Although the brain signals us when we haven't had enough sleep through various different ways (headaches, sugar cravings, cognitive impairment, decreased immunity, muscle pain, fatigue etc), if we are ignoring these signals then they're not really achieving anything. Data shows that more and more of us are ignoring these signs and that the percentage of adults who sleep less than 6 hours each night is now at an all time never seen before high.
So is feeling awake and being able to carry out every day tasks all we need to sleep for? Nope, it's not. Historically we've believed that sleep was only required to maintain cognitive function the next day - but we now have compelling evidence that impaired sleep and sleep loss is linked to multiple consequences with astounding public health repercussions. Sleep loss has been linked to hormone dysregulation (specifically leptin and ghrelin, which greatly affects our appetite), impaired glucose intolerance and higher risk of diabetes, and scarily enough, cardiovascular disease. Sleep loss is a large contributor to hypertension (high blood pressure), and your risk of a fatal heart attack increases FORTY FIVE PERCENT in individuals who consistently sleep 5 hour per night or less. Collectively, these examples demonstrate wide-ranging consequences of sleep loss on physical health.
When it's day time and we're walking around going about our routine - we’re in a continuous catabolic state (the break down and use of our body for everyday functioning). When we’re asleep, we’re in an anabolic state (our bodies are being repaired and restored in preparation for use the next day). Loads of important healing mechanisms occur while we sleep and these include organ, muscle and tissue repair, improved brain function, hormone balance, strengthening of the immune system, boosting metabolism, increased energy production, and so much more. That sounds kind of important, right? Well it is, but thanks to 24-hour supermarkets, high-stress jobs and facebook - sleep isn’t as prioritised as it should be.
So what can you do to ensure a restful sleep?
There are a number of things we can do here. As always, it starts with viewing health holistically and assessing the true cause of what's making you unable to fall asleep and stay asleep.
-Prioritise looking after your gut health: there are certain neurotransmitters that need to be activated in order for us to fall asleep and stay asleep. One of these is melatonin. Did you know that there is 400 x more melatonin found in our gut, than in our brain? This means that gut health is extremely important in inducing sleep. Serotonin, which is the precursor to melatonin and required for its conversion, is also made in the gut. For more information on how to heal your gut - just ask me!
-Reduce alcohol intake and don’t drink it before bed: Although alcohol has been found to induce sleep, it's also been shown to cause you to spend less time in a restful sleep and therefore contributes to mid-night waking.
-Try and get into a routine. The more you prioritise sleeping and rising at the same time, your body will adjust to making this happen. This is called your circadian rhythm and it’s one of the most important aspects to a proper sleep. Try your best to maintain this routine on the weekends as well.
-Make sure you see the sun in the daytime. Sleeping well at night time actually starts in the morning. Our circadian rhythm works via light and darkness, and getting exposure to daylight stimulates specific physiological functions within our bodies to be awake and alert. These physiological functions release daytime hormones that are needed to regulate our circadian rhythm for proper sleeping later on, once exposed to darkness.
-Activate your blue light on your mobile phone after 9pm - (which is a bright light filter). Stimulating lights tell our brain that it’s time to be alert, active and sharp which is not ideal when wanting to fall asleep. The hormones required to allow us to sleep (melatonin) are activated by darkness. As a result of mobile phones, televisions, alarm clocks and computer screens, many biological processes are being stimulated at the wrong times of the day. When our bodies are exposed to artificial sources of light at night time, the release of hormones such as cortisol are elevated artificially outside of their natural timing, regulated by the circadian rhythm. When cortisol is high, melatonin is low.
-Listen to a meditation for 15-20 minutes before sleeping per night. This might feel silly at first, but once you get into the routine you will miss it when you don’t have it. If your partner will be disrupted, get some earphones - just don’t blare them too loudly in your ears. You can listen to guided meditations or purely just natural sounds found in the environment. Youtube has an abundance of meditations but if you don't find any you resonate with - just ask me.
-Do at least 15 minutes of light exercise per day.
-Drink teas to promote sleep such as chamomile, passionflower or valerian. Make sure they are unbleached tea bags and also without caffeine.
-Breathe slowly. It might feel silly, but it works. Breathe really slowly and try to focus only on your breath. Your mind will wander and that’s ok! But try and bring it back to your breath as often as you can. If you do this for 5-10 minutes whilst you are lying in bed, you relax your central nervous system and allow sleep mechanisms to activate.
-Burn lavender essential oil or chamomile oil for 1 hour before sleeping.
-Create a nice area around you that you feel calm in. Space is so important. You need to enter a calming space that relaxes you, not stresses you out. A cluttered room may affect your sleep.
