Written by Dr. Doni Wilson.
Our bodies make antioxidants to protect our cells from oxidative stress. For instance, glutathione is one of the most potent antioxidants, and it’s made right inside our bodies. That’s a rather amazing thought, and yet it makes sense. Plants do the same thing—they make antioxidants, especially when they are under environmental stresses. When we eat plants, we benefit from those very same antioxidants. In fact, the best plant-based source of glutathione is avocados.
I’m going to come back to how to increase your glutathione levels, but first let’s think through why we need glutathione in the first place. Oxidation is a normal process in our bodies. It happens when we metabolize our food to make energy. It happens when our liver processes toxins, pesticides, pollutants, metals, and medications. Oxidation, or oxidative stress and the subsequent reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) increases tremendously when we become injured, when we have an infection (such as a flu virus, gingivitis, Epstein Barr virus, Herpes virus, etc.) and/or inflammation, such as from leaky gut and food sensitivities.
Once inflammation and oxidative stress start building up and superseding the amount of available antioxidants like glutathione, they can cause damage to cells and the mitochondria inside of cells leading to memory loss, anxiety, depression, joint pain, fatigue, weakness, weight gain, and increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. So you really don’t want that to happen. And did I mention that oxidative stress itself also increases inflammation? So, with too much oxidative stress and not enough antioxidants to counteract it, we get into a vicious cycle of oxidative stress, inflammation, and ill-health.
How Do You Know If This Is Happening To You?
In your annual blood work you can ask to check the following tests: CRP (C-reactive protein), GGT, HgbA1c (hemoglobin A1c), fasting triglycerides, and LDL (preferably small density). Elevated levels indicate oxidative stress.
In more specialized testing, we can look for elevated oxidized glutathione, nitric oxide and urinary 8OHdG (8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine), and decreased reduced glutathione and urinary NAC (N-acetylcysteine) to identify oxidative stress.
Note: If these were not tested in your annual bloodwork, you should have them done now.
Shifting Your Diet to Increase Your Antioxidants
If you suspect you are stuck in this vicious cycle, you can absolutely start by shifting your diet in a way that increases your antioxidants and decreases inflammation. Here are some quick tips: PLEASE click here TO CONTINUE READING THE ARTICLE.