Oxidative stress is one of the primary causes of conditions related to aging. The link between stress and aging is real. Stress is linked to not just outward signs of aging but also cataracts, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and atherosclerosis. It stresses the immune system, creating more free radicals than the immune system can handle.
Free Radicals and Environmental Stress
When you’re combating the negative health effects of free radicals, it’s best handled from the inside out. By this I mean consuming a low-sugar diet. However, we also must pay attention to environmental pollution. This is a harder challenge.
One of the most important defenses against environmental toxins is glutathione peroxidase, also called glutathione.
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione is manufactured in the liver, and is often referred to as the most powerful antioxidant in the body. According to a 2003 article in Redox Report: Communications in Free Radical Research, glutathione not only instantly neutralizes free radicals, it provides a way for the body to detoxify chemicals in pollutants, like fuel exhaust and cigarette smoke. Glutathione is also a powerful detoxifier of heavy metals, a known cause of free radical activity.
In other words, glutathione provides a powerful one-two punch against aging by helping to reduce the damage from free radicals and helping to eliminate toxins from the body.
Aging is associated with significant declines in glutathione. In addition, glutathione is depleted by many drugs, including acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Due to increased demands by the environment, it can be used up about as fast as our bodies can make it, so we are often in a state of glutathione depletion.
So, what can you do to build up your glutathione levels?
Glutathione itself cannot be absorbed via the digestive tract, so it cannot be taken in supplement form. However, cysteine is an amino acid that the body uses to make glutathione, and cysteine you CAN get from some foods. Most animal proteins, especially whey protein isolates, and eggs provide you with cysteine.
In making sure you’re optimizing your health, while putting a lid on oxidative stress and free radical damage, once again it’s protein to the rescue. Repair and recovery are protein’s essential roles. Make sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet so you keep your immune system healthy and able to handle those free radicals.
If you feel stuck and need additional support to adopt a new healthy habit or routine, consider working with me. We can partner up in setting goals, drawing on your skills and strengths, and implementing strategies to help you find your way to lasting healthy success.
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For over 15 years, Shelli has been a freelance writer and wellness habit coach on Joyinmovement. She writes about brain fitness, creating a healthy lifestyle, traveling the world, and making positive habits stick. Stop procrastinating! Take action, join her free newsletter.