-Consume proteins rich in amino acids at night time to promote sleep. Examples of some sleep supporting after dinner snacks could be bone broth or grass-fed boiled eggs. Bone broth also contains high amounts of glycine which has been found to induce sleep through thermoregulation. Glycine’s also extremely restorative for your gut - to help that serotonin and melatonin along some more! Some sugar free cookies baked with oats is a great choice too - oats contain tryptophan which is a precursor to melatonin - our neurotransmitter that puts us to sleep! Other tryptophan-rich foods include chicken, turkey, fish, beans, chickpeas, lentils, organic soy milk and other whole grains such as spelt and brown rice. Try using these in your dinner where possible.
-Eliminate all stimulatory agents such as caffeine, sugar, soft drinks and energy drinks after 12pm. Avoid sugar as much as possible closer to the end of the day - as it’s hugely stimulatory to the brain and our blood sugar levels. There’s a catch 22 if chocolate is your favourite night time snack. Compounds found in dark chocolate can be stimulatory, they act in the same way as caffeine. But the alternative which is milk chocolate usually contains loads of sugar! So neither are ideal. Stick with your dark chocolate but reduce the amount you are having to see whether this may be affecting your sleep. Plenty of people get stimulated from these caffeine-like compounds without even knowing it.
-Make sure you are not taking supplements at night time that are stimulatory such as B Vitamins or protein powders containing caffeine or green tea.
-Avoid any simple carbohydrates all together at night time such as white pasta, white bread, white rice, cookies, cakes, biscuits and unrefined flours. These spike your blood sugar levels which has a stimulatory action.
Written by Brittani Kolasinski - Clinical Nutritionist (Adv.Dip Nut.Med, final term BHSc NutMed), indulger and lover of all things food!
Have you ever noticed the changes to your appetite depending on your mood? Or the fluttering feeling in your stomach at the thought of public speaking, or those first date nerves? – well, it may or may not come as a surprise to you that our gut and brain are more closely connected than we first thought, and, the science is all confirming this; referring to it as our ‘gut-brain connection’. They’re even going so far as to call our stomach the ‘second brain’. With this is mind, let us chat about all things ‘gut and brain’ and look at how one affects the other and vice versa…
An Overview of digestion
Digestion begins well before food even touches our lips. The very thought of food, the sight, the smell while it's cooking - this all begins to stimulate salivary enzyme secretion within the mouth, which ultimately begins the process of digestion itself. This process is referred to as the ‘cephalic phase’. These enzymes help to break down the food as we chew and then swallow, enjoying every bit! This continues as it reaches the stomach, with hydrochloric acid and other enzymes combined with muscular movement to further break down these larger molecules to smaller ones. Following this it will enter our small intestine, which is where the majority of our absorption occurs, allowing our micronutrients and broken-down macronutrients (carbs, fats, proteins) to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Then they can travel throughout the body to their destinations providing our bodies with the fuel and nutrients it needs to function optimally.
Introducing your microbiome
From the small intestine, undigested fibres enter the large intestine which houses majority of our bacteria, referred to as the ‘microbiome’. These bacterias ‘feed’ (they actually ferment, but to think of it as feeding is probably more simple) on these fibres, creating energy for the bowels and other substances maintaining the health of our body as a whole.
In saying this, it is vital to eat a fibre-rich diet to ensure that the health of our microbiome is in-tact and promotes diversity of different strains of beneficial bacteria. In turn, a diet rich in simple sugars and processed foods actually feeds the ‘bad’ kinds of bacteria, promoting their growth. This can lead to issues with candida overgrowth (yeast infections/thrush), inflammation, weakened immunity and other concerns relative to our mental health such as depression and anxiety (Sonnenburg & Sonnenburg, 2014; Flint et al, 2014; Jameel et al, 2014; Brymora et al, 2011).
With new researchers stating that our gut bacteria may help to regulate and reduce conditions such as anxiety, poor mood, cognition and pain, it’s now thought that modulation of the colonies of beneficial bacteria within our bowels may be a strategy for treatment of more complex central nervous system disorders (Cryan & Dinan, 2012; Reardon, 2014).
Serotonin, for example, is a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of happiness and it promotes bowel motility & digestive function. It's also the precursor to melatonin (required for sleep). It is one of the many products that our microbiome provide, in fact, 97% of our serotonin is produced in our guts! (Kim & Camilleri, 2000).
Impact of inflammation
When inflammation is present within the gut it creates these ‘gaps’ within the lining of our small intestine, allowing not just our broken-down macronutrients and micronutrients to get into the bloodstream, but also larger, toxic particles to enter that ideally should be eliminated via the bowels. When these are freely released into the bloodstream they can end up crossing our blood-brain barrier, resulting in neuro-inflammation. This can contribute to feelings of depression, as well as other more chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s & dementia (Kelly et al, 2015; Eikelenboom et al, 2010).
