Progesterone: Benefits for Women During the Phases of Menopause

Menopause can be a disruptive phase of life for many women. Throughout menopause, many women can experience uncomfortable symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, vaginal dryness, mood disturbances, and hair loss.

 

While menopause can be unsettling, the good news is there are simple ways to address it. One of the simplest ways to slow hormonal decline during and after menopause is quality hormone therapy.

 

When hormones are out of balance, women’s health can suffer. Hormone therapy, such as progesterone replacement therapy, can address problematic vasomotor symptoms of menopause while significantly reducing the risk of menopausal bone loss.

 

Progesterone is often combined with other hormones to support a healthy balance in the body. Balanced hormones support the health of bones, teeth, brain, heart, eyes, skin, metabolism, and overall wellbeing. Additionally, progesterone helps the body equalize estradiol levels and keep them in check at the uterine lining.

 

Progesterone therapy can benefit menstruating women with low progesterone levels; perimenopausal and menopausal women requiring hormone replacement therapy; men with low hormone levels; or women and men with central nervous system conditions.

 

Progesterone can be prescribed in different forms including tablets, skin patches, vaginal creams, vaginal suppositories, or intrauterine devices. Studies support oral progesterone as an accessible alternative with limited complications.

 

If you are interested in learning more about progesterone, reach out to our qualified hormone professionals by visiting: https://sanavidawellness.square.site/

The Long-Term Effects Of Smoking: Can Quitting Reverse Them?

A burning tobacco cigarette releases smoke that’s filled with hundreds of toxic chemicals. When cigarette smoke is inhaled, it can lead to poor health and contribute to several health conditions. Keep reading to learn about the long-term effects of smoking and how quitting smoking can reverse many of these damaging effects.

What is smoking?

Conventional cigarettes are composed of rolled cigarette paper, shredded tobacco, and a filter. The tobacco plant contains over 2,000 chemicals including nicotine, a highly addictive substance. A lit cigarette releases thousands of chemicals, hundreds of which are toxic. When smoke from a lit cigarette is inhaled, these harmful chemicals enter the lungs and bloodstream, and can lead to unwanted health effects such as heart disease, cancers, and stroke. (17)

Did you know? Vaping refers to inhaling and exhaling an aerosol produced by an electronic cigarette that heats a liquid into vapour without burning or creating smoke. The vaping liquid and aerosol contain dozens of chemicals like glycerol, propylene glycol, and nicotine. (19) Although vaping may be helpful to some for quitting cigarette smoking, the long-term health effects of vaping are unknown. In teens, vaping may alter brain development, affect memory, and lead to addiction. (18)

What is secondhand smoke?

Secondhand smoke is smoke that’s emitted from the burning end of a cigarette or smoke that’s exhaled by somebody who is smoking a cigarette. Secondhand smoke contains hundreds of toxic chemicals, and can lead to the same unwanted health effects as smoking. (28)

Did you know? Non-hispanic black Americans, children between the ages of 3 to 11, individuals who live in multi-unit housing, and individuals who work in the service or construction industry are more likely than other groups to be exposed to secondhand smoke. (29)

What makes smoking addictive?

Nicotine is a chemical in tobacco that causes a psychoactive effect (chemical changes) in the brain that leads to an addiction similar in strength to heroin or cocaine. Nicotine is considered a reinforcing drug, which means that it’s often desired by users despite its dangerous effects, making it especially difficult to quit. (9) A small study examined the brains of 22 people who smoked and 21 people who never smoked using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. They determined that the brains of smokers were structurally different from the participants who had never smoked before. The smoking group had more cortical thinning in the left medial orbitofrontal cortex relative to the never-smoking group. These results may signify dysfunctions of the brain in areas involved with impulse control, reward, and decision making in the smoking group. (24)

long term effects of smoking

Nicotine is an addictive chemical that reaches the brain 10 to 20 seconds after it’s inhaled. (25)

 

What are the long-term effects of smoking?

When individuals smoke cigarettes or inhale secondhand smoke, they’re exposed to hundreds of toxic chemicals, including:

  • Benzene
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Formaldehyde
  • Hydrogen cyanide
  • Tar (17)

Smoking may contribute to over 24 diseases and conditions, reduce health status, and increase the risk of preventable death at any age. (14) It has been associated with the development of cancer in several areas of the body, cardiovascular illnesses such as stroke and heart disease, and lung and respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), (30) which is an inflammatory condition that obstructs airflow from the lungs. (4) Exposure to secondhand smoke is dangerous to people of all ages. In children, it can lead to ear infections, respiratory symptoms such as coughing and wheezing, bronchitis, pneumonia, and more severe asthma symptoms for children with the condition. Secondhand smoke may also interfere with the regulation of a baby’s breathing, making them at increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). (28)

1. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

The long-term effects of smoking on the lungs are damaging. Smoking is a leading cause of COPD, a respiratory condition characterized by chronic bronchitis (inflammation of the air passageways in the lungs) and emphysema (degeneration of lung tissue). Chemicals in tobacco irritate bronchial tubes which let air in and out of the lungs, and kill the hair-like structures inside bronchial tubes called cilia. Cilia are important for clearing the mucus from the lungs. The risk of dying from COPD (e.g., from heart failure) increases based on the number of years an individual smokes and the number of cigarettes they smoke per day. (11) Individuals with COPD may utilize drugs, surgery, or oxygen therapy to support the reduction of their COPD symptoms. Quitting smoking also reduces the dangerous health ramifications of COPD. (11) One study examined the effectiveness of smoking cessation in smoking patients with COPD and nocturnal oxygen desaturation. Nocturnal oxygen desaturation occurs when blood oxygen levels drop below regular levels during sleep and is a common symptom of COPD. Of the 145 patients included in the study, 51% of them successfully quit smoking with the assistance of counselling, and varenicline, a smoking cessation medication. Pulmonary function parameters were notably improved compared to patients who were unsuccessful in quitting smoking, suggesting an association between improved lung function for individuals with COPD and nocturnal oxygen desaturation, and smoking cessation. (27)

2. Coronary heart disease

Toxic chemicals emitted from burning tobacco cigarettes contribute to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and heart attack risk. Cardiovascular disease refers to several different conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels that can lead to atherosclerosis, such as coronary heart disease (CHD). CHD can lead to angina (chest pain), shortness of breath, and heart attack which occurs when heart blood vessels are being blocked or have narrowed, preventing proper blood flow to the heart. (15) Quitting reduces the risk of dangerous cardiovascular-related health effects of smoking. After one year without smoking, research suggests that individuals may reduce their risk of developing CHD by half, and after 15 years, their risk of developing CHD may be comparable to individuals who have never smoked. (15) A 20-year study that examined the risk of CHD in 6,547 women with type 2 diabetes who smoked regularly determined that cigarette smoking was strongly associated with an increased risk of CHD in this population and that quitting smoking significantly decreased these risks. (1)

3. Stroke

Toxic chemicals released from inhaling smoke from burning cigarettes can contribute to atherosclerosis, inflammation of the artery walls, and blood clots (leading to a stroke). (13) A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain is being blocked or an artery in the brain bursts, interrupting blood flow, resulting in brain injury. When the brain is starved of oxygen, it can cause loss of speech and sight and varying levels of paralysis. The risk of stroke has been shown to decrease by over 90% within two to five years after quitting smoking. (6)(34) A 2019 meta-analysis that included 14 studies and 303,134 participants examined the relationship between smoking and stroke. The study found not only an increased risk of stroke for smokers compared with nonsmokers but that the risk was dose-dependent. In other words, the risk of stroke increased by 12% with every “five cigarettes per day” increment. In addition, they observed a 45% increase in overall risk of stroke in those exposed to second-hand smoke (passive smoking). There was no association between individuals who used to smoke and stroke, suggesting that quitting smoking had a positive effect on the frequency of stroke. (26)

4. Cancer

Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke can contribute to the development of cancer in several areas of the body. (30) Chemicals found in tobacco smoke cause genetic changes in cells that can lead to the development of cancer. (12)

Did you know? The risk of developing lung cancer increases significantly based on the amount of cigarettes smoked per day, the levels of exposure to tobacco smoke, and the number of years an individual smokes. (12)

A 30-year study that included over 422,000 participants determined that smoking was positively associated with many different types of cancer including liver, bladder, pancreas, kidney, lung, larynx, middle ear, nasal cavity, sinus, pharynx, oral cavity, lip, and lymphatic system. Smoking was not significantly associated with skin, multiple myeloma, endometrial carcinoma, breast, and prostate cancers. (22)

5. Impotence

Smoking can affect hormones and lead to impotence in men. Impotence, also known as erectile dysfunction (ED), refers to the inability for a man to maintain an erection. (10) Toxic chemicals found in tobacco cigarettes can affect communication between the nervous system, the endocrine system (hormones), and the vascular system that pumps blood into muscle tissue in order to continue an erection, leading to impotence. Depending on the severity of damage that has been caused by smoking, men may be able to regain complete function following quitting smoking. (10) A 2015 systematic review determined that smoking was significantly associated with erectile dysfunction. (35) Erectile function requires nitric oxide (NO) production by penile endothelium. Endothelial cells line the inside of blood vessels and have several functions including producing nitric oxide (NO), a gas that helps dilate blood vessels to encourage blood flow. (2) Endothelial dysfunction is one mechanism that may lead to ED in men who smoke. Lastly, exposure to passive secondhand cigarette smoke can also negatively impact erectile function. (35)

6. Pregnancy complications

Smoking during pregnancy is dangerous to those who are pregnant and the developing baby. It can increase the risk of complications such as low birth weight, stillbirth, early birth, placental abruption, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and spontaneous abortion. (8) During pregnancy, nicotine and other chemicals are passed to the baby through the placenta, an organ that develops during pregnancy and passes nutrients to the baby from the pregnant person. Quitting smoking during pregnancy is beneficial for the health of both the developing baby and pregnant person and reduces the risk of health problems for the child. (8)

A study that examined the effect of different intensities of cigarette smoking on the birth weight of newborns demonstrated that in full-term babies, birth weight decreased as the number of cigarettes that were smoked per day increased, indicating a dose-dependent relationship. (23)

7. Female reproductive system

Toxic chemicals from smoking may negatively affect the female reproductive system, increasing the risk of:

  • Cervical cancer
  • Fertility problems
  • Having a baby with a low birth weight
  • Menstrual problems
  • Premature delivery (16)

Benefits of quitting smoking over time

Since nicotine is an addictive substance, it can be challenging for individuals to stop smoking. However, the short and long-term benefits of quitting smoking are significant, and quitting improves the health status of those who smoke and who are exposed to secondhand smoke. The following effects of quitting smoking are examples of how smoking cessation can offer immediate benefits and significant benefits over time. (7)(20)

long term effects of smoking quitting smoking timeline

Smoking cessation offers immediate and long-term health benefits.

