One of the impressive examples of how nutrition can enhance our internal defense system can be found in the biochemistry of glutathione.
Glutathione is one of the major antioxidants produced by our cells. It directly participates in the neutralization of free radicals. It also helps some essential vitamins and other antioxidants such as vitamins C and E to maintain their active form.
Through direct conjugation, glutathione detoxifies many environmental toxins and carcinogens, both organic and inorganic such as aromatic hydrocarbons, nitrosamines, benzopyrenes, and heavy metals.
Glutathione also plays a fundamental role in many metabolic and biochemical reactions such as DNA synthesis and repair, protein synthesis, prostaglandin synthesis, amino acid transport and enzyme activation. These processes are important not only for proper detoxification but also for all other processes in the body.
Glutathione can be manufactured inside the human body but its levels are often insufficient for several reasons.
One of the reasons is that it is made from three amino acids, glutamate, glycine and cysteine. Unlike glutamate and glycine, the form of cysteine which can be utilized for glutathione production is not readily available in our diet. That makes cysteine the weak link – the production of glutathione can be limited by the availability of this amino-acid.
Another reason is that glutathione can be depleted if the body has to deal with a lot of toxins. This happens since glutathione molecules bind to toxins and form a water soluble complex which can be excreted.
Decrease in glutathione levels is also associated with aging.
Many systems in the body are adversely affected by low glutathione. Among them are the immune system, the nervous system, the gastrointestinal system, the cardiovascular system, and the pulmonary system. Helping your body to produce adequate amounts of glutathione could have a huge impact on your overall health.
It is possible to restore the optimal level of glutathione by ensuring there is enough cysteine available for its synthesis. The best way to get enough cysteine is consuming cystine – a stable form of cysteine. One of the richest nutritional sources of cystine in the diet is undenatured whey protein from milk.
You can find some protein powders and meal replacement shakes that contain quality undenatured whey protein. Adding a daily whey protein shake to your routine will ensure you get extra cystin. When choosing a protein powder or meal replacement shake make sure that this product is made from organic milk and cold processed. Our recommendation is IsaLean Shakes by Isagenix.