The effects of stress
Stress will also impair digestion and results in inflammation. High stress can also deplete our levels of beneficial bacteria, and when our sympathetic nervous system (our fight or flight response) is enhanced our body will slow down other processes, such as digestion, menstruation in women, immune function and more (Moloney et al, 2014).
With the day and age we live in we are constantly stimulated and can go day to day in this mild, chronically stressed state. With working hard and long hours, being contactable via phone or email 24/7, bombarded with traumatic global news, time constraints and other relationship or family concerns to add to the mix, its no wonder our bodies are perceiving this constant stress as a threat, and therefore conserving energy from other functions (as mentioned above) to get you away from the threat itself, when sadly, the very threat is our constant hustle and daily life!
When we are eating in this stressed out state our digestive function is compromised. Less hydrochloric acid is produced for one, reducing our digestive capacity and resulting in heartburn, indigestion, bloating, discomfort and reflux. We might also be eating on the run or consuming ready-made meals which leaves out the whole first stage of digestion - the cephalic phase. For a large number of us this is a common daily occurrence and with the reduced digestive capacity, our absorption of nutrients is also reduced (Mönnikes et al, 2001).
These nutrients are needed for the body to function, by providing the cofactors for biochemical reactions to take place, for neurotransmitter synthesis – to optimise brain function and in turn help us to tolerate some of the stressors. Mindful eating is a brilliant practice that brings the focus back to our meal, the present time, how we are feeling while we eat, chewing slowly, enjoying every moment – not in front of the TV blinded to the mouth pleasure you're chowing down on (Dalen et al, 2010).
What else reduces stress?
-Movement - Studies have shown the benefits of exercise on reducing stress and improving brain function, memory and learning abilities. This is in part due to the production of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) (Huang et al, 2014).
-Getting outdoors - Also referred to as ‘earthing’ actually has profound beneficial effects on our stress response, immune function as well as reducing inflammation (Oschman et al, 2015). Try taking your lunch break outside if you can, waking a bit earlier to get outdoors first thing in the morning, or even in the evening, walking barefoot through the park or just finding an inner-city garden to sit and let your mind wander.
-Meditation & relaxation – however that looks for each of us individually. Meditation & mindfulness has an impact on reducing inflammation, taking us out of this sympathetic nervous system dominant state and has also been shown to provide anti-aging benefits to our brains – incredible stuff! (Edenfield & Blumenthal, 2011; Hölzel et al, 2011; Jerath et al, 2006).
It makes a world of difference to take just 10 minutes out of your day, wake that little bit earlier to get in a walk, take time to sit and breathe deeply. It is vital to incorporate these soul-nourishing practices into the day, we are all worth the extra effort.
Take home notes:
For those food-loving, health conscious, eager-to-learn-more types you can find referenced articles, like this one, blog posts, recipes, food pics + more here:
I spent the majority of my teenage life and early 20s wondering how so many people I knew kept getting diagnosed with cancer. Cancer was just everywhere and it still is. I, like so many other people, thought that cancer was an unexplained mystery in the medical world and that we had no leads on what causes it. Then I did a health science degree and I learnt that we've actually come really far in learning what increases someone's chance of developing particular cancers and we have a small, yet sound understanding on how to help prevent it.
I feel like it's my role as a nutritional medicine practitioner to share the current research on cancer prevention. No conspiracy theories, no attacking the pharmaceutical companies and no assumptions on what caused someone's cancer. Just cold hard facts on what the current medical research says and what you can do to minimise your risk. Please read this and share it with your friends and family. It is some of the most relevant, important and life changing information you and your family can abide by.
The statistics relating to cancer diagnosis are quite astounding. The future is not looking promising. Please note I am not suggesting that nutritional deficiencies or not getting an 8 hour sleep is why your next door neighbour got breast cancer and I am not pretending to be a doctor or an oncologist. I am a clinical nutritional medicine practitioner who has extensively studied and been examined on the effects of nutrients and their lack of on the human body. Whether this plays a 30% or 60% part in cancer development and diagnosis I am not certain (the research is mixed). Also dietary effects vary on the type of cancer. For example, 70% of all colorectal cancers are linked to diet. I suspect based on the medical literature I have reviewed that our exposure to a wide range of external pollutants and chemicals play a large role too, as well as genetics, smoking, alcohol and obesity. All these things have been found to induce cancer. However all I am going to comment on in this article is what I am sure of. Nutritional medicine.