 

Did you know? After quitting smoking, your sense of smell may return to normal and food begins to taste better. (7)

Smoking withdrawal

It’s not uncommon for smokers to have difficulty quitting smoking, especially the first time. Smokers become physically dependent on smoking (nicotine addiction) and withdrawal symptoms can be difficult to overcome. Withdrawal symptoms are more severe during the first week and months of quitting (for some, it can be longer), during periods of stress, and may include:

  • Cravings for nicotine
  • Decreased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Hunger
  • Headaches
  • Irritability and anxiety (9)

8 Tips for quitting smoking

Individuals who choose to quit smoking may find it helpful to create a plan for quitting. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have highlighted the following eight strategies for quitting smoking.

1. Pick a quit date

It’s helpful to pick a specific quit date that is convenient for you. Ensure that you have no other major commitments on that day so that you will be available to focus on quitting. Circle the date on a calendar as a reminder and to provide you with enough time to prepare and plan ahead. (3)

2. Let loved ones know you are quitting

It’s important to have support from family, friends, and loved ones during the quitting process. Let these people know that you plan to quit, when your quit date is, and how they can help you. (3) For example, you may choose to ask a friend or family member to be your point of contact if you need support during the quitting process.

3. Remove reminders of smoking

Removing reminders of smoking, such as ashtrays, cigarettes, lighters, and matches from your home, office, and, car, can help you stick to a quit plan. Cleaning your home and work spaces in order to remove the smell of smoke, which can trigger a craving for some, can also be helpful. (3)

4. Identify your reasons to quit smoking

Create a list of the personal reasons that are motivating you to quit smoking. For example, you may want to become healthier or save money. Keep your list in a place where you can easily see it every day, so you can be reminded regularly of your reasons for quitting. (3) Using a quit cost calculator can be encouraging and remind individuals of how much money they can save by quitting smoking. (21)

long term effects of smoking cigarettes

24 hours after quitting smoking, the risk of heart attack begins to decrease. (7)

 

5. Identify your smoking triggers

Certain people, smells, activities, and feelings can remind you of smoking. Create a list of triggers that make you feel like you want to smoke, and for each trigger, consider how you will work to avoid them. Similar to your list of motivations, it’s helpful to keep this list close by. (3)

6. Develop coping strategies

During the quitting process, particularly in the beginning, withdrawal symptoms can make it feel more difficult to stick to a quit plan. Coping strategies may be helpful and can include medications, nicotine replacements (e.g., gum, patch, nasal spray), meditation, and counseling. (3)(5) A study examined the effect of meditation on the reduction of smoking in regular smokers. Participants were randomly assigned to either a meditation or relaxation group. After two weeks of meditation, smoking was reduced by 60% in the meditation group. No reduction in smoking was observed in the relaxation control group. In the meditation group, areas of the brain related to self-control had increased activity based on brain scan results. These results suggest that meditation may reduce smoking and improve self-control. (32)

7. Identify resources for immediate help

During the quitting process and withdrawal period, it’s helpful to utilize support systems in your immediate social network and community. This could be a support group, family member, or close friend. You may also consider some of the following resources:

A study that examined the outcomes of smoking abstinence in 478 individuals with COPD over one year determined that a smoking cessation program may be beneficial for staying smoke-free over time. (31) The participants were split into two groups: the smoking cessation program group (the intervention group) and the group who received usual care (control group). The intervention group received two weeks of hospitalization, educational group sessions, phone check-ins for a full year, and nicotine replacement therapy. Physical exercise was also encouraged. After one year, 52% of participants in the intervention group were smoke free compared to 7% of participants in the control group. After three years, 38% of intervention group participants were smoke free compared to 10% in the control group. Quitting smoking is essential to preventing COPD from progressing (33) and smokers with COPD may benefit from additional support during the quitting process in order to remain smoke free long term. (31)

8. Set up rewards for quit milestones

Reward yourself each time you reach a particular milestone, such as one day, one week, one month without smoking, and so on. Rewards could include going to the movies with a friend, going out for a nice meal, or another enjoyable activity that doesn’t involve smoking.

The bottom line

Smoking cigarettes and inhaling secondhand smoke can lead to negative health outcomes that affect the lungs, heart, cause cancer, infertility, impotence, and other negative outcomes. When an individual quits smoking, their health improves quickly, and more significantly over time. By remaining smoke-free, it’s possible to reverse many of the negative health effects of smoking and decrease the risk of disease development caused by smoking. Smoking is addictive, and quitting smoking can be challenging as a result. The support of a counselor, specific coping strategies, and having people and places to turn to for immediate help are some of the tips that may help a smoking person be successful with the quitting process.

Menopause And Mental Health: What’s The Connection?

Menopause is a natural transition that occurs during a menstruating person’s life marked by the end of menstruation. It is associated with different physical and emotional changes, and for some, these changes can affect the quality of their mental health. Keep reading to learn more about the physical and emotional changes associated with menopause, and how to support your mental health during this important life stage.

What is menopause?
Menopause is a time in a menstruating person’s life when their menstrual cycle ends and their ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Menopause officially occurs one year after a person experiences their last menstrual cycle. Once a person reaches menopause, they are no longer able to become pregnant.

Perimenopause refers to the transition to menopause and a person’s last menstrual period. This transition can last two to eight years and usually begins during a menstruating person’s late forties. Perimenopause can last two to eight years and usually begins during a menstruating person’s late forties.

Menopausal symptoms
During perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause, an individual’s hormone levels are changing, and both mental and physical changes may occur.

Did you know? Menopausal hot flushes (or flashes) can be triggered by things like spicy food, alcohol, caffeine, a hot environment, or stress. Writing down and tracking your hot flushes helps to figure out what may trigger them for you, helping prevent them in the future.

During perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause, people may experience for the first time or worsening mental health issues. The physical symptoms and hormonal shifts of menopause may lead to mood changes and negatively affect mental health.

Just like with physical health, it’s important to look after our mental health. Mental health refers to a state of well-being and can be characterized by factors such as:

Enjoying life
Coping well with stress
Feeling connected to others
Having a good sense of self
Having a sense of purpose
Having strong relationships
Mental illness, which is distinct from mental health, refers to disturbances in feelings, thoughts, and perceptions that are serious enough to affect day-to-day functioning. Some examples of mental illnesses include schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and mood disorders such as major depressive disorder.

Depression and menopause
During perimenopause, individuals may be more vulnerable to depressive symptoms as a result of fluctuating hormone levels. Mood changes and physical changes such as hot flashes or trouble sleeping may also be associated with depressive symptoms.

Depression (major depressive disorder), sometimes called clinical depression, is different from periodically feeling depressive symptoms. It’s a mood disorder that causes symptoms that regularly negatively impact how you feel and handle daily activities. Symptoms must persist for two or more weeks in order to be diagnosed as major depressive disorder.

Depressive symptoms and symptoms of depression may include:

Appetite and/or weight changes
Difficulty sleeping, or oversleeping
Fatigue
Guilt or worthlessness
Hopelessness or pessimism
Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
Sad, anxious, or “empty” mood

Individuals may experience depressive symptoms during perimenopause.
A meta-analysis study compared the risk of clinical depression and depressive symptom severity during perimenopause to pre-menopause. Results demonstrated that perimenopausal women do not have a greater risk than pre-menopausal women in developing depression. However, perimenopausal women were more likely to experience depressive symptoms with greater severity than pre-menopausal women. There is also a relationship between vasomotor symptoms (e.g., night sweats, hot flashes) and depressive symptoms during perimenopause. This research suggests that women may be more vulnerable to depressive symptoms during perimenopause than before menopause.

Did you know? In the United States, symptoms of depression, hot flashes, and sleep disturbances are more severe in black individuals than white individuals, but they are less likely to receive medical and mental health services.

Anxiety and menopause
Individuals may experience physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety throughout the stages of menopause.

Anxiety disorders are characterized by feelings of fear or distress that are out of proportion with the situation, seriously impacting an individual’s behavior, thoughts, and physical and emotional health. Many people, however, may feel anxious (e.g., nervousness, tension, breathlessness, chest pain) in response to a real event and do not have an anxiety disorder.

A longitudinal study examined the risk of anxiety in women between the ages of 42 to 52 over a ten-year period. Symptoms of irritability, feeling fearful for no reason, tension or nervousness, and a racing or pounding heart were used to measure anxiety scores. Results demonstrated that women with low levels anxiety at baseline (before perimenopause) were more likely to report high levels of anxiety symptoms during perimenopause and post-menopause. Women with high levels of anxiety at baseline (before perimenopause) continued to experience high levels of anxiety throughout the different stages of menopause, however, they did not experience an increase in their levels. This research suggests that pre-menopausal women with low levels of anxiety are more likely to experience an increase in anxiety levels during and after menopause than pre-menopausal women with high levels of anxiety.

Did you know? Individuals who experience high levels of anxiety before perimenopause are more likely to experience hot flashes during perimenopause.

Cognitive function and menopause
During the transition to menopause and post-menopause, individuals may experience changes in cognitive function.

One study examined differences in cognitive function during the different stages of reproductive age. Results demonstrated that women in their first year post-menopause performed significantly worse in certain areas of cognition (i.e., verbal learning, verbal memory, motor function, working memory tasks) compared to women in late reproductive age and perimenopause. These results suggest that decreases in certain areas of cognitive function may be most noticeable in the first year after menopause.

Another study examined women’s perception of their memory across the menopausal transition. Women were divided into groups based on their stage of menopause and asked to self-evaluate different symptoms. Results demonstrated no impairment in neuro-physical performance (memory and executive function); however, compared to pre-and post-menopausal women, women in perimenopause were more dissatisfied with their memory, reporting significantly more forgetfulness.

How to feel your best during menopause
Feeling your best during perimenopause and menopause will look different for each person depending on their needs and interests. Consider some of the following methods to help maintain strong mental health during and after the menopausal transition.

Hormone replacement therapy
Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), or hormone replacement therapy (HRT), is a treatment that involves taking hormones similar to estrogen and progesterone as tablets, gels, patches, or vaginal treatments. A healthcare provider might prescribe MHT to a menopausal person to address different biological changes that have occurred during menopause due to declining progesterone and estrogen levels (e.g., bone loss).

Always speak with your healthcare provider before considering menopausal hormone therapy. MHT is associated with an increased risk of different health effects such as:

Breast cancer
Dementia
Hip and vertebral fractures
Stroke, blood clots, and heart attack
Urinary incontinence
Vaginal bleeding

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), distinct from MHT and HRT, is defined by the American endocrine society as compounds that have the exact molecular structure of hormones produced by the human body. However, the term bioidentical hormone does not have a standard definition, and BHRT compounds can vary depending on their source, materials, and manufacturing methods. BHRT can be prescribed by a qualified healthcare provider to address biological changes that occur during menopause due to declining hormone levels. BHRT compounds should always be approved by your healthcare provider and local government’s drug administration before use.

The bottom line
Menopause is a natural transition in a menstruating person’s life when their menstrual cycle ends and their ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Individuals may experience changes in cognitive function and feelings of depression and anxiety at different stages of menopause. Getting adequate sleep; staying socially, mentally and physically active; reducing stress; participating in talk therapy; limiting alcohol; and consuming a healthy diet may help support strong mental health during menopause.

