The Role Glutathione Plays in Providing Energy and Maintaining Cellular Health
Gluthathione (GSH) is a crucial antioxidant that works by preventing damage to important cellular functions often caused by reactive oxygen compounds in the body. As a major antioxidant naturally produced by cells, GSH regulates the amounts of nitric oxides produced by the body and helps maintain essential vitamins in their natural forms. Every system in the body is affected by levels of glutathione in the cells including the nervous system, immune system, gastrointestinal system and cardiovascular system.
The Importance of Glutathione
Glutathione, our body's natural antioxidant is composed of small molecules of the amino acids cysteine, glutamate and glycene, all of which act together as building blocks to help maintain cellular activity. GSH is important for cell growth and division, as it reduces the amounts of oxides that can build up inside cells, damaging cellular structure. GSH is vital for the process of DNA and protein synthesis, as it replaces missing electrons and allows amino acids to move within and between cells. The movement of amino acids among cells increases cellular health and helps repair or replace cells that may have been damaged by disease.
One of the most important functions of glutathione is to help the body metabolize toxins and heavy metals from the body. GSH neutralizes heavy metals and causes toxins to become water soluble so they can be eliminated from the body. Research studies indicate that GSH is vital in strengthening and regulating the body's immune system by protecting it from harmful bacteria, viruses and deadly toxins. Increased levels of glutathione also fight the accumulation of cholesterol in the bloodstream, which can cause plaque to develop in the arteries, a known risk factor for heart disease.
The Importance of Adenosine Triphosphate
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a coenzyme used for intracellular energy transfer. ATP works by transporting or moving chemical energy within cells for purposes of metabolism and cellular division. As an essential energy source, ATP is continuously produced and recycled by the human body. It is referred to as the main energy source for most cellular functions including the synthesis of DNA and essential proteins in the body. The molecule is the primary energy source of the liver. ATP works by changing negatively-charged atoms into optimal levels of energy. Although ATP is only produced by our bodies in small amounts, it stores energy within cells and releases energy when needed, as during strenuous physical activity. Studies have shown that healthy nutrition increases the production and release of ATP, both of which help maintain healthy weight and prevent obesity.
Natural Sources of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP)
One of the primary sources of ATP production is eating foods rich in carbohydrates, such as pasta and rice. Our bodies break down carbohydrates into glucose, which is stored as glycogen in the muscles and tissues. Fat is a secondary fuel source for ATP production. Fats found in nuts, grains, fruits, vegetables and fish can be easily broken down and stored within our cells. Another major source of ATP production and functioning comes from the inhalation of oxygen. It has been shown that deep breathing helps maintain energy, reduces stress and helps increase ATP production.
Natural Sources of Glutathione
GSH can be found in fresh vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, parsley and beets. Spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and tumeric are also rich in GSH. Many foods lose their essential nutrients through cooking. There are many supplements available to increase glutathione levels including:
Methionone is an essential amino acid required for the production of cysteine. It is available in tablet or powder form in many health food stores and naturopathic pharmacies.
This supplement acts as an antioxidant by neutralizing toxins and certain heavy metals.
In its natural state, glutamine is an amino acid found in the blood, muscles, soft tissues and brain. It works as a primary nutrient for cells of the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and helps with liver function. Glutamine is also important for immune system health. In addition to supplements, glutamine can be found in certain foods, especially fresh parsley, spinach and sushi.
Melatonin is an essential hormone necessary to regulate and maintain healthy sleep patterns. The hormone is naturally released into the bloodstream during sleeping hours and gradually dissipates with the onset of light. Melatonin has been shown to increase glutathione levels in the brain, liver, muscles and blood.
Available in supplements, milk thistle stimulates and regulates growth and repair of damaged liver cells, often caused by disease or cancer.
One of the essential amino acids responsible for production of glutathione, cysteine is available in supplements and fresh food including fruits, vegetables, eggs and meats.
In addition to supplements, it is important to maintain a balance between the essential minerals copper and zinc. Research studies indicate that imbalances between these two minerals can cause autism, hyperactivity, anxiety and depression.
In addition to supplements and minerals, vitamins are also important in maintaining cellular health. Magnesium, folate and regular doses of Vitamins A, C, E, D, B6 and B12 have been shown to increase the production of GSH and ATP.
The Relationship between Glutathione and Adenosine Triphosphate for Promoting Cellular Activities Glutathione and adenosine triphosphate work together to build cellular health, as well as replacing and repairing damaged cells and preventing the development of several diseases and conditions associated with the aging process. Low levels of GSH and ATP can lead to neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, depression, premature aging and death.