Immunity is a hot topic at the moment and luckily there is so much we can do to support our lovely immune system.

We can start with the basics: get lots of sleep, cut out sugar, have a positive mindset.

If you get all of these right then you probably do not need much else…but I do love the jazzy bits we can add in to turbocharge our immunity and there is one really super thing that we can take into consideration right now….

…Glutathione!

Have you heard of this? If not it is an extremely, powerful, natural antioxidant. We have 100s of studies linking low levels of glutathione to illnesses including obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s AND our old fave Covid-19.

STOP PRESS: EVEN hangover symptoms can be a result of glutathione deficiency..this may make you want to read on!

I love this quote ‘Death is basically a glutathione deficiency syndrome‘ Edward Fogarty- he clearly doesn’t mess around!

Glutathione actually repairs DNAย (yes repairs DNA) and is a master detoxifier. This means it clears up all the pollutants that our bodies produce plus all the ones we are exposed to in the environment such as heavy metals, pesticides, drugs, radiation etc..

Glutathione is found in every single cell in our bodies. This is more than can be said for Vitamin C and E! But it works synergistically with these vitamins and other anti-oxidants like CoQ10 to make them even more powerful.

So how do we boost our glutathione levels?

The mineral seleniumย can increase glutathione. Other things to increase glutathione would be: whey protein, sulphur-rich foods such as meat, broccoli, garlic, yoghurt (glutathione contains sulphur) plus vitamin C and E.

Glutathione is made by our bodies from the amino acids: cysteine, glycine and glutamate and it is cysteine that we really need to ensure we have enough glutathione. So to get more glutathione…we need more cysteine!

Where do we get cysteine from?

Well it is found in protein such as:ย pork, beef, chicken, fish, lentils, oatmeal, eggs, yoghurt, sunflower seeds, and cheese.

But many people are using N-acetylcysteine (NAC) to ramp glutathione production up. For example; NAC is used to treat paracetamol overdoses where we need lots of glutathione to detoxify that stuff.

N-Acetylcysteine

So NAC has become a super supplement in its own right. It has been studied to prevent flu symptoms, slow down HIV replication in cells, reduce inflammation in pneumonia and shorten stays in intensive care for those on a ventilator with pneumonia.

NAC is often used to break up mucous! This is very important for respiratory tract infections. Now interestingly, it also seems to mitigate blood clotting and coagulation. This actually means it is relevant for something like Covid-19 where deaths were also attributed to blood clotting causing heart attacks and strokes- got a double-action here supporting lungs and cardiovascular system.

The hangover bit: If you were reading on just for this then 200mg of NAC taken 30 minutes before drinking may be the one to offset the effects of the hangover says Dr Mercola.

So you might want to start taking NAC? I’m not a supplements girl but actually I did use a lot of NAC when feeling under the weather and it was pretty great. However, if you are really not into supplements (or you can’t get hold of NAC) then don’t worry my herbal hero milk thistle can also help!

Milk Thistle for Glutathione

Milk thistle works so well that its a very popular herb! I actually remember buying some at Uni so it had clearly filtered through to even my consciousness (I was not into herbs back then) that milk thistle was good for the liver.

Milk thistle is rich in silymarin which stimulates glutathione production and it is INCREDIBLE how we can use milk thistle.

My favourite is that silymarin (from Milk thistle) is used therapeutically to repair and heal a quickly dissolving liver which is a side effect from anyone who ingests the deadly Amanita phalloides (Angel of Death) mushroom.

Studies have reported that people treated with silymarin (and also Doctors do throw in NAC too ๐Ÿ˜‰) do remarkably well! To the extent that after nearly dying of liver dissolving into sludge- they then seem to be back to normal in a few months.

Milk thistle is the superhero for our times with liver disease becoming the leading cause of death for those aged 35-49 years old.

I would actually recommend taking milk thistle daily as a prophylactic as its so safe- it’s just a lovely seed from a thistle.

I grind the seeds up and add them to things like porridge, smoothies, and other seed based dishes.

If you are thinking about silymarin the best way to extract it is using high-strength alcohol though so I would also recommended taking milk thistle tincture instead of tablets. (Although the Chinese would do a strong decoction so simmering the seeds on the stove for a few hours and drinking the water would also be quite nice.)

I actually wrote my dissertation on milk thistle so I will actually follow this up with a whole blog dedicated to this wonderful plant!