How Does Stress Affect the Body?

According to an annual market research study conducted in collaboration with the American Psychological Association (APA), participant’s self-reported stress levels in 2020 increased significantly in several different categories compared to previous years.

Some types of stress are normal and necessary, generating the impetus necessary to convert thought into action, whether that action is planting a garden, meeting a deadline, or escaping from a fire or flood. In fact, stress has been the force behind much of our progress through the ages. But when stress becomes a frequent occurrence, our health, goals, and relationships can all suffer. That’s because stress can affect our moods and our ability to think clearly. It can also weaken our immune system and make us more susceptible to getting sick.

What is stress?

At its core, stress is essential to our survival. When faced with danger, whether real or perceived, we experience a built-in fight or flight response. Different structures of the central nervous system and peripheral tissues such as the hypothalamus, and the pituitary and adrenal glands, help mediate the stress response. These structures encompass what’s referred to as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

Once activated, the HPA axis instantly puts us on alert and primes the body to either flee the situation or defend against it. This response begins in the hypothalamus, a tiny cluster of cells at the base of the brain that controls functions such as your body temperature, thirst, sleep cycles, and energy levels. The hypothalamus also releases a compound called corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) that drives your hormonal response to stress. Once CRH is released, it travels to the pituitary gland, causing it to secrete a hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) that cues the adrenal glands to produce stress hormones, especially cortisol.

stress affecting the body
The HPA axis is responsible for your “fight or flight” response to stress.

Did you know? Cortisol is a hormone that helps your body respond to stress, fight infection, regulate blood pressure, blood sugar, metabolism, and affects multiple organs and tissues.

The hypothalamus also triggers nerve cells to release norepinephrine, a naturally occurring chemical in the body that acts as both a stress hormone and a neurotransmitter. In response to norepinephrine, your muscles become tight and your senses sharpen. At the same time, your adrenal glands release epinephrine, better known as adrenaline, which makes the heart pump faster and the lungs work harder to flood the body with oxygen.

Once an acute threat has passed, the body returns to normal. However, when the body is exposed to long-term, chronic stress, negative health effects can occur as a result. When the stress response becomes constant, the HPA axis remains active. Think of it like a stuck gas pedal that constantly revs the engine in your car, flooding it with a steady stream of gas (cortisol). Over time, this can lead to a dysfunctional HPA axis—and that can result in severe adrenal exhaustion. Conditions related to HPA axis dysfunction include cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, obesity, skin rashes, asthma, arthritis, and depression.

Symptoms of stress

The following changes may be signs that an individual is overly stressed:

  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
  • Restlessness
  • Sadness, guilt, or feelings of irritability
  • Thinking negatively

How stress affects the body

Chronically high levels of stress may suppress immunity, leaving individuals vulnerable to more serious conditions, some of which are outlined below.

stress affecting the body infographic
Learn how stress affects the body.

Stress and the immune system

Although immune activity initially increases during the fight or flight response, if stress persists, the nutrients needed to meet the demands of stress— for example, B vitamins— may become depleted. Chronic stress also results in immune-suppressing levels of the stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine. High cortisol levels may also reduce natural killer cell activity, immune cells that limit the spread of certain viruses and tumors.

Stress and cardiovascular health

Cortisol can have a negative impact on your cardiovascular system. Studies show that chronically high cortisol levels can increase blood pressure, blood sugarcholesterol, and triglycerides—all factors that can increase your risk of hypertension, stroke, and heart attack.

stress affecting the body woman sneezing
Chronic stress can undermine your immune system and lead to a variety of health problems.

Stress and the gastrointestinal system

Chronic stress may also negatively affect your gastrointestinal system by either delaying the emptying of the digestive tract or by speeding up the amount of time it takes food and waste to pass through the colon. As a result, stress may lead to heartburn, indigestion, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or belly pain.  When we’re in a state of stress, the body reacts with a protective automatic fight or flight response, signaling a potential danger. However, when we’re in a state of fight or flight, the body can’t focus on digestive processes as effectively as when we’re in a relaxed state.

Did you know? Chronic stress can trigger gastrointestinal inflammation and may be linked to conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Stress and diabetes

Stress may also aggravate a pre-existing medical condition. People with diabetes are significantly affected by stress since physical or psychological stressors can inhibit insulin production. One clinical trial published in the journal Diabetes Care found that this can lead to more diabetic complications.

Stress and epilepsy

People with seizure disorders such as epilepsy also find that stress can trigger an attack. In one retrospective study, Dutch scientists compared the seizure activity of 30 epileptic patients suddenly evacuated because of an impending flood to 30 patients living outside the evacuation area. What they found was that one third of the evacuees experienced a significant increase in the frequency of their seizures compared to those who had not experienced the flood-related stress.

Stress and inflammation

Those suffering from asthma and allergies may also be more susceptible to attacks following a stressful event. A survey of more than 10,000 college students found an association between stress and atopic dermatitis (an inflammatory skin condition), nasal congestion, and asthma.

Did you know? Too much stress may lead to poor concentration and feelings of depression.

stress affecting the body scheduling calendar
Overscheduling your life can set you up for stress overload.

Managing stress

Coping with stress will look different depending on the individual, however, the following strategies may be helpful for reducing stress levels:

  1. Identify what is causing you stress.
  2. Consider strategies to overcome your stress (e.g., working fewer hours).
  3. Talk to others about how you’re feeling (e.g., friends, family, coworkers, a therapist.
  4. Consider taking a course or class on stress management.
  5. Consider participating in physical and mental exercise such as walking, running, or meditation.
  6. Work on improving your nutrition with the assistance of a qualified healthcare practitioner.
  7. Participate in a hobby that you enjoy.
  8. Don’t be too hard on yourself and take things one day at a time.

The bottom line

Stress is a natural and helpful bodily reaction, however, chronic stress may negatively affect health and lead to or exacerbate more serious health conditions related to a suppressed immune system and chronic inflammation. Stress management techniques and coping mechanisms such as therapy, exercise, meditation, a healthy diet, and participating in hobbies can help reduce stress levels. Speak with your integrative healthcare practitioner if you’re feeling stressed and to receive advice on how to reduce stress levels.

The Role Of Vitamin C In Immunity

Most of us know that vitamin C helps to fight colds, flus and other infections. You don’t have to look further than your cold medicine or cough drops to see that they contain some vitamin C. But have you ever wondered why vitamin C is so important?

The breadth of impact vitamin C has on our immune system may surprise you. If you are interested in underlying mechanisms like I am, you’ll enjoy today’s article. If you enjoy the bigger picture view, I have you covered too.

Keep reading to learn more about:

Vitamin C basics for cell function
The various roles vitamin C plays in immune health
How vitamin C is essential for methylation balance (spoiler, it has to do with de-methylation)
New research about vitamin C’s role in maintaining genetic stability in regulatory T cells (Tregs)
How to know if you are getting enough vitamin C and when to add in a supplement
Let’s jump in!

What Is Vitamin C? – Vitamin C Functions

Vitamin C, also referred to as l-ascorbic acid or ascorbate, is an essential water-soluble vitamin. While most animals synthesize their own vitamin C, humans need to obtain it from food. Without enough vitamin C, you may see negative impacts to the skin, poor immune function, and, in extreme cases, scurvy.

main roles of vitamin c
Vitamin C plays many important roles in the body, as a cofactor in metabolic processes, an antioxidant and a player in gene expression. Some of the main functions of vitamin C include:

Cofactor in collagen biosynthesis, required for the structure and integrity of the skin, bones and connective tissues
Cofactor in carnitine synthesis, required for energy production
Cofactor in the production of catecholamine hormones: dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine
Powerful antioxidant that protects cells and DNA from free radical damage and reduces oxidative stress. Important for cardiovascular health
Helps to regenerate vitamin E, another important antioxidant
Increases the bioavailability of dietary iron
Regulates gene expression through de-methylation. More on this below. (Source 1)
For more information about the role of vitamin C in the body as well as the benefits, please read the article Science of the role of vitamin C in the : Benefits Beyond the Common Cold.

Vitamin C and Immunity

vitamin c immune function chart
While the benefits of vitamin C are far reaching, immune benefits get a lot of attention and for good reason! Vitamin C is essential for immune health and favorably impacts the immune system in several ways.

Vitamin C is important for both innate and adaptive immunity. The innate immune system is the body’s first line of defense against pathogens and provides general or non-specific immune function. Think: natural killer cells (NK cells), a specialized lymphocyte T cell, that can detect and destroy invaders directly.

Adaptive immunity is specialized and specific; it identifies a specific pathogen and then accurately destroys it. Think: B-cells that produce highly specific antibodies to a viruses and label them to be destroyed by cytotoxic T-cells. (Source 2)

Because of these roles, vitamin C is considered and antiviral nutrient.

Here are some specific roles that vitamin C plays in immune function:

Vitamin C creates a barrier. By promoting collagen production, vitamin C is important for maintaining the skin barrier that protects against pathogens. It is also important for the epithelial barrier of the lungs and gut, as examples, and may help to heal leaky gut. (Source 3, 4)

Vitamin C accumulates in phagocytes, such as neutrophils, affecting neutrophil function. These are cells that ingest harmful particles, pathogens or dead cells. Vitamin C enhances chemotaxis (movement of cells), phagocytosis (engulfing of cells), generation of reactive oxygen species (used to attack) and the general killing of microbes. (Source 4)

Vitamin C supports apoptosis (cell death) and the clearing of these cells from the site of infection. (Source 4)

Antioxidant actions of vitamin C protects cells (including immune cells) and tissue from oxidative damage caused by the pathogen itself or the immune response to the pathogen. (Source 4)

Vitamin C enhances the production and differentiation of immune cells, including both B cells and T cells, as well as helps these cells proliferate (multiply). Immune cells include leukocytes, macrophages and more. This effect is likely due to the gene regulating effects of vitamin C, which I will discuss shortly. (Source 4)

Of note, B cells are immune cells that mature in the bone marrow and produce antibodies, while T cells are immune cells that mature in the thymus and help to remove pathogens from the body.

Overall, vitamin C is involved in defending the body from foreign invaders by both stimulating white blood cells and protecting them, and you, from damage. In addition, by balancing cytokine levels, vitamin C may also play a role in inflammation.

When levels of vitamin C are low, immunity is impaired and susceptibility to infectious diseases increases. Vitamin C is important for the individual and is also an incredibly important nutrient from a public health perspective.

Vitamin C and De-Methylation

As mentioned above, one of the ways that vitamin C is important for immunity is because of its effect on gene expression, or epigenetic regulation.

To understand this, let’s quickly review methylation. For a more in-depth explanation, read my article The Methylation Cycle.

Methylation involves the addition of a methyl group (a molecule with one carbon and three hydrogen atoms, i.e., -CH3) onto another molecule. This process, which requires folate and vitamin B12 among other cofactors, is foundational for millions of chemical reactions happening in every cell of the body.

As an example, an enzyme called Cathecolamine-O-Methyl-Transferase (COMT) use these methyl groups to deactivate stimulating neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine, so that we are not on high alert constantly.

