How to Make More Glutathione For Liver Health? You Might Need Selenium!
Glutathione is a vital antioxidant found in every single cell of the human body. It is a tripeptide consisting of three amino acids; cysteine, glutamate, and glycine, and plays a crucial role in protecting cells and tissues from oxidative damage. Glutathione is an antioxidant that is found in plants, animals, fungi and even some bacteria. It has the ability to prevent damage from reactive oxygen species (ROS), free radicals, peroxides, lipid peroxides and heavy metals to cells. It is also a storage form of cysteine and nitric oxide (as well as transporter) and metabolizes estrogens, leukotrienes and prostaglandins. It can help mitigate health concerns including accelerated aging, chronic diseases such as cancer, and autoimmune disorders.
Glutathione is often referred to as the body's "master antioxidant" and is responsible for recycling other important antioxidants such as vitamin C and E. Moreover, glutathione levels have been linked to overall health, immunity, and longevity. Therefore, it is important to maintain adequate levels of glutathione through a balanced diet and lifestyle or through supplements if necessary.
The Impact of Glutathione Deficiency
Known as the body's "master antioxidant," Glutathione plays a critical role in defending our bodies against oxidative stress and damage. When there's not enough glutathione in our cells, toxins aren't eliminated properly, and our immune system may be compromised. This can result in various health issues, such as liver damage, neurodegenerative diseases, and even cancer. Optimal levels of glutathione are crucial for protecting our bodies from chronic illnesses and promoting overall wellbeing. To maintain these levels, it's important to follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and consider supplementation if necessary.
Symptoms of a glutathione deficiency include:
- Joint and muscle aches
- Brain fog
- Low immunity
- Poor sleep
- Metabolic acidosis (build-up of too much acid in the body)
- Frequent infections
- Seizures, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease
- Liver disease
- Heart attack and stroke
Understanding the Forms of Glutathione
There are 2 forms of glutathione: GSH and GSSG. Glutathione can be found in an oxidized form and a reduced form, but the reduced form is the only one that has antioxidant activity. Once it is used by the body it is considered oxidized and needs to be recycled back into its reduced form before being transformed again. The oxidized form is just recognized as GSSG (glutathione disulfide) and the reduced form (GSH) is straight up glutathione.
However, the function of GSH is not standalone. It relies on an enzyme named glutathione peroxidase to facilitate its role in reducing free radicals. This enzyme acts as a catalyst in the conversion process, ensuring the continuous availability of the reduced form of glutathione. Without this enzyme, GSH would not be able to perform its crucial role in maintaining the body's oxidative balance. This underlines the interconnected nature of our body's biochemical processes and the importance of each component in supporting overall health.
The Role of Selenium in Antioxidant Defense
Selenium is a vital mineral that plays a crucial role in maintaining our health. When bound to the amino acid cysteine, it produces selenoproteins that provide antioxidant defense. Humans have 25 selenoproteins that have a primary function of facilitating redox regulation and antioxidant activity. Among them, glutathione peroxidase (GPx) stands out as it helps mitigate the harmful effects of ROS and inactivates hydrogen and lipid peroxides. The primary function of selenoproteins is to safeguard against oxidative damage and assist in restoring balance to a stressed-out system. By consuming adequate amounts of selenium, we can fortify our bodies against the effects of oxidative stress and keep our systems in optimal condition.
Identifying and Addressing Selenium Deficiency
If you're looking to maintain a healthy body, then you probably already know that consuming essential nutrients like selenium is essential. But how can you tell if you're deficient in selenium and what steps can you take to avoid it? Although selenium can be found in food like seafood, nuts, and seeds, it's important to remember that modern food production methods and pollution have led to a decline in the quality of our food. As a result, more and more people are turning to selenium supplements to meet their needs. By doing so, you can make sure that your body receives the selenium it needs to help maintain healthy functions like thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis, and immune system support.
You may think that selenium deficiency is rare based on a quick Google search, but common symptoms of selenium deficiency include:
- Thyroid issues like hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Hashimotos
- Fertility issues in both men and women
- Hair loss
- Brain fog
- Muscle weakness
- Low immune system
- Weak adrenal activity
- High or low blood pressure
- Detoxification issue
Over 5% of Americans, or nearly 1 in 20, have some form of thyroid condition. Additionally, approximately 1 in 6 people worldwide experience infertility, and 1 in 10 Americans grapple with liver disease, often stemming from subpar detoxification. Furthermore, one-third of American adults contend with allergies. These alarming statistics suggest that the prevalence of these conditions is not a mere coincidence; it is an epidemic.
How to Test for Selenium Deficiency
If you're looking for a detailed and effective way to test for selenium levels, then the Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) is definitely worth considering. HTMA is a non-invasive and accurate testing method that can help give you a clearer picture of your mineral levels, including how much selenium you have in your body. This test analyzes your hair tissue to determine if you have any deficiencies or imbalances in your minerals, which can then help you to make the necessary adjustments to improve your overall health. Many health practitioners trust HTMA as a reliable testing method, and it's definitely a great option to explore if you want to learn more about your selenium levels.
It's no secret that proper nutrition is critical to our overall health and wellbeing. However, measuring nutrient levels in the body can present certain challenges. When it comes to selenium, an essential mineral that plays a critical role in many bodily processes, measuring serum levels alone may not give us the most accurate picture. That's because selenium is an intracellular mineral, meaning that it resides inside cells and can only be measured through tissue concentrations. While blood does transport selenium, the body often tightly regulates how much is in circulation to maintain balance. This is where an HTMA can be especially beneficial. By analyzing trace amounts of selenium and other minerals in hair samples, an HTMA can provide a more comprehensive view of nutrient status and guide targeted interventions to optimize overall health.
If you're experiencing detox issues, suspect sensitivity to ROS, pollution, or have symptoms of selenium deficiency, don't hesitate to order an HTMA kit with us here today. Our nutritionists will be available for a consult to assist you in interpreting the results. Feel free to reach out!
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Practitioner
Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner
Integrative Health Coach