protein and vegetables is a great way to support your body’s natural glutathione synthesis. This type of diet has many other health benefits in addition to helping the body fight oxidative damage.
Maintaining your glutathione levels isn’t just about what you eat. An unbalanced diet, excessive stress, and too much alcohol can deplete levels of glutathione. This means what you eat is almost as important as what you avoid.
You can support your body’s natural production of glutathione with a healthy diet. But a more effective way to increase glutathione levels is through the skin. Our liposomal glutathione products are able to penetrate the skin to help increase levels directly. Find the whole line of glutathione-enhancing products here.