NATURAL WELLNESS
Lemons

Vitamin C

What does it do?

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is required for the synthesis of collagen and certain neurotransmitters. It is involved in protein metabolism and is an antioxidant, limiting damage from free radicals. It also plays a role in immune function.

Dietary sources

Citrus fruits, bell peppers, strawberries, and broccoli are just some of the fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C. Eating these foods raw is best, because heat can reduce the amount of vitamin C present.

How much do I need?

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) set by the NIH is 75 milligrams of vitamin C a day for adult women and 90 milligrams for adult men. Women who are pregnant should get 85 milligrams of vitamin C daily, and those who are breastfeeding should get 120 milligrams daily.

How do I supplement

Find a supplement that contains at least the RDA of vitamin C for your age and sex. Our favorite vitamin C–rich drink is powder, which is formulated specifically to support healthy skin with 500 milligrams of vitamin C, plus the antioxidant vitamin E and other nutrients. If you’re just looking for a high dose, we recommend Me & Hue Vitamin C Powder (coming soon) .

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera: The Natural Healer

Aloe Vera: An Ancient Superfood

With so many so-called superfoods out there, the meaning of the word can become diluted. As more whole foods earn the moniker, consumers tend to get skeptical that it’s just another diet fad. However, it’s safe to say aloe vera is one of the original superfoods.

Aloe Vera Benefits: Vitamins, Minerals and More

Aloe vera is full of good stuff—75 active components to be exact. The naturally-occurring vitamins, minerals and amino acids in the plant are necessary for good health. To understand how aloe vera can be a disease-fighter, it’s best to understand what’s exactly inside the clear gel.

Vitamins

Aloe vera includes several necessary vitamins: A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12.

Vitamins A, C, and E are antioxidants and help fend off free radicals which can contribute to cancer, heart disease and other illnesses.

Vitamin AIntegral for a strong immune system and bone growth. It helps fight off viral or bacterial threats to the body.

Vitamin CA powerhouse vitamin that is believed to protect against cancer and cardiovascular problems. It also supports the immune system.

Vitamin EMay protect against heart disease while promoting a strong immune system.

Glutathione: What's it all about?

Glutathione: The Master Antioxidant

Glutathione is a Potent Antioxidant

Many people know the chef’s trick of sprinkling a little lemon juice over fruit to keep it from turning brown. Antioxidants are like that lemon juice. By consistently “sprinkling” your body with antioxidants like glutathione, you can prevent your body from “browning” or “oxidizing” which causes damage and aging of cells. Antioxidants are the “anti-agers” of the nutrient world, working to protect your body from free radicals, and the oxidative damage they cause.

Every time you eat, breathe, or move, your body uses fuel created from the food you eat to produce energy. But just as a car releases harmful byproducts as exhaust, so too does your own body’s energy-producing efforts produce a dangerous byproduct: free radicals.

Free radicals are highly reactive forms of oxygen that are missing an electron. When they come into contact with normal molecules, they steal an electron, damaging the healthy cell and its DNA.

In fact, some estimates show that your DNA takes 10,000 oxidative hits daily. Antioxidants work to counteract the damage caused by free radicals.

Glutathione is the “master” antioxidant, directly binding to oxidative compounds that damage cell membranes, DNA, and energy production. It directly neutralizes a wide range of oxidants, including superoxide, nitric oxide, carbon radicals, hydroperoxides, peroxynitrites, and lipid peroxides.

Glutathione offers the all-important antioxidant defense like few others can.

Glutathione and Detoxification

The role of glutathione in your body’s detoxification system is vital. But your natural processes sometimes need a boost from increased glutathione from your diet or supplements.

Here’s how the detoxification system works, in three phases.

During Phase 1 detoxification, all sorts of toxins and xenobiotics are partially processed by specialized proteins inside mitochondria called cytochromes.

Unfortunately, Phase 1 is an incomplete processing and can turn toxins into dangerous free radicals. These are not only damaging, but they can single handedly deplete glutathione, creating an imbalance between Phase 1 and Phase 2 activity.

In Phase 2 detoxification, various enzymes act directly on the toxins partially degraded and processed in Phase 1. These enzymes use glutathione to neutralize the toxins.

Phase 3 detoxification is the elimination of toxins and xenobiotics. Toxins are removed from your body, mainly by the kidneys (urine) and liver (bile).

Without glutathione, your body would not be able to neutralize and eliminate toxins effectively.

Glutathione and Energy

Energy production occurs within all cells (except red blood cells) via the mitochondria. Glutathione protects mitochondria from free radicals and the oxidative damage they cause. In this way, glutathione is paramount to energy production.

If mitochondria are damaged, they slow down and start to make less energy. The affected  “diseased” mitochondria leads to decreased bodily function and efficiency.