Methylation is also required for detoxification, glutathione production, hormone production and metabolism, neurotransmitter synthesis as well as genetic expression we are discussing here. Methylation needs to be balanced, especially when it comes to DNA methylation: too little methylation impairs these systems and too much methylation is also an issue and may drive cancer.

Just as there is methylation, there is also de-methylation, or the removal of a methyl group from another molecule or DNA. While methylation usually turns gene expression “on” and is dependent upon B vitamins, de-methylation typically turns gene expression “off” and requires vitamin C. (Source 5)

Vitamin C, Tregs and TET Proteins

Regulatory T cells, or Tregs for short, are important immune T cells that help to control (decrease) inflammation and can increase immune tolerance preventing autoimmunity.

Tregs contain Ten-Eleven Methylcytosine Dioxygenase Translocation de-methylation enzymes, or TET for short, which are important enzymes for maintaining the genetic stability and function of the Treg cells. (Source 5)

And, TET proteins need vitamin C!

Recent research from the La Jolla Institute for Immunology and Emory University School of Medicine shows that vitamin C and TET proteins work together to support maturation and proper function of Tregs that are grown in the lab. Previous attempts at in vitro (in culture) Treg production failed to produce stable cells, but vitamin C may change that, potentially leading to immune treatments for autoimmune disease and organ transplant.

This study analyzed the gene expression (or epigenetics) in the iTregs (in vitro Tregs) and showed that vitamin C enhances the activity of the TET protein enzymes through de-methylation, making these cells more similar to the mature, properly functioning Tregs in the body which regulate autoimmunity.

When methyl groups are removed from the DNA in the iTreg cells, the methyl groups become available to the TET enzymes, helping to maintain a favorable genetic expression. TET enzymes in the presence of abundant vitamin C also made Tregs more responsive to a peptide called Interleukin-2 (IL-2) which is responsible for proliferation and proper functioning of Tregs. (Source 6)

A balance between methylation and de-methylation is required for immune cell health and epigenetic regulation. Vitamin C is a key factor in de-methylation, playing an important role in the proper functioning of Treg cells which in turn regulate autoimmunity.

Do You Need More Vitamin C?

Despite the availability of vitamin C in the diet, vitamin C deficiency is the fourth common nutrient deficiency in the United States. (Source 7) You may be at risk for low vitamin C levels if you don’t eat many fruits or vegetables, abuse alcohol, smoke cigarettes or have a disease that increases your requirements for this nutrient. (Source 4)

The recommended dietary allowance RDA for vitamin C is 90mg per day for adult males and 75mg per day for adult females. Scurvy occurs with intakes under 10mg per day. (Source 1)

However, amounts around 100-200mg of vitamin C per day may be required to maintain adequate levels in the blood for prevention of infection. Much larger dosages may be required to treat an infection because of the metabolic demand for vitamin C and increased inflammation under these circumstances. (Source 4)

Adequate levels can often be maintained by regular consumption of vitamin C rich foods and moderate supplementation based on individual needs.

Good food sources of vitamin C to include in the diet are:

Rosehips
Bell peppers
Broccoli
Strawberries
Oranges
Grapefruit
Brussels sprouts
Tomatoes
Kiwifruit
Micronutrient testing may be supportive to determine if your diet is meeting your individual needs or if you would benefit from higher levels of vitamin C obtained through supplementation.

8 vitamin c rich foods
Vitamin C Supplements – Dosages, Downsides and Liposomal Solution

Vitamin C supplements are available as powders, liquids and as intravenous vitamin C.

Core Med Science’s multivitamin, Liposomal Active B-Complex + Minerals, contains 60mg of vitamin C and should have the daily needs covered for a healthy person who also consumes produce regularly. However, in many cases daily requirements may be higher and taking additional vitamin C as a dietary supplement may be supportive.

At the very least, I recommend keeping vitamin C on hand to use at the onset of colds, flus, infections or to help with wound healing.

The Institute for Functional Medicine recommends a vitamin C intake of 1-3 grams (1000 to 3000mg) per day as part of a treatment for COVID-19, which is similar to recommendations for other acute immune support. (Source 8)

Two main issues arise with vitamin C supplementation. First, vitamin C supplements are poorly absorbed. And second, high dose vitamin C may produce the side effect of digestive upset and loose stools, making it challenging to achieve a therapeutic dose.

Liposomal delivery solves these problems by increasing absorption and bioavailability while being well tolerated.

Core Med Science’s Liposomal Vitamin C packages non-GMO vitamin C (Quali-C brand sourced from Scotland) inside liposomal particles made from non-GMO phosphatidylcholine derived from sunflower. Because these liposomes resemble our own cells, more vitamin C is absorbed and higher dosages are comfortably achieved. You might even have better results with lower dosages when utilizing our liposomal product, which is available as both a liquid and capsule.

Vitamin D – Your Big Questions Answered

Vitamin D is certainly a hot topic, in both the functional medicine space and increasingly in the popular media. Dr. Fauci himself has acknowledged that he uses vitamin D3 daily and he also recommends taking it in a recent interview with actress Jennifer Gardner. 

Vitamin D benefits include proper gene expression, growth, bone strength and immunity. It’s because of this immune system function that vitamin D is increasingly being studied for its therapeutic and preventative use in both chronic and infectious disease, including COVID-19.

I often get questions about vitamin D, including how much to take, what form and what the most optimal levels are in the body. I’ll cover all of these, and more, in the article you are about to read.

In this article, you will learn more about:

  • Vitamin D biochemistry
  • The main roles of vitamin D in the body and related conditions
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • The connection between vitamin D and COVID-19
  • Vitamin D testing
  • Optimal vitamin D levels
  • Vitamin D supplementation

Let’s get started!What Is Vitamin D3?Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts much like a hormone in the body. In the presence of sunlight, your skin makes vitamin D from 7-dehydrocholestrol. (Source 1) You read that right; cholesterol is the precursor to vitamin D, just like it is for cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and other steroid hormones.Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, is the final and active form produced in the skin (this is also the most popular supplemental form). Vitamin D3 is converted to 25-hydroxy vitamin D in the liver to make the most abundant form of vitamin D that circulates in the blood. This is also the form that is most often measured in a vitamin D blood test. 25-hydroxy vitamin D is activated to 1,25 dihydroxy vitamin D in the kidneys. It’s this active form that binds to vitamin D receptors (VDR) in every cell, which signals for the expression of hundreds of genes. (Source 1)Vitamin D is obtained, in smaller amounts through food and absorbs into circulation in the presence of fat. Vitamin D works in synergy with magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin A among other nutrients. This is why micronutrient deficiencies may impact vitamin D levels and function.What Does Vitamin D Do? Vitamin D3 BenefitsVitamin D plays many crucial roles in the body and supports the health of every cell. Of course, we often first think about vitamin D’s role in calcium balance and bone health. Vitamin D is required for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the small intestine. These are the two most abundant minerals in the body and make up a large portion of bone structure. In those with vitamin D deficiency, only a maximum of 10 to 15 percent of dietary calcium is absorbed compared to 30 to 40 percent in those with better vitamin D status. (Source 2)The role of vitamin D for bone health benefits is so critical that severe vitamin D deficiency causes rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults, both characterized by a softening and weakening of the bones. In addition, vitamin D deficiency contributes to osteoporosis. (Source 2)Vitamin D is also important for cell differentiation. Vitamin D supports new cells in becoming specialized. This may be one reason that vitamin D helps to prevent cancer (Source 3) and is important during pregnancy and other times of growth.In addition, vitamin D is an important immune system modulator. Vitamin D regulates the immune system and supports innate immunity, which is the first line of defense against pathogens. (Source 4). Innate immunity involves direct action taken by our immune cells against an infectious agent like a bacteria or a virus. Acquired immunity, by contrast, is learned immunity which involves making specific antibodies targeting the specific invader.Vitamin D may have other important roles in the body such as blood pressure regulation, insulin secretion and more. Many of the mechanistic vitamin D studies are in animals, but we have a growing number of human studies and clinical trials showing vitamin D is supportive in a variety of health issues and disease, including:

These are the areas with the most robust, strongest evidence in the research literature, but compelling arguments may also be made for the role of vitamin D in autoimmune disease, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A recently published German study estimated that supplementing vitamin D3 in the 50+ year old population could cut cancer related mortality by 13% or 30,000 lives. (Source 12)And, you may have seen headlines about the relationship between vitamin D and coronavirus disease 2019, COVID-19.Vitamin D3 Deficiency And COVID-19Vitamin D deficiency and COVID 19Vitamin D deficiency is a widespread problem, both globally and domestically. Vitamin D deficiency is defined as blood levels of 25 hydroxy vitamin D below 30 ng/mL. (Source 13)Deficiencies are so prevalent because we aren’t consuming enough vitamin D3 foods. Our ancestors regularly ate organ meats such as liver, fish eggs and other rich sources that are much more rare in our modern diet. In addition, because of modern life lived indoors, geographic location, skin pigmentation, the use of sunscreen or other factors, we miss the UV exposure needed for the body to synthesize vitamin D in the skin.As discussed above, we already know that vitamin D status and supplementation is helpful for shortening respiratory tract infections. This is likely because of the important role it plays in immunity and why it is getting so much attention in terms of COVID-19.A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at the relationship between vitamin D status and COVID-19. The study found that vitamin D deficiency (defined as below 20 ng/mL in this study) was associated with an increased COVID-19 risk and calls for randomized controlled trials to further study this relationship. (Source 14)Similarly, a study in Switzerland found low vitamin D levels were associated with positive COVID-19 tests and those with negative tests often had better vitamin D levels. (Source 15)In a study looking at data from European countries including Spain, Italy and Switzerland, researchers found a correlation between low vitamin D levels and COVID-19 risk, complications and mortality. It’s also important to note that vitamin D levels tend to be lower in the elderly, who are also more vulnerable to complications and death from COVID-19. (Source 16)The Vitamin D Test And Optimal LevelsWith vitamin D levels seemingly so important for both acute and chronic disease, let’s talk a little about testing and the ideal blood levels.A typical vitamin D3 test blood test will look at 25 hydroxy vitamin D. This is both the most common test and the most useful clinically since this is the main form of circulating vitamin D in the body. This is also the form you’ll find in micronutrient testing, such as NutraEval. But, your doctor can order a direct vitamin D3 level at almost any lab nationwide, so if you have not had one done yet, here’s a call to action: call your doctor and ask for this simple blood test.The lab range on most tests you see will have 30 ng/mL as the lower limit. While this may be the lowest level needed for calcium absorption and to prevent vitamin D3 deficiency symptoms, it may not be high enough to optimize all of the important roles vitamin D plays in the body, disease prevention and immune support. Many functional medicine doctors recommend blood levels of at least 40 nmol/L, with recommendations often exceeding that for certain individuals. In functional medicine, we are interested in optimizing the health of each individual, not just obtaining the minimum.The Institute for Functional Medicine recommends blood levels greater than 50 ng/mL with an upper limit of 80 ng/mL to support the body’s defenses in the face of COVID-19. (Source 17)Vitamin D3 SupplementsSupplementation may be the most effective and fastest way to raise vitamin D levels in the ideal range. It is important to first have a vitamin deficiency test and see where your blood levels are. Then, your individual vitamin D3 dosage can be tailored to your current levels and goal. It is helpful to work with a functional medicine provider throughout this process so levels can be rechecked and supplements adjusted.I often get the question: How much vitamin D3 should I take daily? The answer is incredibly individual and is ideally based on testing. You’ll find most multivitamins only provide the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of 600 IU (International Units) per day, which might not be high enough for many individuals.Core Med Science’s Liposomal Multivitamin contains 1000 IU of liposomal vitamin D3 in a combination with vitamin K2 which helps vitamin D3 exert it’s functions properly. This dosage may be enough for maintaining optimal levels, but for those of you who need to raise their blood levels significantly an additional supplement might be required.Those with severe deficiency might be prescribed Vitamin D3 50,000 IU to be taken weekly for a certain amount of time. This may seem like a large number, but to put in perspective our bodies generate 15,000-20,000 IU of vitamin D3 by being outside in sunshine for about 20 minutes.The new trend in the USA is to list vitamin D3 dosages in micrograms (mcg) instead of IU. You will see updated labels on supplements list both in “mcg” and “IU. If you only see mcg, the conversion for vitamin D3 is 10 mcg = 400 IU.The Institute for Functional Medicine recommends taking 5000 IU (125 mcg) per day in the absence of blood test results and with the goal of achieving blood levels between 50 and 80 ng/mL. (Source 16) As you can see, there are a wide range of acceptable dosages and most are tolerated without vitamin D3 side effects.In rare cases of too much supplementation or sustained high levels of vitamin D in the blood, the body can absorb too much calcium, which can be dangerous. Please work with a qualified practitioner to properly identify your needs.Tips For Supplementing With Vitamin DReady to start your vitamin D supplement? Here are some tips to consider:

