Now that you know the basics of detoxification as well as the signs and symptoms to look for if you think you think toxins might be affecting your health, it’s time to talk about support and prevention, specifically, what nutrients you can use to help your body detoxify naturally.`
There are many nutrients that are essential to the process, but the most important of all is called glutathione. Not only is it essential for detoxification, it is also one of the most important antioxidants in the body. I call it “the boss of detox and the king of antioxidants.”
Glutathione is a peptide that contains three essential amino acids – L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid, and glycine.
Every cell in your body produces glutathione, which makes it pivotal to our health. It is responsible for:
- Helping the liver detoxify before bile is omitted
- Reducing natural bleaching agents that are harmful to your body, like peroxides.
- Helping your body neutralize free radicals, pesticides, and other toxic compounds that our bodies create and are exposed to daily
It cleans out your entire body and is also very important for immune and nervous system support.
So how can you ensure that your body is producing enough glutathione?
You can start by adding sulfur-rich, cruciferous vegetables to your diet, like arugula, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, turnip, and watercress. Without these vegetables, the amount of glutathione produced in the liver and lungs will decrease. I, personally, have three servings each day of cruciferous vegetables. I have kale in morning, avocados at lunch, and broccoli, cauliflower, or brussel sprouts at dinner. It’s just part of my daily routine and this is how I keep my system balanced and maintain optimum health.
If you’re unable to maintain healthy glutathione levels from the food you’re eating, however, you can supplement with N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), or Alpha-lipoic acid – both are precursors to glutathione and help to boost its production. You can also supplement with glutathione itself. I recommend taking it in liquid form, if possible, and finding supplements that are lypo-spheric, or fat soluble.
In addition to diet and supplementation, exercise also helps to increase glutathione levels, especially high-intensity exercise that lasts for 20 minutes or more (1). Exercise induces sweating which signals the immune system, lymphatic cells, and liver to increase production of glutathione.
To keep your glutathione production at healthy levels, it’s best to avoid alcohol and manage your stress levels, since high cortisol levels deplete glutathione.
Before you try supplementing or making major changes to your diet, be sure to check with your doctor or a trusted healthcare professional. Glutathione levels can be tested with a simple blood test.
Genetic testing is also available and will help you discover whether or not you have the genes needed to produce adequate amounts of glutathione. Knowing your levels and making the necessary adjustments is essential for your overall health and well-being.