To make things worse, damaged mitochondria output more free radicals. In turn, these free radicals cause further mitochondrial damage and create a vicious cycle of less energy and more damage.

GSH binds these free radicals and relieves oxidative stress — not just on the mitochondria, but on the rest of the cell. Fab

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Stressed Woman
Image by Luke Michael

Glutathione and the Immune System

Glutathione helps your immune system stay strong and ready to fight infections. While vitamin C seems to get all the accolades when it comes to immunity, glutathione is the under-recognized supporting actor who deserves the starring role.

Research shows that active glutathione (GSH) primes white cells such as natural killer (NK) and T cells, your body’s front-line infection fighters. GSH-enhanced T cells are able to produce more infection-fighting substances, controlling both bacterial and viral infections.

One clinical trial in particular found that GSH doubled NK cells’ ability to be cytotoxic (kill invaders) after just six months of use. Glutathione actually has a potent antibacterial effect as it helps the immune cells called macrophages fight the bacterium that causes tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

In another study, researchers found that GSH modulates the behavior of many immune system cells, affecting adaptive immunity and protecting against microbial, viral and parasitic infections.

There are many chronic infections such as EBV, hepatitis, herpes viruses and Lyme, to name a few, which can deregulate and suppress the immune system. Glutathione can modulate and reverse this suppression. 

 

Glutathione and Athletic Performance

Glutathione can boost athletic performance when used before workouts. Best of all, you don’t have to be an ultramarathoner or a bodybuilder. Anyone from the average runner to the weekend warrior can benefit from this exercise enhancer.

In a study of eight men receiving 1,000 milligrams of glutathione before exercise, the glutathione group performed better, felt less fatigued, and had lower blood lactic acid levels than the placebo controlled group.

This is key, since increased lactic acid in the body can result in fatigue, low blood pressure, muscle aches, a drop in body temperature, and respiratory problems.

Glutathione and Autism

Low levels of glutathione are a common finding in autism, among other biomarkers. Promising new research shows that liposomal and transdermal glutathione might help raise levels of GSH in plasma in children with autism.  Some evidence suggests that glutathione support may improve function in autism, but double blinded large scale studies are needed to scientifically support this.

11. Glutathione and Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD)

Glutathione supplementation has been linked with reduced symptoms of peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Since PVD affects 10% of Americans, glutathione offers a much needed solution to this circulatory system disease.

PVD occurs when narrowed blood vessels do not supply enough blood supply to muscles when needed — most often muscles in the legs. Fatigue and pain with walking are hallmark symptoms of PVD.

In a double blind study, 40 PVD patients were given IV infusions of either GSH glutathione or placebo, twice a day. The patients receiving GSH were able to walk pain-free much further than the patients receiving placebo injections.

IV clinics which offer glutathione injections, are gaining in popularity. However, these aren’t quite mainstream yet. The extra work of finding such a clinic may be a worthwhile pursuit for those afflicted by PVD.

Glutathione for COPD

Low serum glutathione seems to lead to abnormalities in the lungs. Preliminary research suggests a clear link between low glutathione and occurence of COPD.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death in the United States. As damage from smoking or even pollution accumulates to the respiratory tract and the lungs, oxygen and carbon dioxide (CO2) exchange suffers, making it difficult to breathe.

Low glutathione levels have been linked to abnormalities in the lining of the lungs, which can lead to COPD. Having normal glutathione levels protects lung tissue from free radical damage, such as inflammation.

Additionally, animal studies found that intravenous glutathione supplementation maintained normal lung function, when exposed to otherwise toxic levels of oxygen. It also increased lung compliance, decreased swelling, and increased lung tissue.

Researchers concluded that glutathione supplementation promotes normal airflow and lung tissue, as well as lowering the risk of “oxygen-induced lung injury.”

Glutathione: For Healthy Skin

Whether concerned with acne, wrinkles, dryness, eczema, or puffy eyes, many are seeking flawless, youthful skin. Science says that glutathione is an effective answer.

Fortunately, you don’t have to empty your wallet to restore the youth and health of your skin. You can solve the problem from the inside out. Cells can heal and regenerate themselves, thanks to glutathione.

Glutathione not only decreases the melanin (pigmentation) in your skin, but has also been found to decrease wrinkles and increase skin elasticity.

Glutathione works on the skin pigment production by inhibiting tyrosinase, an enzyme involved in making melanin.

In one study, both GSH and GSSG achieved a skin lightening effect — though it takes a few weeks to develop. The effect on pigmentation is transient, so you would need to continue using glutathione to maintain the skin-whitening effect.

scientific review of multiple studies confirmed that the use of glutathione results in skin lightening.

Glutathione has also been shown to decrease psoriasis. The glutathione levels in this clinical trial were increased by consumption of whey protein, which contains glutamylcysteine, a precursor to GSH.