  • Take vitamin D with fat. Since vitamin D is fat soluble, it’s important to take it along with a meal containing fat, MCT or olive oil or PC Complex.
  • Take vitamin D in the morning. It intuitively makes sense to take vitamin D in the morning or when the sun is high to mimic the vitamin D we get from the sun. Some report vitamin D provides energy and when taken at night may disrupt sleep.
  • Choose vitamin D3 instead of vitamin D2. Vitamin D2 is the form made by plants and in the war of vitamin D2 vs D3, D3 wins. Vitamin D3 has been shown to raise blood serum levels of 25 hydroxy vitamin D better than D2. (Source 18)
  • Add in K2. Whereas vitamin D3 helps absorb calcium, vitamin K2 helps to direct that calcium to the bones and is another common vitamin deficiency. You can take a vitamin D3 K2 supplement or check to make sure your multivitamin contains K2 (in addition to K1).
  • Don’t forget food. Fatty fish and liver are a couple of the best dietary sources of vitamin D. Be sure to choose high quality sources.
  • Don’t forget sunlight. During the summer months, try to get some mid-day sun exposure on most days. You don’t want to burn, so be sure to adjust the amount of time you spend in the sun, arms and legs exposed and without sunscreen, per your individual tolerance and needs.

The best vitamin D3 supplement will really depend on your individual levels, lifestyle and the optimal blood level for you, given your health history and goals. Vitamin D is certainly a unique nutrient and one to have on your radar, especially now, as it may provide some very safe protection against COVID-19 infection and associated outcomes.While we might all have individual needs, most of us will benefit from more vitamin D in our lives. Be sure to request a blood test from your provider if you haven’t had one recently and discuss with them the best strategy for optimizing your levels. Your bones, immune system and genetic expression will thank you!

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It seems everyone today is touting the latest and greatest to cure all of our health woes. Take this to turn back the hands of time, that for more energy, those to remove those unwanted pounds or erase wrinkles, and these to help us remember where the heck we put the car keys.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was some “magic elixir” you could take to improve all of these areas of health and more? And wouldn’t it be even better if there were no side effects from this pill?

Wishful thinking, right? Maybe not. Maybe such a thing exists right in your body right now.

It’s not a “magic elixir” that we will be talking about. It is a natural and indispensable molecule. It’s called glutathione, and it is found in every cell in the body. There is virtually no organism on Earth that doesn’t have some glutathione in its cells.1

And for a good reason. This powerful antioxidant is one of the most protective molecules in the human body. Without adequate glutathione levels, you are at risk of some of the most feared health conditions facing us today, including stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease.

But when levels are adequate or high, that’s when the magic happens. You’ll not only have protection from the conditions above, but you’ll have incredible energy, glowing skin, healthy detoxification, strong heart and brain function, and possibly even a longer life!

Sound too good to be true? Keep reading to learn about the evidence…

What Is GlutaTHIONE?

Glutathione is a tripeptide—i.e., a tiny protein—composed of three amino acids: cysteine, glycine, and glutamic acid (or glutamate). Often called the “master” antioxidant, glutathione boosts the utilization and recycling of other antioxidants, namely vitamins C and E, and alpha-lipoic acid and CoQ10.1

There are two different forms of glutathione: reduced glutathione (GSH, or L-glutathione), which is the active form, and oxidized glutathione (GSSG), the inactive state. As GSH patrols the cellular environment and puts out oxidative “free radical” fires, it becomes oxidized and inactive, thus turning into GSSG.

Fortunately, inactive GSSG can be recycled back into the active GSH form, thanks to the glutathione reductase enzyme. When this enzyme is overwhelmed, and too much-oxidized GSSG accumulates (compared to the active GSH), your cells become susceptible to damage.

MITOCHONDRIAL PROTECTION

Mitochondria are the “power plants” of each cell, converting food into ATP (adenosine triphosphate) for all of our cells’ energy needs. To compare it to the human body, mitochondria are like the heart, continually pumping out ATP instead of blood. Without a heartbeat—and mitochondria—life ceases to exist.

But mitochondria do much more than pump out energy. They also have their DNA; they can communicate information, sense danger when the cell energy levels drop, and are even involved in sending the final “death” message (apoptosis) when a cell is damaged beyond repair and needs to die. In this way, the mitochondria are the heart AND soul of the body.

This sophisticated heart and soul needs to be protected, and the “knight in shining armor” who guards our source of energy and life is none other than glutathione.

In this role, glutathione makes sure that toxins like heavy metals, organic toxins, and even the actual byproducts of the process of creating energy by the mitochondria themselves (oxidative byproducts or free radicals) don’t damage the mitochondria. For example, in the final stage of energy production, your body uses oxygen to make ATP. Still, in the process, it can create Superoxide, oxygen with too many electrons that is poisonous to everything around it, be it mitochondria, DNA, proteins, cell membranes, etc.. Glutathione is there to extinguish and neutralize Superoxides as well as other similar damaging oxidative molecules.

GLUTATHIONE RECYCLING

As you can imagine, it takes a lot of energy (ATP) to make glutathione or recycle from inactive GSSG back to active GSH.2 Fortunately, our cells contain large amounts of glutathione. They contain as much glutathione as glucose, potassium, and cholesterol! Given that we can’t survive without these other substances, the fact that we have so much glutathione around tells us that it is just as important.2,3

GLUTATHIONE’s Role IN THE BODY

Glutathione has many vital roles in your health and well-being.4 Four of the most critical are:

• Aging defense
• Antioxidant protection
• Detoxification
• Energy production

Glutathione is also responsible for:

• Cysteine carrier/storage
• Cell signaling
• Enzyme function
• Gene expression
• Cell differentiation/proliferation

That’s a lot of complicated medical and biochemical jargon that means, in short, the antioxidant properties of glutathione work to improve communication between the cells, stabilize and reduce oxidation in the cells, fight free radical damage, support protein function, and take out the cellular trash.

Let’s take a few of these in more detail.

Aging Defense

People who live in their 80s and beyond are found to have higher levels of glutathione. Low levels of glutathione send messages to trigger apoptosis or cell death.5 Plus, given the critical role glutathione plays at the cellular and mitochondrial levels, the overall health and longevity benefits are vast and wide.

Long story short, the more glutathione in your body, the healthier your cells, and mitochondria. The less glutathione in your body, the more likely you are to have a cellular breakdown, increased risk of disease, and cellular death.

Antioxidant Protection

If you’ve ever made a fruit salad, you likely know the chef’s trick to sprinkling a little lemon or lime juice over the fruit to keep it from turning brown. In many ways, antioxidants are like lemon juice. By consistently “sprinkling” your body with antioxidants, you can prevent your body from “browning.”

Antioxidants are the “anti-agers” of the nutrient world, working to protect your body from free radical or “oxidative” damage. Every time you eat, breathe, or move, your body uses fuel created from the food you eat to produce energy. But just as a car using gas to make energy releases harmful byproducts of this process as exhaust, so too does your own body’s energy-producing efforts have a dangerous byproduct—free radicals.

Free radicals are highly reactive forms of oxygen that are missing an electron. When they contact normal molecules, they try to steal an electron, damaging the healthy cell and its DNA. Some estimates show that every cell in your body takes 10,000 oxidative hits to its DNA daily! Antioxidants work to counteract the damage caused by free radicals.

Glutathione is your body’s “master antioxidant,” directly binding to oxidative compounds that damage cell membranes, DNA, energy production, etc. It instantly neutralizes a wide range of oxidants, including superoxide, nitric oxide, carbon radicals, hydroperoxides, peroxynitrites, and lipid peroxides.6

Detoxification

All across America, people have one day designated as trash removal day. They collect garbage, waste, and recycling that has accumulated throughout the week, put it into specially designated bins, and place it on the curb for pick up and removal.

But did you know your body has the same process of waste collection and even recycling? It’s called your detoxification system.

Here’s how it works.

Detoxification has three phases. During Phase 1, detoxification, toxins from car exhaust, smoke, alcohol, caffeine, dioxin, drugs, radiation, heavy metals, pesticides, and other carcinogens are partially processed by specialized proteins inside mitochondria cytochromes.

Unfortunately, Phase 1 processing can turn partially processed toxins into even more dangerous free radicals. These are not only damaging, but they can also single-handedly deplete glutathione, creating an imbalance between Phase 1 and Phase 2 (see below) activity.7 Toxic reactions can occur due to the buildup of reactive intermediate forms resulting from phase 1 detoxification, so further work needs to be done to process and eliminate toxins.

In Phase 2 detoxification, various enzymes act directly on the toxic substances partially degraded and processed in Phase 1, such as heavy metals and organo-toxins, by binding them with protective compounds, thereby either inactivating the toxins. This binding is called “conjugation,” and glutathione is the central figure. One such specialized group of enzymes called Glutathione-S-Transferase (GST) attach glutathione to the byproducts of Phase 1 detoxification and neutralizes their toxic potential while simultaneously making these toxic substances more water-soluble and ready to be eliminated. There are other Phase 2 enzymes and proteins that perform similar functions, but without glutathione, these other enzymes couldn’t adequately function.6

Once conjugated, toxins are ready to be eliminated from your body mainly by the kidneys (urine) and liver (bile). Elimination is considered to be Phase 3 of detoxification.

