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Foods that Increase Glutathione Levels in the Body

August 05, 2020 9 min read

Nature's Gift of Longevity with Health

Topics in this article include:

Master Antioxidant & Detoxification Specialist – The Role of Glutathione in the Body

The Effects of Heat, Storage, and Stomach Acids on Glutathione Containing Foods

Physical Longevity & the Effects of Toxicity on Glutathione

Are Glutathione Supplements or Glutathione Supportive Foods Your Best Sources?

Glutathione Containing Foods and Food Sources of Glutathione Precursors

Master Antioxidant & Detoxification Specialist – The Role of Glutathione in the Body

"We've already found dozens of ways to live an extra decade or two - in good health. The easiest and surest way: Increase your body's supply of glutathione, a natural compound that is a tripeptide (combination of three amino acids)." - Dr. David Williams.

Glutathione is the body's master antioxidant and detoxifier. Foods that boost glutathione levels can help the body rid itself of heavy metals, chemicals and other toxic substances. Glutathione is central to immune system effectiveness. This same simple tripeptide is key to retaining youth and health overall.

Glutathione plays at least 15 fundamental roles in metabolic and biochemical reactions including:

1. as the body's master antioxidant, thus serving a central role in detoxification

2. DNA synthesis and repair

3. gene regulation

4. protein synthesis (involved in 1/3 of all proteins made in the body)

5. modulating (regulating) proper immune response

6. regulating apoptosis (the disintegration of dysfunctional cells)

7. increases lymphocyte presence (T cells, B cells, and Natural Killer Cells) while improving their effectiveness

8. assists in the detoxification of the lungs, thus improving respiratory conditions, especially in cases of lung toxicity (mold, smoking, asbestos, coal mining, etc.)

9. supports redox balance (electron transfer that increases or decreases oxygen in chemical reactions), thus reducing reactive oxygen species (ROS)

10. helps maintain other antioxidants like Vitamin C and E in their active forms

11. supports amino acid transport and enzyme activation 

12. prostaglandin synthesis (controls vascular smooth muscle constriction or dilation and many other vital functions)

13. assists in the detoxification of the small intestines, thus improving digestion

14. assists in the protection of the nervous system, thus the prevention or improvement of neurological disorders

15. assists in the removal of toxins in fat before being incorporated into bile (your fat emulsifier) 

Thus, every system in the body can be affected by the presence of glutathione in the body, especially the immune system, the gastrointestinal system, the nervous system, and the lungs.

The Effects of Heat, Storage, and Stomach Acids on Glutathione Containing Foods

Both heat and long term storage reduce the quantity of viable glutathione in the food source. Thus maximum benefits are derived from consuming glutathione containing foods in their raw state. 

Several raw fruits and vegetables support the production of glutathione or contain glutathione (listed below).

Raw dairy whey made at home from raw, organic, grass-fed milk offer strong support for glutathione production by boosting cysteine, one of the three amino acids responsible for the construction of the tripeptide (three amino acid) glutathione.

Raw eggs & raw meat contain viable amounts of glutathione, yet strongly acidic digestive juices required to breakdown these challenging foods diminish some of its usability in the body.

Raw liver, even from organic grass-fed cows, commonly recommended, is not a good source of the glutathione precursor, selenium, due to the levels of toxins still remaining in the liver consumed by the animals from simple grazing beneath polluted skies. Toxins deplete the quantity of glutathione in the body.

Vegetable sources of glutathione and its precursors (discussed below) provide a superior alternative to the animal supplies of glutathione and its precursors.

Fresh human breast milk is high in glutathione also, yet this diminishes rapidly if the milk is left out on the counter for later use, frozen, or refrigerated, losing as much as 70-80% of its original content. Cooked, pasteurized and processed foods contain little to no viable glutathione. (Ankrah NA et al. J Trop Pediatr. 2000 Apr;46(2):111-3)

It is important to note that microwaved food has little to no nutrition in it at all, as the microwaving converts the food and drink into toxic compounds. This includes water, coffee, and of course, breast milk.

Physical Longevity from Glutathione & the Effects of Toxicity on Glutathione

In animal experiments, increased glutathione consumption increased longevity by about 40%.

The more toxic the body is, however, the faster glutathione levels in the body are used up.

As an example, in experimental animals, liver glutathione levels were reduced 70 to 80% after administering acetaminophen (Tylenol/Paracetamol). The study associated the rapid and long term depletion of glutathione from Tylenol intake with increased aging and susceptibility to disease:

The results support the hypothesis that a decrease in GSH [glutathione] and mixed function oxidases [enzymatic pathways involved in the metabolism of fatty acids and numerous hormones] may contribute to changes associated with aging as well as to the increased susceptibility to disease and drugs which occur with advanced age.

