Updated: Oct 12, 2020
Did you see our recent post about deficient levels of endogenous glutathione possibly being one of the most important predictors of serious manifestations and deaths in COVID-19 patients? If you missed it, have no fear, you can see it here.
At this point we’ve all heard that COVID is particularly dangerous for those with pre-existing medical conditions. Having high blood pressure and/or diabetes definitely puts a person in the high-risk group. Both diabetics and people with high blood pressure are known to have reduced levels of glutathione in their bodies.
When a person is sick a higher than normal level of inflammation is almost always occurring. Diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, excess stress, they all are associated with excess inflammation. This increased inflammation is almost always accompanied by increased an increased level of free radicals. Are you familiar with free radicals? Free radicals are oxygen-containing molecules that don’t have enough electrons (technically, unpaired electrons). This lack of electrons causes the free radicals to try and steal electrons from other molecules. High levels of free radicals can set off large damaging chain reactions in a person’s body by stealing too many electrons from healthy tissue at once. This is called oxidation.
Here’s where the antioxidants come into play...antioxidants have extra electrons. They are electron donors, and as such can prevent excess oxidation, but only when there are adequate levels of antioxidants in the body. As mentioned, some things like diabetes and high blood pressure cause people to have depleted levels of antioxidants. Now throw in a COVID infection with the massive amount of inflammation it causes, and you now have a recipe for disaster.
Glutathione is the Grand-Pappy-du Plenty of antioxidants. There are many health benefits
of this antioxidant. When there is an oxidation storm brewing glutathione can be very helpful. You can- and should- eat foods that contain glutathione, like spinach, okra, avocados, and asparagus. However, dietary glutathione is poorly absorbed. Supplements are another way to boost glutathione levels. Some people use a liposomal form of glutathione to try and enhance absorption. Personally, I like the watermelon flavored variety. Another way to boost glutathione levels is to use N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC). NAC is particularly helpful when the body is being stressed by too many free radicals.
Good old multi-functional vitamin C can also help keep glutathione levels up. I’m sure you’ve heard how vitamin C is being studied for the treatment of COVID, right? I think it’s somewhat amusing that what is now being touted as “high dose” vitamin C by the conventional medical world, is about half the dose of what naturopathic doctors call high dose vitamin C. I am glad to see that some non-toxic, non-pharmaceutical therapies are being used. I think that vitamin C is greatly underutilized, but that’s another article..
Kiwis are a great source of Vitamin C that acts as a powerful antioxidant to eliminate free radicals.
Glutathione can also be administered in an IV form. This is arguably the best way in an acute health crisis. I’ve been using IV glutathione for about 20 years now and have found it to be very useful in this form, especially when patients are in a crisis.
Almost lastly, you can significantly increase your glutathione levels simply by eating your vegetables. Some of you I know need to eat more- you know who you are. In particular, sulfur-containing vegetables such as those in the cruciferous family- broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and brussel sprouts are important. Onions and garlic can also boost glutathione levels. Turmeric root is also fantastic for increasing glutathione levels. Lately, I’ve been putting down a shot of kale, lime, green apple, celery, turmeric root juice in the morning. Sometimes with a shot of ginger to spice it up a notch.
The last piece of the puzzle: get some exercise. Not too intense, just go for a leisurely 30-minute walk. Try to get some good sleep too. A lack of exercise and poor sleep are sure-fire ways to shoot yourself in the foot as far as glutathione is considered. If you’re having trouble sleeping due to elevated stress levels resulting from COVID, the news, or the idea of your kids now being home schooling you might consider a little melatonin. While everyone knows that melatonin is good for sleep, many don’t know that it is a potent antioxidant, immune stimulator, and COVID-fighter.