Energy Production

As we have already discussed, energy production is located in all cells (except red blood cells) inside mitochondria. Glutathione is involved in protecting mitochondria from free radical or other “oxidative” damage. If mitochondria are attacked and damaged by oxidative molecules, they slow down and start to make less ATP. With less ATP, the rest of the cell also becomes sluggish.

To make things worse, damaged mitochondria also become more error-prone and start to create more “exhaust” or free radicals. In turn, these free radicals cause further mitochondrial damage and so create a vicious cycle of less energy and more damage.

Stress also comes into play in energy production. The higher the energy needs (higher metabolism, exercise, stress, etc.), the harder the mitochondria have to work and the more free radicals they produce.

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, GSH binds these free radicals and relieves “oxidative stress” not just on the mitochondria but on the rest of the cell. In doing so, GSH becomes oxidized and converts to GSSG. With the help of the enzyme glutathione reductase, it can be recycled and turned back into active glutathione or GSH. However, if this process is overwhelmed or doesn’t work correctly, GSSG accumulates, and the ratio of GSH/GSSG becomes distorted.

The ratio of GSH/GSSG can be measured and is a very reliable measure of “oxidative stress” or how fast we are aging and deteriorating. This means we can measure how susceptible our cell’s DNA, cell membranes, proteins, and cholesterol are to damage.

Healthy cells at rest have a GSH/GSSG ratio >100. However, that ratio drops to 10 or less in susceptible cells exposed to oxidative stress.

How does a low GSH/GSSG manifest? It can be fatigue, lack of mental focus, brain fog, muscle fatigue, and aches and pains.

Sound familiar?

These symptoms are not only associated with many chronic diseases. Still, they are also a result of “mitochondrial dysfunction,” which occurs when mitochondria lose the protection of GSH, free radicals attack the mitochondria, and cellular energy decreases.8 Autoimmune conditions like multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, Lyme disease, heavy metal load, organotoxins, and more all have “mitochondrial dysfunction,” low levels of GSH, and profound fatigue.

Restoring active glutathione (GSH) levels and the ratio of active reduce to inactive “oxidized” GSH/GSSG can correct some, if not all, of the energy depletion.

And speaking of depletion…

Depletion and Disease

Glutathione deficiency makes you vulnerable to oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which are markers of accelerated aging and chronic illness. If you have too little GSH, you can’t fight off your cell’s mitochondria. As a result, you start to feel more tired because the mitochondria are less efficient when they get oxidized or “rusted.”

The free radical damage caused by oxidation then triggers your immune system to clean up the damage, which results in inflammation.

As such, it’s no surprise that depleted levels of glutathione can increase your risk for several adverse health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes, among others.

This is made even more problematic, given the number of factors that can deplete glutathione levels. In addition to natural aging, environmental causes include:

• Chronic exposure to chemical toxins
• Cadmium exposure
• Alcohol use
• Smoking
• Pollution
• Poor diet (Standard American Diet (SAD))
• Stress
• Certain medications (Tylenol)
• UV radiation exposure

Certain illnesses are known to decrease glutathione levels. Some of the more common low glutathione-related diseases are:9,10,11

• AIDS/HIV
• Macular degeneration
• Parkinson’s disease
• Diabetes
• Hepatitis
• Cancer
• COPD
• Alzheimer’s disease
• Liver disease
• Sickle cell anemia
• Stroke
• Heart disease
• Infertility

Brain Health

As we age, it’s not uncommon to experience a bit of forgetfulness, or maybe have difficulty concentrating or remembering names or where we left our car keys. This is technically called “neuro-degeneration,” a process by which the neurons in our brains become damaged and may even die, leaving us with “shrinking” brains that don’t function to their full capacity. While this process is unavoidable as we age, it can be slowed, or even reversed, and glutathione (GSH) plays an important role.

Certain brain disorders have accelerated neuro-degeneration that give us clues. For example, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases have high levels of oxidative stress and damage to the brain with correspondingly low active glutathione (GSH) levels. GSH can help ease and decrease the rate of damage to neural tissue. Other neurologic illness like Lyme disease also dramatically benefits from improved levels of glutathione.12

While these results are promising, a 2017 study involving Alzheimer’s patients using intranasal GSH found that GSH and placebo had equally good results.13 The research was ultimately inconclusive as a result, but it did show some improvement did occur with glutathione.

Heart and Cardiovascular System

A heart attack is the number one cause of death in the United States. It is also one of Americans’ top fears, prompting national campaigns regarding heart health and early detection of risk factors.

But what is missing in all this is a discussion of glutathione and the role it plays in preventing heart attack and stroke thanks to the ability to neutralize the “lipid oxidation” process.

This is important because virtually all heart disease starts with accumulating arterial plaques or deposits inside the arteries’ walls. Coronary and arterial plaque (atherosclerosis) develops gradually as cholesterol particles such as LDL in the blood are “lipid oxidized” and damage the blood vessels’ lining, forming a plaque. When these plaques eventually rupture and break off, they cause clogs that block blood flow and cause heart attacks or strokes.

With the help of an enzyme called glutathione peroxidase, glutathione inactivates the superoxide, free radicals, hydrogen peroxide, lipid peroxides, and peroxinitrites that cause this “lipid oxidation” and wreak havoc on your health. In this way, glutathione helps to prevent damage and lowers the risk of heart attacks.

In a study of 643 cardiac patients who underwent coronary angiography in Germany, those who died of heart attacks had much lower glutathione peroxidase levels than those who survived.14 In the end, what this means is that if we don’t have enough glutathione to neutralize damage to our arteries, we are at increased risk of heart and vascular disease events.

Inflammation

Inflammation has been a hot topic in the natural health world for the past decade; however, many people still don’t fully understand precisely why inflammation lies at the root of most health concerns plaguing Americans today.

Inflammation is present in virtually every chronic illness, from diabetes and heart disease to cancer. However, inflammation is also necessary (in short bursts) to fight things like infectious invaders.

Any injury can incite an inflammatory response. Whether you are talking about trauma, an infection, toxins, or allergies, your immune system answers the same chemical cascade.

First, the injured area’s blood vessels and capillaries begin to expand and open wide to allow your body’s natural healing compounds to get the wounded site as quickly as possible. Soon, fluid and waste flood the area, often overwhelming it.

To offset the damage, helper cells seal off the damaged area by creating blockades of protein that help prevent the spread of bacteria and toxins to the surrounding areas. This blockage of the blood and lymph vessels causes the physical manifestations of inflammation, namely redness, pain, stiffness, lack of mobility, and swelling.

Like everything in your body, there is a set of built-in checks and balances when it comes to inflammation. When an injury is detected, your body produces an enzyme called cyclooxygenase-2 (or COX-2), which sets this inflammation process into motion.

In turn, COX-2 signals for the production of a short-lived signaling molecule called series-2 prostaglandins. These pro-inflammatory hormones encourage this inflammation process and help your body heal the injured area.

Once your body has done its job, it needs to restore your body to normal and switch off these hormones. To do that, it releases COX-1 enzymes that signal for the release of series-1 and series-3 prostaglandins, which are anti-inflammatory.

In an ideal world, this yin and yang work together beautifully. The inflammatory response comes to your rescue when it’s needed and cools itself off once the healing is completed. But we don’t live in an ideal world.

In the real world, environmental toxins, your diet, stress, and other lifestyle issues have disabled the checks and balances of this system, encouraging your body to make more of the pro-inflammatory prostaglandins and less of the anti-inflammatory ones. As a result, many people suffer from chronic, systemic inflammation.

When this happens, you’re in trouble. You need a lot of extra protection.

It appears that glutathione (GSH) controls when inflammation increases or decreases as need be by instructing and influencing our immune white cells. Additionally, the autoimmune disease also appears to be hallmarked by imbalanced glutathione levels.15

Rebalancing glutathione levels can restore immune system competence and bring chronic inflammation under better control.

Immunity

Glutathione helps your immune systems stay healthy and ready to fight infections. While vitamin C seems to get all the accolades when it comes to immunity, glutathione is the under-recognized supporting actor who deserves the starring role.

Research shows that active glutathione (GSH) primes white cells such as natural killer (NK) and T cells, your body’s front-line infection fighters. GSH-enhanced T cells can produce more infection-fighting substances like interleukins-2 and -12 (IL-2, IL-12) and interferon-gamma, working to control both bacterial and viral infections in this way.16

In particular, one study found that GSH doubled NK cell’s ability to be cytotoxic (kill invaders) after just six months of use.17 It also appears that glutathione has a direct antibacterial effect even as it helps macrophages—a cell of the immune system—fight the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis).18 In this study, researchers found that “GSH works to modulate the behavior of many cells including the cells of the immune system, augmenting the innate and the adaptive immunity as well as conferring protection against microbial, viral and parasitic infections.” 18 

Many chronic infections suck as EBV, Hepatitis, Herpes Viruses, and Lyme, to name a few, which can deregulate and suppress the immune system. Glutathione can turn this suppression around.

Athletic Performance

It appears that glutathione can boost athletic performance when used before workouts. Best of all, you don’t have to an ultramarathoner or Mr. or Ms. America. Even the average 5Ker, avid gardener, or weekend warrior can benefit from this “secret weapon.”

A small study of eight men receiving 1,000 mg of glutathione before exercise, those men taking the glutathione performed better, felt less fatigued, and had lower blood lactic acid levels than the placebo-controlled group.19 This is key, as increased lactic acid in the body can result in fatigue, low blood pressure, muscle aches, a drop in body temperature, and respiratory problems.

Similarly, in an article published in Muscle and Fitness, glutathione combined with L-citrulline boosted nitric oxide production (NO) better than placebo or L-citrulline alone.20 Nitric oxide is well known to dilate blood vessels improving blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles and tissues.

Autism

Autism is on the rise in the United States, and a key priority of parents with children on the autism spectrum is improving function. Glutathione has been shown to be very beneficial in treating autistic children.

One warning sign we see in children with autism is low levels of glutathione. Fortunately, promising new research shows that liposomal and transdermal glutathione might help raise levels of GSH in plasma in children with autism.21

Peripheral Vascular Disease

Like heart disease and stroke, atherosclerosis can also affect arteries supplying blood to the periphery, such as your arms and legs. Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) occurs when narrowed blood vessels do not provide enough blood supply to muscles when needed. Fatigue and pain with walking are hallmark symptoms of PVD.

In a double-blind study, 40 PVD patients were given either reduced active glutathione (GSH) IV infusions twice a day or placebo. The patients receiving glutathione were able to walk pain-free much further than the patients receiving placebo injections.22

IV clinics, which offer glutathione injections are not yet mainstream, but they are certainly gaining in popularity. Finding such a clinic and engaging in the course of therapy may be a worthwhile pursuit for those afflicted by severe PVD.

Skin Health

Men and women of all ages are fascinated—even obsessive—when it comes to their skin. Whether they are concerned with acne, wrinkles, dryness, eczema, or puffy eyes, everyone wants beautiful, flawless skin.

