We Need Even More Glutathione As We Age — How To Raise Your Status
If you haven't heard about glutathione yet, let me be the first to explain the importance of the body's "master antioxidant." When it comes to neutralizing free radicals and maintaining oxidative balance, this sulfur-rich, powerhouse antioxidant is an absolute MVP for detoxification, longevity, and whole-body health.*
The problem? Our glutathione levels decrease significantly as we age, so we have to be more intentional about how we promote antioxidant activity later in life.*
Why our glutathione status changes as we age.
Glutathione has a number of incredible benefits for overall well-being, but its antioxidant actions are only effective when we have sufficient levels.* And while our bodies do produce glutathione endogenously (i.e., within the body), there are a number of factors that affect our ability to maintain sufficient levels—including diet, modern environmental toxin burden, lifestyle habits (e.g., smoking, lack of nutrient density), and even our age.
In a Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine 1study1 on healthy adults, researchers found that the glutathione levels in participants between the ages of 40 and 94 were 17% lower than subjects who were 20 to 39 years old. For an antioxidant that heavily affects healthy tissue and organ function, maintenance throughout life is vital for overall health.*
Though the status of the master antioxidant varies throughout the day for people of all ages, levels begin to decline more significantly between ages 45 and 50 when the cellular signals that promote glutathione synthesis become less efficient. Once individuals hit 60, the peaks and valleys of glutathione status are more pronounced—with those "valleys" making them more vulnerable to oxidative stress.* (Free radical oxidation is a daily phenomenon and balancing act, mind you).
How to promote healthy glutathione levels throughout life.
For a targeted approach that directly affects your glutathione levels, consider taking a high-quality supplement with the specific form of this master antioxidant that has been clinically shown to increase glutathione levels2 (like mbg's daily detox+).
You can also bolster this targeted approach by adding glutathione-supporting foods such as sulfur-rich Brassica veggies (e.g., broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kale), vitamin-C-rich fruits (e.g., guava, kiwi, and citrus fruits), and selenium-rich Brazil nuts to your diet to further promote sufficient glutathione levels.*
Lastly, nurturing your body's natural detoxification pathways (daily with intention) so your body can effectively clear modern environmental toxins is an excellent way to proactively buffer your glutathione stores from being depleted.*
The bottom line.
It's important for us to promote healthy levels of glutathione throughout our lives, but especially as we age.* Whether you're 21 or 95, implementing these changes in your diet, detox habits, and supplement ritual can help you maintain ample glutathione levels, support whole-body health, and optimize longevity.*
Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition. Chamberlain believes in taking small steps to improve your well-being—whether that means eating more plant-based foods, checking in with a therapist weekly, or spending quality time with your closest friends. When she isn’t typing away furiously at her keyboard, you can find her cooking in the kitchen, hanging outside, or doing a vinyasa flow.