What is Glutathione? Maintaining neurological health is preventatively essential because the science of reversing neurological diseases is in its infancy stages. Although new studies suggest, it may be possible, striving to promote neurological health while you still have it is undoubtedly a better option.
Today we explore glutathione, an antioxidant that plays a crucial role in supporting neurological health and that may be the secret weapon to maintaining proper neurological function well into old age.
This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Charles Penick, MD
What is Neurological Health?
Neurological health is the wellbeing of the central and peripheral nervous system. It includes the brain, spinal cord, cranial nerves, peripheral nerves, nerve roots, autonomic nervous system, neuromuscular junction, and muscles 1.
Neurological damage can lead to an array of disorders, including 1-2
- Alzheimer disease
- Cerebrovascular diseases (including stroke, migraine, and other headache disorders)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Brain tumors
- Bell’s palsy
Many bacterial, fungal, and viral infections can also affect the nervous system. Symptoms can occur directly from the infection or due to an immunological response to the infection.
Neurological disorders affect millions of people worldwide 1. Over 10% of the world’s population experiences migraines, 6 million people die from strokes each year, over 50 million people have epilepsy, and over 47.5 million people worldwide have dementia 1.
The Current Science Surrounding Neurological Disorders
There is a consensus by medical professionals for a very long time has been that neurological damage is irreversible 3. In the past few years, researchers have been making immense progress in neurological health, and various studies and discoveries show promise that neurodegenerative and neurological disorders may be reversible.
One study conducted on fruit flies highlights discovering a new type of human immune cell that appears to prevent and reverse nerve damage in the optic nerve and spinal cord 4. Immunotherapies have also been explored that target the proteins linked with these neurological diseases, but since neurodegenerative disorders depend on the specific condition and the nature of the toxic protein accumulation, there is a long road ahead to find widespread solutions 5.
Although there are various advancements in neurological disorders, replicable and broad solutions are not yet available for most of these diseases. When it comes to health, and especially with debilitating and deteriorating illnesses like neurological disorders, time is of the essence. Therefore, it is clear that prevention is the best cure for neurological health and diseases.
Preventative Neurological Health
Although scientists used to believe that we were born with one set amount of neurons, and that’s it, the latest science shows that this is not true. Challenging brain activities have been shown to create new connections between nerve cells, which may help the brain generate new cells 6. This process helps develop neurological plasticity and can build up a reserve of new functional neurons.
The ideal mental stimulation is challenging and requires genuine thinking. Some examples include:
- Learning a new instrument
- Learning a new language
- Learning a new art, like pottery
- Playing a challenging number or word game, like sudoku or crossword puzzles.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are proteins that helps produce new brain cells and strengthen existing ones 7. The levels of BDNF naturally start to decline with age, but this process is heightened or slowed down based on lifestyle. Lower BDNF levels in both the brain and circulation have been observed in people with various neurodegenerative diseases 8.
Several studies demonstrate the neuroprotective effects of direct administration of BDNF into the brain in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease, inhibiting further loss of neurons 9.
You can boost BDNF through daily practices including 10-13
- High-quality deep sleep
- Exposure to sunlight
- Managing stress levels
- Spending time with other people and feeling part of a community
- Avoiding refined sugar
Metabolic changes caused by obesity are related to damage to the central nervous system, leading to neural death and altering the synaptic plasticity of the neuron 14. There is a strong correlation between obesity and various neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s 14.
Managing obesity as a preventative measure for neural degeneration should be a part of an overall holistic lifestyle that includes:
- Proper whole-food diet, full of good fats (like animal-based Omega 3’s), high-quality animal protein, and a variety of fiber-rich plants
- High-quality deep sleep
- Stress management
- Avoiding refined foods (sugars, flour, and vegetable oils)
- Time in nature and the sunshine
- Time with loved ones and community
You may have noticed that the list of tools to prevent or reverse obesity are the same as the tools used to boost BDNF!
Glutathione and Neurological Health
The secret weapon of neurological health is, without doubt, glutathione. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant found in every cell in the body. Glutathione is made in the liver and plays various functions in the body like making DNA, supporting immune and mitochondrial function, breaking down free radicals, transporting mercury out of the brain, and detoxification 15.