However, a lifetime of sun, wind, housework, and outdoor activities can take its toll on exposed skin, resulting in dry, wrinkled skin and age spots that can belie a person’s actual age. Combine this with inadequate nutrition, stress, lack of exercise, and hormonal changes that occur at midlife and beyond, and it’s no wonder that moisturizers, creams, and anti-aging serums are a billion-dollar market.

Fortunately, you don’t have to empty your wallet to restore your skin’s structure and health and its underlying tissues. You can solve the problem internally and have cells heal and regenerate themselves, thanks to glutathione.

Glutathione not only decreases the melanin (pigmentation) of skin but has also been found to reduce the appearance of wrinkles AND increase the elasticity of the skin.

Glutathione works on skin pigment production mainly by inhibiting tyrosinase, one of the enzymes involved in making melanin. Interestingly, in one study, both GSH and GSSG worked in achieving the skin lightening effect, which appears to be very gradual and will take weeks to develop.23 The impact on pigmentation is transient, so you need to continue using glutathione to maintain the skin-whitening effect.

A scientific review of four small-scale studies confirmed that glutathione use does result in some skin lightening.24 Additionally, glutathione has also been shown to decrease psoriasis when levels are bolstered by intake of whey protein, which contains glutamylcysteine, a precursor to GSH.25

Most impressively, perhaps the same studies mentioned above also show that glutathione doesn’t just lighten, but it improves skin elasticity and decreases wrinkles’ appearance.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is common and on the rise in the United States. The debilitating, slow damage created by high levels of blood sugar (glucose) destroys everything from your blood vessels to your eyes, kidneys, and nerves over time due to “oxidative stress” (remember the “free radicals” or reactive oxygen species (ROS)?). As oxidative stress increases, glutathione is used as an antioxidant, and active GSH gets depleted.

This has been confirmed to be a fact in Type 2 diabetics. Glutathione levels were deficient due to the high oxidative stress that can damage tissues, especially when blood glucose levels are high. When people with diabetes were given the glutathione precursors cysteine and glycine, their levels of glutathione went up, and their oxidative stress went down, suggesting that GSH supplementation may be very beneficial in preventing type 2 diabetes-related oxidative stress and tissue damage.26

COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death in the United States. As damage from smoking or even pollution accumulates to the respiratory tract and the lungs, oxygen and carbon dioxide (CO2) exchange suffers, making it difficult to breathe.

Low glutathione levels have been linked to abnormalities in the lungs’ lining, and having normal glutathione levels may protect from inflammation by protecting lung tissue from free radical damage.27 Additionally, animal studies found that intravenous glutathione supplementation helped maintain normal lung function and prevent damage such as decreased lung compliance, increased swelling, and reduced lung tissue. Researchers concluded that glutathione supplementation helps maintain normal airflow and lung tissue, as well as lessening “the changes in lung mechanics associated with oxygen-induced lung injury.”28

Vitamin D Levels

Vitamin D3—or the active form of vitamin D—has been a hot topic in medicine because it controls and modulates the immune system. Initially thought to play just a role in calcium metabolism and bone formation, we now know that low vitamin D3 levels can increase your risk of heart attack, asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, and decreased brain function elderly.

Interestingly, low vitamin D3 levels have also been correlated with low glutathione. When glutathione levels are low, vitamin D3 doesn’t work as efficiently.

In a study in animals deficient in vitamin D3, supplementing with vitamin D3 and cysteine (a GSH precursor) restored glutathione levels, increased the bioavailability of vitamin D3, and lowered inflammation.29 Researchers noted that the vitamin D supplements widely consumed by the public “are unlikely to be successful unless the GSH status is also corrected.”29 In other words, only taking vitamin D isn’t enough. It would be best if you were sure you have adequate glutathione levels as well to make sure that your Vitamin D3 is working as it should.

METHYLATION

Methylation is critical for human survival. For example, it as like an electrical switch that turns genes on and off. Additionally, methylation is also integral to how we function every second of the day. It regulates neurotransmitters, brain function, mood, energy, and hormone levels. It is fair to say that methylation is almost synonymous with physical function.

One of the most well-studied products of the methylation cycle, homocysteine, is the common link between methylation and making glutathione, also called the “trans-sulfuration” pathway. (See figure below showing the methylation and transsulfuration pathways.)

Glutathione production starts with the amino acid cysteine. This first step is also the most critical “rate-limiting” step. As noted above, the usual cysteine source comes from homocysteine, a significant product of the methylation cycle. So making glutathione depends on a well functioning methylation cycle that provides enough homocysteine.

Conversely, suppose the glutathione production process (or the “trans-sulfuration” pathway) is not functioning correctly. In that case, the process backs up, and homocysteine levels accumulate, putting additional strain on the methylation cycle to remove it.

High homocysteine levels are problematic because they have been linked to heart disease and atherosclerosis.32 In people who are deficient or have mutations in the enzymes that catalyze the production of glutathione from homocysteine, the methylation cycle will be under pressure to remove excess homocysteine.

One such enzyme is cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS), which catalyzes the first and most important (rate-limiting) step in trans-sulfuration from homocysteine to cystathionine. Individuals with CBS mutations will be slow to make glutathione.33

Flipping this around, individuals who have “slow” methylation cycle enzymes will have lower homocysteine levels. Since it’s the first step in making glutathione, slow methylation can directly affect and lower levels of glutathione.

By now, you may have heard of the most famous enzymes—MTHFR and MTR— regulating the speed of the methylation cycle as physicians are directly now ordering more and more genetic testing. These enzymes control the methylation cycle speed and efficiency, determine homocysteine levels, and indirectly affect glutathione production.

In conclusion, for those of you who have been tested and know you have MTHFR and MTRR or CBS mutations, you might be struggling with low glutathione production and levels without realizing it.

Methylation is a critical process—as well as a complicated one. The key to remember is that low methylation equals low glutathione and that low glutathione slows methylation. They are interdependent. The solution? Maintain normal glutathione levels, and all will be good.

Tough stuff, right? But before you run for the hills, take comfort in the fact that there are a few simple steps you can take to restore and replenish your glutathione levels, starting first and foremost with diet.

GLUTATHIONE-RICH DIET

A handful of foods naturally contain glutathione, including asparagus, avocado, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli, garlic, chives, tomatoes, cucumber, almonds, and walnuts. However, various factors can affect the levels of this vital nutrient, including storage and cooking. Cooking these foods can reduce their glutathione content by 30 to 60 percent.

Fortunately, you can eat other foods that provide the building blocks needed to boost your glutathione levels naturally. These foods are rich in the precursors to glutathione, namely cysteine and other sulfur-containing foods and selenium.

When looking to boost dietary glutathione, focus on the following:

Whey Protein

GSH is very sulfuric, so you need a protein-rich in amino acids like cysteine, glutamate, and glycine. Eating a “clean” grass-fed milk source of whey can make it easier to make GSH. Whey protein contains gamma-glutamylcysteine, which is glutamine bound to cysteine. Because this combination bypasses the first (and rate-limiting) step to produce glutathione in your cells, it is vital in supporting higher glutathione levels through diet.

Allium-Containing Foods

Allium is a family (genus) of plants rich in sulfur, a precursor for Glutathione synthesis. Allium foods include:

• Garlic
• Onion
• Chives
• Scallions
• Shallots
• Leeks

Cruciferous Foods

Cruciferous vegetables are packed with glucosinolates. These compounds give Brassica plants their distinctive sulfuric aroma. Great cruciferous foods include:

• Broccoli
• Cabbage
• Cauliflower
• Kale
• Brussels sprouts
• Bokchoy
• Arugula
• Collard greens
• Watercress
• Radishes

Alpha Lipoic Acid-Rich Foods

Alpha-lipoic acid regenerates and increases levels of glutathione within the body. Good food sources of alpha-lipoic acid include:

• Organ meats
• Beef
• Brewer’s yeast
• Broccoli
• Spinach
• Brussels sprouts
• Peas
• Tomatoes

Selenium-Rich Foods

Selenium is a trace mineral that is part of the building blocks that make up antioxidant enzymes. It is also crucial to the production of glutathione. Good dietary sources of selenium include:

• Seafood
• Oysters
• Brazil nuts
• Eggs
• Mushrooms
• Whole grains
• Organ meats
• Dairy products

DIRECT GLUTATHIONE SUPPLEMENTATION

While diet is the best (and preferred) way to boost glutathione levels, there are various glutathione supplements available. However, you need to know the details and do your homework because glutathione is a finicky molecule, and not all forms are absorbable.

For example, glutathione can be taken orally in its basic powder form. It is still destroyed by digestive enzymes in the small intestine, which leaves it to the three amino acids. It is made up of—glycine, glutamine, and cysteine. This digestive cleaving process is so effective that nearly all of the plain glutathione you would take by mouth would never make it into circulation.

A better option for oral supplementation is to take liposomal glutathione on an empty stomach. Liposomes are microscopic spheres made of the same natural phospholipids that make up our cell membranes with an active ingredient like glutathione contained and protected in the sphere’s center. Liposomal formulations have been shown to increase GSH levels and absorption.17 To use liposomal glutathione, start with 500 mg and increase to 1,000-2,000 mg per day as needed and tolerated under the supervision and advice of a doctor. Be sure to wait 45 minutes to allow for the absorption of liposomal glutathione before eating and drinking or taking other supplements.

Glutathione can also be taken as an inhaled form in a nebulizer. However, a physician needs to prescribe this form, which can then obtained from a compounding pharmacy. Other forms of supplemental glutathione include transdermal, creams, and IV use. The intravenous (IV) form is the most efficient way to deliver glutathione, but is invasive and may also require a prescription and doctor’s supervision.

Additionally, you can use targeted nutrients to increase your body’s natural production of glutathione indirectly. These include selenium, alpha-lipoic acid, NAC, and SAMe.

Glutathione Supplementation Summary

• Oral powder (not recommended)
• Liposomal glutathione formulation (recommended)
• Inhaled GSH with a special nebulizer (recommended but need a prescription)
• Transdermal and lotions (variable levels of absorption)
• IV (most effective but also most invasive)
• Boost levels with selenium, ALA, NAC, and/or SAMe (recommended)

Glutathione supplementation has a few rare side effects, including abdominal cramps, bloating, loose stools, gas, and possible allergic reactions such as rash. If you have asthma, avoid using inhaled GSH. Also, check with your doctor before taking glutathione if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Practices to Boost Glutathione

Glutathione is the master antioxidant, the knight in shining armor to your cell’s structure, DNA, proteins, lipids, membranes, and, most importantly, your mitochondria. It is, quite possibly, the secret to lasting health and longevity. Take care to maintain and even boost your levels every day.

This means eating a glutathione-rich diet, avoiding dietary saboteurs like processed foods and sugar, drinking 64 ounces of water a day, getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night, reducing stress, and exercising at least five days a week. Your body, your mind, and your cells will thank you.