The same studies also show that glutathione doesn’t just lighten skin, but it improves skin elasticity and decreases wrinkles.

Glutathione and Brain Health

How do low levels of glutathione affect brain and mental health? There is a clear link between low glutathione levels and decreased brain health.

As we age, it’s not uncommon to experience a bit of forgetfulness or difficulty concentrating. These are just two examples of neurodegeneration, a process by which the neurons in our brains become damaged and may even die.

This leaves us with “shrinking” brains that don’t function to their full capacity. While this process is unavoidable as we age, it can be slowed, or even reversed, and glutathione (GSH) plays an important role.

Accelerated neurodegenerative diseases, like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s diseases  exhibit high levels of oxidative stress damage to the brain as well as low active glutathione (GSH) levels. GSH can ease and decrease the rate of damage to brain tissue.

While these results are promising, a 2017 study involving Alzheimer’s patients using intranasal GSH found that GSH and placebo had equally good results — after three months. Glutathione produced positive results. However, so did the placebo. 

Other neurological illnesses like Lyme disease weaken when your body experiences higher levels of glutathione.

 

Glutathione and Heart Health

The number one health related cause of death in the United States is still a heart attack.  A lesser known fact is that glutathione may prevent heart attack and other heart disease, thanks to its ability to neutralize the “lipid oxidation” (fat oxidation) process.

Virtually all heart disease starts with the accumulation of arterial plaque inside the artery walls. Bad cholesterol (LDL) is lipid oxidized and damages the lining of the blood vessels, forming a plaque (atherosclerosis).

When these plaques eventually rupture and break off, they can clog your blood vessels and block blood flow that causes heart attacks or strokes.

With the help of an enzyme called glutathione peroxidase, glutathione stops the superoxides, free radicals, hydrogen peroxides, lipid peroxides, and peroxynitrites that cause this lipid oxidation and wreak havoc on your health.

In this way, glutathione helps to prevent damage and lowers the risk of heart attacks.

In a study of 643 cardiac patients who underwent coronary angiography in Germany, those who died of heart attacks had much lower levels of glutathione peroxidase than those who survived.

If we don’t have enough glutathione to neutralize damage to our arteries, we are at increased risk of heart disease and cardiovascular events.

Glutathione Fights Inflammation

Does glutathione help with inflammation? As a matter of fact, glutathione is great at fighting chronic inflammation!

Inflammation has been a hot topic in the natural health world for the past decade; however, many people still don’t fully understand exactly why inflammation lies at the root of most of the health concerns plaguing Americans today.

 

High levels of inflammation are present in virtually every chronic illness, like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. However, inflammation is also healthy and necessary (in short bursts) to fight infectious invaders.

Injury can also incite an inflammatory response. Whether you are talking about trauma, infection, toxins, or allergies, your immune system answers the same.

First, the blood vessels in the injured area begin to expand and open wide to allow your body’s natural healing compounds to get the injured site as quickly as possible. Because of the increased blood flow, fluid and immune cells flood the area often in overwhelming amounts.

 

The inflammatory response comes to your rescue when it’s needed and cools itself off once the healing is complete. But we don’t live in an ideal world.

In the real world, environmental toxins, your diet, stress, and other lifestyle issues have disabled the checks and balances of this system and inflammation doesn’t subside and go away as it is meant to. As a result, many people suffer from chronic, systemic inflammation.

When this happens, you’re in trouble. You need a lot of extra protection. That’s where glutathione can help.

Glutathione (GSH) controls when inflammation increases or decreases as needed, by instructing and influencing our immune white cells. This is a completely separate mechanism from its antioxidant properties.

Rebalancing glutathione levels reduces chronic inflammation and restores immune function.

Image by Jannis Brandt
Dandelion Fields
Reaching Out to the Sun

Glutathione and Vitamin D

Vitamin D3 — the most active form of vitamin D has been a hot topic in medicine because it controls and modulates the immune system. And when glutathione levels are low, vitamin D3 doesn’t work as efficiently.

Initially thought to play a role in calcium metabolism and bone formation only, we now know that low vitamin D3 levels can increase your risk of:

  • Heart attack

  • Asthma

  • Diabetes

  • High blood pressure

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Decreased brain function

What happens to vitamin D with glutathione deficiency?

low vitamin D3 levels have been correlated with simultaneous glutathione deficiency.

Observing animals deficient in vitamin D3, researchers found that supplementing vitamin D3 and cysteine (a GSH precursor) restored glutathione levels, increased the bioavailability of vitamin D3, and lowered inflammation.

Researchers noted that the vitamin D supplements widely consumed by the public “are unlikely to be successful unless the GSH status is also corrected.”

In other words, simply taking vitamin D isn’t enough. You need to be sure you have adequate glutathione levels to make sure that your vitamin D3 is working as it should.