Have you heard of glutathione?.... Studies are looking at what this "master antioxidant" has to do with whether someone ends up with a mild vs. severe case of COVID... could it come down to how much you have of this little enzyme?
This little enzyme is called the body's "master antioxidant." You know how we're kinda obsessed with getting antioxidants from our food? That's important too, but not nearly as much as being able to make the granddaddy of them all...
Glutathione is an antioxidant we're able to make ourselves. It's found in every cell of the body and is made from a combo of three amino acids: cystine, glutamate and glycine.
It's one of the end products of two complex processes in the body: methylation and transsulfuration, both of which require a wide variety of nutrients for the body to complete. If nutrients are missing or if there's a breakdown at any level in the process (due to genetics, environmental factors, or usually a combo of the two, a.k.a. epigenetics) it can mean less end product: glutathione... which downstream may mean a build up of toxins in the body.
Why is it so important?
Antioxidants', particularly glutathione's job is to counteract free radicals and oxidative stress - the things that age us, damage DNA and can ultimately lead to disease.
What these studies are hypothesizing is this: could it be that those with the most severe cases of COVID are lacking the glutathione necessary to protect the body from the oxidative stress caused by the virus?
I know it may be scary to hear that a term you haven't even heard of could mean the difference between a mild case and one that could land you in the hospital... here's the good news though:
Everything we need to make glutathione comes from our food.
Yep, once again, God is a genius. He put the medicine in the food!
The body synthesizes glutathione from various elements in the diet. The image below shows some key sources of glutathione building blocks and some foods (like asparagus, avocado, spinach, green tea and cucumber) shown to have higher levels of available glutathione.
The Dynamic Duo: Crucifers + Alliums
The two key contributors here are alliums (onions, garlic, leeks, shallots) and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower, romaine, brussel sprouts, etc.). Both are high in sulphur, a key component in glutathione synthesis. Next would be selenium, and brazil nuts are an excellent source. Just one nut contains what's recommended daily.
Other key nutrients: B vitamins (namely B2, B6, B9 and B12), vitamin C, E, alpha lipoic acid and N-acetyl cystine.
Studies show roots and herbs like rosemary and turmeric can positively affecting glutathione levels too.
And foods like salmon, known for it's anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fats were shown to positively affect levels as well.
Favorite Glutathione-Building Recipes
Here are some of my favorite recipes from the blog that use these foods that have the building blocks to make glutathione...
- Beef and broccoli
- Chicken with cauliflower mash and broccolini
- Salmon and simple slaw
- Beef tacos and cilantro cauliflower rice
- Sweet potato with kale and avocado
- Greens onions and mushroom stir-fry
- Roasted brussels sprouts with red onions and walnuts
- Broccoli crunch salad
- Detox salad
- Coleslaw salad
- Cauliflower and leek soup
- Detox broccoli soup
- Cauliflower hummus
Beware of these things that use up your glutathione...
- acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- birth control pills
- other prescription/OTC/recreational drugs
- other environmental toxins
How to know if you're deficient?
Hard to say for sure though low levels can contribute to a number of conditions including always feeling tired, lack of energy, poor sleep, aches and pains, brain fog.
If you're struggling with any of these things or just feeling sub par and want to feel like yourself again, schedule a free 30-min health strategy session with me here.
How are you getting your glutathione building blocks today?
1. ACS Publications: Endogenous Deficiency of Glutathione as the Most Likely Cause of Serious Manifestations and Death in COVID-19 Patients
2. NCBI: PMC: A Review of Dietary (Phyto)Nutrients for Glutathione Support
Megan Adams Brown, CHC, helps people take charge of their health and to start listening to themselves over the latest diet trend to optimize their own wellness, happiness and potential. Her family-friendly meal plans help parents take charge in the kitchen, too. This leads to more vegetables, less junk, and happier, healthier kids and parents. Megan shares kid-approved, allergy-friendly recipes on her blog. To learn more click here.