Alternative Therapy Center in San Antonio, Texas

Alternative Therapy Center: Sana Vida Wellness Center

 

When looking for an alternative therapy center in San Antonio, Texas, the most obvious choice is the Sanavida wellness center. The Sanavida wellness center in San Antonio, Texas, is one of the premiere alternative therapy centers worldwide. This is because it is a direct primary care resource for providing health care to individuals with many unique health conditions.

 

San Antonio is home to the largest number of chiropractic doctors in the entire country. As a result, there are many options for finding a chiropractor in San Antonio. Here are some of the main options:

 

Treatment Options for Alternative Therapy Center

 

There are several treatment options at the San Antonio wellness center. One way that they offer alternative therapy is through the services of chiropractors. In this way, you will receive the chiropractic services recommended by your doctor without making a formal appointment. We can say the same about a physical therapist that is also licensed to perform chiropractic procedures.

 

Another way that the San Antonio wellness center offers various health care services is through its drug addiction treatment program. In this program, you will receive individual and group counseling and detoxification. In this section, you will meet with a registered counselor who will help you understand your problem and overcome it. The goal is to restore your body’s natural balance so that you will no longer have any chemical-based addictions, such as drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes.

 

If you interested in getting pregnant, you should also check out the San Antonio wellness center. At the San Antonio wellness center, you will meet with a qualified fertility specialist to tell you the best course of action for getting pregnant. In addition, they will also be able to help you with any infertility issues that you may be facing.

 

When you visit the alternative therapy center, it will give you information on several therapies that can help you with distinct problems you are struggling with. One we know is such a technique as acupressure. This form of alternative therapy is also used to relieve stress and tension. A skilled practitioner will teach you how to massage areas of your body related to your menstrual cycle to get rid of any discomfort you are experiencing.

 

Why Should You Choose Sanavida Alternative Therapy Center?

 

We know another technique that you can find at the alternative therapy center as reflexology. Reflexology aids in relieving pain and aches that you are feeling in a specific area of your body. By applying pressure to specific points on your body, you will provide your body with the proper amount of blood flow, which will cause you to have a healthier reproductive system. Many women who visit this San Antonio, Texas, alternative therapy center satisfy them with their learning techniques.

 

Sana Vida Wellness Center for Infertility

 

Acupuncture is also commonly used at the fertility clinic’s Sana Vida Wellness Center, San Antonio, Texas. You will learn how acupressure helps treat the causes of infertility and the many benefits that it can bring to a woman’s reproductive organs. The therapist you are seeing will also give you instructions on preparing for conception by increasing the amount of folic acid you are consuming. Besides this, herbal supplements can also promote a healthy pregnancy. Many couples have found that using these supplements will help speed up the time they become pregnant.

 

Final Words

 

Sana Vida Wellness Center, San Antonio, Texas fertility clinics can also help those who are dealing with infertility through other methods. Besides using massage therapy to help with tension and stress, they can also use acupressure on various problems. The techniques that are used here are very effective and do not use any drugs. One of the best things about visiting one of these centers is that you will get help from one of the leading practitioners in the world. You find your therapist will treat your infertility holistically, which will allow you to get the most from your treatments.

 

Call +1 210-879-4275

We’re here for all your health & wellness needs.

Sana Vida Wellness Center for Weight Loss Management Program

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What You Should Know About the Sana Vida Wellness Center for Weight Loss Management Program

Sana Vida Wellness Center for Weight Loss Management is not just another weight loss management program. It is a kind of program that incorporates the latest technology, innovative eating techniques, and healthy, natural weight loss supplements and vitamins. The Sana Vida wellness center of weight loss management program provides a complete range of weight loss services

Weight loss counseling, weight loss meals, weight loss supplements, weight loss exercises, and weight loss detoxification are some of the many services this weight loss management program provides. The Sana Vida health and wellness center in San Antonio is one of the finest options for people trying to control their weight. It serves individuals of all ages, from teenagers to seniors.

 

The weight loss management program allows clients to access online weight-loss counseling, weight loss meal plans, exercise plans, and weight loss detoxification. They can also get help with making their daily food choices by accessing a digital menu planner. This tool is very easy to use, and it offers clients a great variety of healthy and delicious foods. Clients can choose from hundreds of weight loss recipes, and they can make their weight loss meals in a matter of minutes.

 

Supplements for Weight Loss Management Program

 

The Sana Vida wellness center of weight loss management offers many high-quality supplements for a healthy, fit lifestyle. Some weight loss supplements included in the weight loss management program are Acai berry, Garcinia Cambogia extract, green tea extract, garcinia Cambogia extract, hoodie Gordonia, mangosteen, and whey protein. The supplement regimen offered at the weight loss center includes everything that clients need to lose weight effectively, safely, and easily. The weight loss supplement regimen and the weight loss programs offered at the wellness center of weight loss management are two very different approaches to weight loss, but they are both highly effective.

 

The Sana Vida weight loss management program and the weight-loss diet plan work together for clients to lose weight quickly and effectively. It assigned clients a counselor who will work with them one on one for several months. Counseling begins when a client first begins a weight loss management program. During this time, clients will learn all about the weight loss plan, and they will also learn about the supplements that they will need to take daily to help them lose weight. They will learn how to make healthy food choices, and they will learn how to eat to keep them feeling full for as long as possible.

 

As soon as a client has reached their goal weight, they may find out that they need to increase their weight loss efforts, or they may need to reduce their goals. Either way, once they have reached their weight loss goal, both the weight loss management plan and the weight-loss diet plan will provide support. This can help make it much easier for them to keep working toward their weight loss goals and reach their goal.

 

Weight Loss Options In Sana Vida Wellness

 

At the Sana Vida wellness center of weight loss management, several weight loss options are available. Clients can choose between short-term diets, weight loss supplements, exercise programs, and meal plans. The weight loss management program even includes educational videos, which will help to educate individuals about healthy nutrition and weight loss. The center’s strength training exercise program includes resistance training exercises, cardio exercise routines, and strength training workouts designed specifically for women of all ages.

 

The weight loss management at the Sana Vida wellness center provides clients with meal planning and nutrition education. It also provided clients with detailed information on portion control and weight loss management. This is vital because, while losing weight may be important, eating a balanced and healthy diet is also vital. When people eat healthy foods, it makes it far easier for them to lose weight. When people continue to eat unhealthy and fatty foods, the process of weight loss becomes more difficult.

 

Final Words: Sana Vida Wellness Center

 

Many individuals find that the Sana Vida weight loss management program and weight-loss diet work very well. They do not spend hours at the gym or on special diets and exercises. Rather, they find that simply eating healthy foods and exercising every day works great for them. Clients find that once they begin the weight loss management program at the Sana Vida wellness center, it improves their lives immediately. They enjoy eating healthy foods and taking part in fitness activities. They can feel positive about themselves again and accept the weight loss and the changes that occur.

Call +1 210-879-4275

We’re here for all your health & wellness needs

Hormone Wellness Center

Hormone Wellness Center – What You Should Know Before Hormone Treatment?

 

When looking for a center for hormone and wellness in San Antonio, TX, consider the Sanavida Hormone Wellness Center. This facility offers a full range of services for those who are interested in improving their health. They offer a full range of minimally invasive treatments for everything from obesity to migraine headaches.

 

Their major focus is to encourage better self-image and self-esteem and educate patients on hormone therapy, nutrition, and exercise. The primary goal is to foster a healthier lifestyle through education and empower patients with the tools they need to live healthy lifestyles in the future. As a result, many people leave here with a better body and mind.

 

Why Should You Choose Sana Vida Hormone Wellness Center?

 

“At the Sanavida Hormone Wellness Center, we believe each individual deserves a second chance at life. Each year, tens of thousands of women in San Antonio suffer. Often, they may not find out what options are available to them. There is a vast wealth of information on hormone therapy and other related treatments available for them at Hormone Health Center in San Antonio. At our wellness center, we believe every person may live a normal life. Our doctors and nurses have years of experience and education to help you find a treatment that will work best for your particular needs.”

 

Another reason many people choose Sanavida Hormone Wellness Center is the different treatments they offer, especially for women. Some of the well-known programs offered at the wellness center include Breast Actives, Gynecomastia Treatment, the Lose Man Pregnancy Program, the menopause program, Postmenopausal Women’s Program, and Testim Enhancement Therapy. These programs have treated particular conditions and ailments while helping women reclaim their bodies.

 

Wellness and Hormone Therapy Center for Women

 

Many women find that having hormone therapy administered by a qualified professional at the Hormone Wellness Center is very beneficial. Women have been coming to the center for years with questions and concerns about their bodies, such as breast tissue growth, excessive hair growth, hot flashes, and fatigue. Working with a well-trained and licensed professional can assure patients that their bodies receive the best hormone treatments possible, promoting healthy growth, increased energy, and a greater sense of self.

 

Many women suffering from menopause or women experiencing hot flashes feel overwhelmed by the many products on the market today. Hormone therapy is a great way for women to feel more confident in their bodies and regain control of their lives. When visiting the center, we recommend women visit the onsite doctor who performs hormonal treatments and the holistic approach program, which is an excellent way to address the many underlying causes of menopause symptoms.

 

Holistic approaches do not use synthetic medications or harsh chemicals that trigger allergic reactions or cause other negative side effects. Instead, the program works with a patient’s body chemistry in mind, working with herbs and vitamins to encourage the natural healing process and address any underlying medical conditions.

 

Types of Hormone Therapy in Sana Vida, San Antonio TX

 

The center’s main issues include hot flashes, sleep disorders, depression, fatigue, and menopause symptoms. While there are many types of hormone therapy available, the holistic approach program treats the body. Women can the center is safe and uses high-quality products that enhance overall health, rather than masking a symptom or setting a patient up for more discomfort. Some of the top products the center offers include Breast Actives, capsules, and pessaries, which contain natural ingredients which stimulate breast development. Women can also benefit from the vitamins and herbs used in the program, including Vitamin E, Saw Palmetto, Dandelion Root, Ginseng, Aloe Vera, and Fennel.

 

The hormone therapy approach at the wellness center in San Antonio allows patients to reduce their stress levels through yoga and meditation classes, which they can take while on their program. Menopause is one of the most common reasons women visit the center, and it can often be an emotionally overwhelming time.

 

Many women who visit the wellness center in San Antonio feel less anxiety and tension and sleep better at night. Women often come for hormone treatment as a last resort to ease other medical conditions or just as a fun way to try new things. Sometimes, women stop taking hormone therapy because of an adverse reaction or a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.

 

Final Words: Hormone Wellness Center

 

The Sana Vida Wellness and Hormone Center in San Antonio, TX, also have a support group and online forum where clients can share their experiences with hormone therapy and ask questions about combat menopause. In this way, the women get a voice to openly discuss their emotions and the treatments they are already receiving. Even though hormone treatment is often the last resort for women, many feel less nervous and frustrated about the situation. They have a support group that understands their situation and offers sound advice. For these reasons, visiting a San Antonio wellness center may be just the right option for you.

 

Don’t feel hesitation to Call 

+1 210-879-4275

We’re here for all your health & wellness needs.

Call +1 210-879-4275

We’re here for all your health & wellness needs