Gluta-what? If you’re reading the title of this post and have no idea what I’m talking about, you’re not alone. In fact, many of my patients who I regularly inject with glutathione have trouble pronouncing the name – but most know at least one of the benefits of glutathione, it’s the body’s master antioxidant.
Sounds cool, right? Master antioxidant – one of the most effective means of fighting free radical damage, similar to how vitamin C and vitamin E work. If it’s the master antioxidant, how come you haven’t heard of it? Likely because it’s incredibly hard to stabilize glutathione in an oral capsule, so very few supplement companies manufacture it. But fear not, you can boost your levels of this crucially important compound, boosting fertility and also reducing your risk of chronic disease and vulnerability to toxins.
WHAT IS GLUTATHIONE?
Glutathione is a naturally produced molecule, made up of amino acids cysteine, glycine, and glutamine. Its primary action is to prevent cellular damage, and it does so by patrolling the cell for free radicals, quenching them, and stopping their damaging activity. It also plays other roles in the body, such as support for the detoxification pathways in the liver, enhancing DNA repair, supporting the immune system’s defenses against infections, and enhancing muscular recovery from exercise or trauma.
GLUTATHIONE & FERTILITY
Given all the roles that it plays, it’s not surprising that low glutathione levels are associated with accelerated aging – and by improving your glutathione levels you can help prevent some of the precursors to chronic disease and improve cellular quality all over the body. It also is no shock that glutathione is one of the most effective nutrients for enhancing fertility: egg cell and sperm cell quality are greatly enhanced by glutathione, resulting in better quality embryos and increased chances of a healthy pregnancy.
HOW TO BOOST GLUTATHIONE NATURALLY
Since oral glutathione is hard to find and tough to absorb, we have to bypass the simple recommendation of ‘take it in a pill!’ and be a bit more creative.
There are two main ways to boost glutathione in your system: get the precursor nutrients from your food, or receive glutathione intravenously.
1. In your food
As I mentioned above, glutathione is built of amino acids: cysteine, glycine, and glutamine. Luckily enough, our food provides the body with these nutrients in therapeutic amounts. The brassica veggies – broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts – along with garlic and onions (the allium veggies) contain these amino acids. Avocado and walnuts also have high levels. Eating these foods daily can help boost natural glutathione production.
Other food-based nutrients also help support glutathione status and activity – vitamins C, E, folate, B12, and B6 are necessary cofactor nutrients for glutathione production and recycling within the body (you get to use glutathione molecules over and over, as long as you can properly recycle them!). A plant-based diet (50% colourful veg and fruit) along with high-quality animal protein in the form of (grass-fed, pasture-raised) meat and eggs, and vegetarian protein from nuts/seeds/legumes provides these nutrients.
2. When you need more support
While boosting amino acids and cofactor nutrients in your foods is an excellent strategy for enhancing glutathione production and activity, some patients require more intensive doses. This is the case for women who have been termed ‘poor responders’ to IVF or have poor egg quality, both halves of couples who produce embryos with poor quality, men who have low morphology or motility, and anyone suffering from a chronic inflammatory condition. The best route of administration for glutathione is intravenous (through the vein), as it bypasses the digestive tract and ensures 100% absorption.
We have had great success using glutathione to boost egg and embryo quality in our fertility patients at Acubalance. The process is generally really well tolerated. Clinically, we find it takes 6-12 IVs with glutathione to make a significant difference in egg/sperm/embryo quality, and they are done on a weekly basis.
IV glutathione requires a prescription, and should only be administered by a doctor trained in IV micronutrient therapies. At Acubalance, both of our male and female fertility IVs feature a glutathione push, and I often recommend it to other patients for anti-aging, detoxification, and inflammatory support.