The benefits of glutathione are far-reaching and include: 15-18
- Antioxidants that fight free radicals
- Promotes detoxification in the body
- Preventing cancer progression
- Reducing cell damage in liver disease
- Improving insulin sensitivity
- Promoting colon, brain, gut, kidneys, and lung health
- Maintaining brain health and supporting neurodegenerative disease symptoms
Glutathione plays multiple roles within the central nervous system and in generating brain health. It is essential for the cellular detoxification of reactive oxygen species in brain cells 19. If it is compromised, the brain experiences oxidative stress, which can lead to neurological diseases 19.
People who have issues with glutathione metabolism often exhibit progressive neurological problems, so increasing brain glutathione levels may have profound therapeutic benefits 19.
Glutathione levels have also been associated with longevity, so whether your goal is to live a long life, maintain neurological health (or both!), supporting the body’s glutathione production is a must 20-21.
How to Boost Glutathione Production in the Body
The body can produce glutathione if it has the right building blocks. Glutathione is made up primarily of three amino acids: glutamine, glycine, and cysteine 15.
Foods that help provide the nutritional building blocks for the body to make glutathione include: 22- 25
- Sulfur-rich foods like garlic, asparagus, onion, and cruciferous vegetables like Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower
- Vitamin-C rich foods like bell peppers, papaya, strawberries, kiwis, and citrus
- Glutamine-rich foods like chicken, fish, and cabbage
- Glycine-rich foods like meat, fish, and bone broth
- Selenium-rich foods like organ meat, beef, fish, and brazil nuts
- Animal food sources, which are higher in cysteine and methionine like pork, beef, chicken, fish, eggs, or whey protein
Supplements that boost the body’s natural glutathione production include: 22-27
- Milk thistle
- N-acetyl cysteine
- Superoxide dismutase
- R-Lipoic acid (ALA)
- S-adenosyl-methionine (SAM-e)
Taking glutathione directly as a supplement is another way to increase the body’s glutathione levels. In this case, it’s essential to take a highly bio-available supplement that can cross the blood-brain barrier.
Boosting glutathione production is one side of the coin, and the other is preventing its loss in the first place. Although there are some inevitable things (like the fact we naturally produce less as we age), many aspects can be mitigated or entirely absolved through lifestyle.
Some lifestyle hacks to prevent the depletion of glutathione include:
- Reducing your exposure to toxins exposure
- Ditching the nutritionally poor diet in favor of a whole-food, nutrient-dense diet
- Addressing chronic disease and healing from lingering infections
- Reducing stress, especially chronic stress
Neurological health is the well-being of all aspects of the central and peripheral nervous systems in the body. Neurological disorders are on the rise and affect millions of people worldwide. Although scientific advancements are occurring, the consensus is that neurological damage is irreversible. Therefore preventative neurological health is paramount.
Some tools to promote neurological health include mental stimulation, managing obesity, promoting BDNF, and supporting the glutathione production pathway in the body. Glutathione is produced in the liver, and although this production depletes with age, it can be supported by consuming certain nutrients and supplements.
Medical Disclaimer: This article is based upon the opinions of Dr. Daniel Pompa. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Pompa and his associates. This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Charles Penick, MD for accuracy of the information provided, but Dr. Pompa encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.
Restoring Glutathione in the Brain
Your body craves antioxidants to help scavenge free radicals and protect your cells from damage. And one of the most powerful antioxidants on the planet is produced right inside your body. That’s right —glutathione battles oxidative stress and inflammation at the source and works hard to bind and remove toxins and cellular waste…
The bad news is your glutathione levels may become depleted over time…Poor diet, chronic disease, chronic stress, and infection all deplete glutathione levels. Levels are also known to decrease with age.
The good news is that you don’t have to settle for declining glutathione levels, which can increase the likelihood of several diseases! Protect your levels with GCEL from Systemic Formulas.
GCEL works by neutralizing free radicals to prevent damage —at a rate nearly 5,000 times stronger than vitamin C!
Plus, it contains critical B vitamins for multiple detox benefits!
And unlike other glutathione products, GCELcontains acetyl glutathione that works to raise both intracellular and extracellular glutathione while recycling oxidized or glutathione inside the cell.
GCEL was formulated specifically to help lower inflammation, boost immunity, assist in weight loss, and stop cellular aging in its tracks.
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