One mechanism for how chemical toxins in the liver can result in liver failure was described in another study:

The toxicity is initiated by the formation of a reactive metabolite, which depletes glutathione and binds to cellular proteins, especially in mitochondria... The mitochondrial dysfunction and nuclear DNA damage ultimately cause oncotic [within the capillaries] necrotic cell death with release of damage-associated molecular patterns that trigger a sterile inflammatory response. Current evidence supports the hypothesis that innate immune cells do not contribute to injury but are involved in cell debris removal and regeneration. 

Similar conclusions between toxins and glutathione depletion can be drawn regarding other pharmaceutical drug-based therapies (the vast majority of which are derived from toxic petroleum compounds), as well as other forms of toxic exposures from the home, work, diet, and environment.

Therefore, if you have ever been exposed to the following you need to pay very close attention to consuming glutathione supportive foods on a daily basis:

a. prescription drugs, radiation-based diagnostic or therapy measures

b. immunization shots

c. antibiotics

d. over the counter drugs

e. microwaved food, water, or beverages (converts all to toxins)

e. still have, or had, silver-mercury amalgam fillings in your mouth

f. have been exposed to house or farm use herbicides, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or chemical cleaning fluids

g. have used non-organic cosmetics, shampoos, lotions, sunscreens, or toothpastes (the ones with poison control warnings on the label!)

h. have been exposed to work related chemicals or radiation

i. have been in the military

j. have lived near nuclear power plants, munitions manufacturing plants, chemical manufacturing plants, oil refinery plants, electrical power generating plants, or toxic waste disposal sites

k. have lived in a moldy home, or exposed to workplace or yard mold 

l. have lived, or work, or attended school near a cell phone tower or an airport

m. have WIFI in your home or are subjected to broadcasts from your neighbors

n. have a Smart Meter on your home or workplace

o. spend time on a cell phone or cordless phone

p. have a Smart TV, Smart appliances/light bulbs, or are being exposed to harmful scalar waves by other means

Are Glutathione Supplements or Glutathione Supportive Foods Your Best Sources?

A steady, daily intake of glutathione supportive foods is the best way to maintain high levels of glutathione in the body and thereby chip away at the stockpile of toxins that have accumulated over the years (and continue to take in on a daily basis).

Food sources that increase glutathione do so by providing ready-made glutathione or its precursor building blocks (selenium, sulfur, alpha lipoic acid, vitamin C&E, folate, carnosic acid, etc.). 

You cannot readily increase glutathione levels in the body with supplemental pill-forms of glutathione - so save your money. Glutathione supplements do not survive the digestive juices very well.

Whole foods are your better sources as they will also contain numerous supportive phytonutrients, many of which nutritional science will know little to nothing of today, and will not be contained in the supplements of glutathione or its precursor supplements.

Sea vegetables contain all of these precursors and in a much more readily available form.

Nature, in the form of whole foods, has this part taken care of, so herbs, sea vegetables, and whole foods will be your best sources of this valuable resource, yet must be eaten raw to obtain the most benefit. 

Edible forms of glutathione within foods do not survive the heat from cooking very well.

Foods that are high in glutathione precursors and therefore help boost glutathione levels naturally are best when eaten raw (as in raw asparagus or a spinach salad), or fermented (like in sauerkraut or whey).

Cooking, pasteurization, and microwaving food destroys the delicate glutathione molecules.

Glutathione in raw foods will also be diminished somewhat by the body's own digestive juices, though common sense indicates that if glutathione is broken down in the body to its three amino acid constructs, then reassembled in the liver back into glutathione, benefits will still be derived from consuming these glutathione-rich food sources in their raw form. 

The reason that the pill-form of glutathione doesn't work is primarily because glutathione is manufactured inside the cell, or within the liver, from its three precursor amino acids, glycine, glutamic acid, and cysteine (which can sometimes be toxic or unreliable in quality in the supplemental form).

So food sources that provide these three amino acids, their precursor components, or support their construction in the body, are the most efficient way to improve glutathione levels in the body.

Glutathione Containing Foods and Food Sources of Glutathione Precursors

  1. Raw goat or A2 cow whey, cultured at home, (by simply leaving it out on the counter until the curds and whey separate, or adding Sacred Clay to accelerate the separation of curds & whey in one to three days depending on room temperature) is one of the highest known sources of glutathione precursor cysteine, and is readily absorbed. The dry powder of un-denatured raw whey protein is an acceptable option as long as it comes from antibiotic and hormone free, grass fed animals.

