Something magnificent about the human body is that nothing serves one function. Everything in the body has multiple functions, mechanisms, and purposes. This is no exception to the various antioxidants produced by the body. For example, one of the most important antioxidants our body makes; glutathione, not only protects our cells from oxidative damage but is also key for proper thyroid function.
As it turns out, optimizing the production and regeneration of this master antioxidant may be the key to correcting Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and restoring proper thyroid function. But before we explain exactly how to do that, let’s learn a little bit more about glutathione.
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione is one of the many molecules that exerts an antioxidant, or protective effect, on the cells that make up the body. As mentioned, it has many functions aside from this; it not only shields cells from damage caused by oxidation, it inhibits inflammation, supports in the detoxification of cellular wastes, supports immune system function and is essential for proper thyroid health.
Considering the many important roles of glutathione, if your body stops producing it in sufficient quantities, the body will be more vulnerable to:
- chemical sensitivities
- heavy metals
- toxins (environmental toxins, bacteria, viruses, etc.)
- intestinal permeability (leaky gut)
- developing diabetes, autoimmune disease, hypothyroidism and other degenerative diseases
The Glutathione - Thyroid Connection
Glutathione is produced in the cytosol (the liquid inside the cell) and is delivered into the mitochondria where it works to protect these energy-producing powerhouses from damage. In doing so, glutathione ensures the oxidation of glucose for the production of ATP (energy) and can prevent diabetes-induced by free radical damage. 1
This is important for thyroid function because one of the primary jobs of the thyroid hormone is to ensure the proper oxidation of glucose for energy. If glutathione levels are inadequate, there is a greater likelihood that the cells will not properly utilize glucose for energy, resulting in a downregulation of the thyroid gland.
In fact, studies have found a strong correlation between the inability to recycle glutathione and Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Glutathione recycling not only supports glucose metabolism but also plays a direct role in the production and conversion of the thyroid hormones. 2, 3, 4
What Lowers Glutathione Production
By now, it probably goes without saying that supporting optimal glutathione levels is essential for restoring thyroid function. Therefore, it is important we know both what hinders glutathione production and what supports it.
Let’s begin by removing the cause, which is predominantly stress.
Research has found that stress hormones impair the production of glutathione in the mitochondrial by dramatically increasing mitochondrial oxygen consumption and reactive oxygen species formation or by increasing glutathione exchange between mitochondria and the cytosol. 5
Reducing the production of stress hormones with adaptogen herbs, like the ones found in Revitalize is an effective way to support glutathione levels.
Aside from the use of anti-stress adaptogens, it would be wise to proactively reduce other stressors such as the consumption of alcohol, junk foods, skipping meals, sleep deprivation, polyunsaturated fats, and overexercising.
In addition to reducing the causes of low glutathione, there are some effective ways to increase its production. Really quick though, keep in mind that oral glutathione supplements do not work to increase the levels in the serum. A more effective strategy would be to use an IV drip, which can increase glutathione levels and your general antioxidant status but will not increase glutathione inside the cells.
That being said, here are some tips to consider:
- Selenium will help to increase your body’s own production of glutathione in the cell.
- Cordyceps can lower stress hormones that impair glutathione levels, while supporting mitochondrial function and the production of glutathione.
- Milk thistle contains antioxidants like silymarin, which inhibits the generation of free radicals that decrease glutathione levels. Studies have found milk thistle can thereby improve glutathione levels and other antioxidant levels. 6
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