  2. Raw milk (should be hormone and antibiotic free) will also contain cysteine, although the whey itself is the form that is most easily assimilated. The whey must be unpasteurized, made from the raw milk to be an effective glutathione producer.

  3. Milk thistle seed helps to prevent glutathione depletion in the liver. It is also a natural liver detoxifier and liver protectant.

  4. Watermelon is one of the greater sources of plant based glutathione, while showing tremendous benefits in the regulation of blood sugar levels in diabetics. Dr. Douglas Graham, author of the 80-10-10 diet program is one of watermelon's greatest promoters for this and its numerous other benefits.

  5. Asparagus and avocado consumed raw are commonly reported as the two highest plant-based sources of glutathione.

  6. Raw okra is also naturally high and assists in the elimination of the mucoid plaque in the small intestines.

  7. Raw spinach, tomatoes, and rice bran, high in Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) promote the synthesis of glutathione in the body. Spinach also contains a high amount of bioavailable glutathione.

  8. Several spices found in Indian curry including turmeric, cinnamon, and cardamom contain glutathione.

  9. Rosemary contains carnosic acid which supports glutathione synthesis which is shown to be behind its antioxidant, metal chelation, and anti-inflammatory properties.

  10. The sulfur containing vegetables (kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, garlic, cauliflower, bok choy, watercress, mustard, horseradish, turnips, rutabagas, kohlrabi) assist in the making of glutathione in the body (glutathione is a sulfur containing molecule).

  11. Sacred Clay also contains sulfur, along with a balance of iron, silica, and other minerals that support glutathione usage in the body.

  12. A functional ileum (at the end of your small intestine) manufactures methylation nutrients like vitamins B6, B9, B12, and biotin that support glutathione production.

  13. Pink Sulfur Salt (Black Salt) contain sulfur and minerals important for glutathione production.

  14. Herbal C and fruits containing vitamin C or the oligomeric proanthocyanidins or anthocyanidins found in bilberry, grape seeds & skin, grape seed extract, cocoa, cinnamon, pine needles, blueberries, cranberries, hawthorn berries, rosehip, and sea buckthorn berries, relieve the strain on the liver's use of glutathione by providing their antioxidant powers in the liver's defense. 

  15. Peaches are also among the many fruits containing glutathione.

  16. Red beets provide a potent antioxidant in its betalain pigments thus relieving the strain on glutathione levels. Red beets also provide support for nitric oxide in the body, the loss of which is implicated in blood pressure imbalances.

  17. Aloe vera supports the increased presence of glutathione through its antioxidant properties.

  18. Rhodiola rosea and other adaptogens in Adaptogen & Mushroom Blend or Kidney & Adrenal Builder or Revitalize for Men / Women protect glutathione levels in the body through their potent antioxidant properties.

  19. Brazil nuts - the highest natural source of selenium. Selenium is a co-factor for the enzyme glutathione peroxidase. (1-2 Brazil nuts per week. Keep it minimal due to the way nuts also feed the herpes strain of viruses).

  20. Legumes are also high in selenium and thereby support glutathione production.

  21. The most valuable and effective glutathione promoters are sea vegetables. Most of them contain glutathione in addition to additional compounds that support its production at the cellular level. Sea vegetables also contain protein, amino acids, minerals, electrolytes, and numerous phyto nutritional compounds that boost immune response and assist in hormone production, among many other benefits to the human body. (Glutathione Related Disorders: Do Seaweeds have Potential for Cure).

  22. Sea Vegetable Blend combines several seaweeds and algae along with moringa, all of which exist as some of Nature's most dense nutritives and glutathione promoters.

Glutathione supportive foods are Nature's way of giving us long lives with health and vitality! 

Enjoy the simple gifts from Nature!

Michael King
Michael King

Michael King is a Life Enrichment Consultant, a natural intuitive, a researcher of Nature's most powerful healing resources the world over, the author of "Detoxify, Nourish & Build – Three Essentials for Vibrant Health", the Vital Health News Updates – a periodic newsletter documenting the most life-building natural resources on the planet, and the co-author of Life Chats with Oversoul – an ongoing dialogue designed to gain clarity and direction while navigating the immense changes going into the New Era. Michael is also an advocate of sustainable gardening, environmental responsibility, and an architect of ways to increase global food production.

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