There are more than 20,000 different phytochemicals (plant compounds) that have been identified in food to have a cancer protective effect. 20,000. Amongst these are mostly antioxidants such as resveratrol and quercetin, sulphur compounds such as indole-3 carbinol and a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
Isothiocyanates, compounds found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, mustard greens and turnips possess the ability to express genes that are needed to halt tumour progression and are therefore cancer preventative. A meta-analysis published in 2012 found that a high intake of broccoli was linked with a 15% reduction in breast cancer risk, and a high intake of cruciferous vegetables in total can reduce cancer risk by THIRTY PERCENT.
Green tea also contains an amazing plant compound called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) which activates genes in our body that have a sole purpose to halt the progression of tumours. This is incredible. Research has shown that regular green tea drinking has a significant and clinically noticeable impact on skin, stomach and lung cancer. EGCG exerts this action through its powerful antioxidant activity.
The skin of an eggplant contains a particular flavonoid called ‘nasunin’, which is a potent antioxidant, meaning it will help protect your cells against damage. But most importantly, nasunin protects the cholesterol in your blood from being a highly reactive toxic form - which in turn can cause cancer. Other foods that contain cancer preventative flavonoids are all purple, red, orange or yellow fruits and vegetables.
Garlic has been shown to actually eradicate cancerous cells. This effectively means it is promoting the same action as chemotherapy (relax - i’m not suggesting you should eat garlic instead of taking chemotherapy. I’m just sharing interesting facts). Onions have a similar anticancer profile, where there are actually 30 different plant compounds present in these two foods combined to help reduce tumour growth and prevent cell mutations. One particular study concluded that eating 85g of garlic, onion and other vegetables in their families can reduce stomach cancers by FORTY PERCENT!!!!
Fermented, organic soy proteins also contain powerful anticancer properties in the development of breast cancer. These compounds are called isoflavones and they have protected large soy eating populations all around the world from increased incidences of breast cancer. Whilst soy is quite an unpopular food choice among many people, the type of soy being consumed makes all the difference. Soy oil, isolated protein, GMO soy flours and basically any monsanto produced soy product is absolutely not what we are discussing here. GMO soy is detrimental to health. However organic, fermented soy products in the form of miso, tempeh and beans have shown to be extremely protective against prostate cancer and breast cancer. I am yet to find any research illustrating its detriment. Most impressively, soy products containing isoflavones consumed by a child have shown reduced risk of breast cancer incidence as an adult.
Processed meats that have been preserved by the addition of preservatives or by smoking, curing or salting meat is unfortunately directly linked to an increased risk of cancer. This includes ham, bacon, smoked chicken, pastrami and salami. As little as 25g of processed meat per day has been found to increase someone’s risk of developing cancer by 50%. That’s HUGE. Removing these foods or drastically reducing them from my clients diets is a huge priority for me in clinical practice.
Many research papers have shown that refined sugars, independent of any other energy sources (this means the particular types of refined sugars were singled out in studies), more than DOUBLED the cancer risk of the participants. It’s also presented with very strong links to breast cancer development. High fructose corn syrup in particular, which is found in almost all your packaged and processed foods, has one of the strongest links to cancer development and progression. The link between sugar and cancer happens through quite a few different mechanisms. Firstly, a high sugar intake causes oxidative stress and inflammation, and cancer cells rely on glucose, which all sugars convert to once inside our body. Tumour cells are dependent on glucose because they use it to produce metabolites required to grow.
Let’s talk about fibre. I know i’ve focused on this food group a lot recently on my social media but fibre’s one of the most, if not the most important food groups to ensure you are incorporating into every single one of your meals. One of fibre’s most impressive qualities lies in its cancer prevention mechanisms. Fibre has the ability to protect the cancer cells naturally present in our colon and stop them from replicating. Basically, fibre reduces concentrations of mutagenic compounds (chemicals that can cause cancer) by speeding up the process of them passing through the bowel therefore reducing the length of time that we are exposed to these mutagens. FASCINATING. And effective at preventing cancer.
A folate deficiency (Vitamin B9) has been linked to cancer through its effect on DNA damage. This means that the impact on not having enough of this vitamin in our cells can impair normal cell structure and therefore increase risk of mutant cell replication, i.e cancer. Deficiencies in Vitamin C, E, B2, B6, B12, magnesium, iron and zinc are all risk factors due to this same pathway.
Selenium has been found to be a promising chemopreventive and anticancer agent. Many studies have concluded selenium is hugely indicated in cancer prevention and recently has shown to be useful as a cancer treatment and to halt tumour progression. One particular study demonstrated that selenium can be used as an anti-metastasis (anti-growth and development) agent in breast cancer treatment. Selenium can be found mostly in brazil nuts, organic fatty fish such as salmon and trout, organic eggs, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, mushrooms, beans and brown rice.
Vitamin D is one the most researched cancer protective vitamins. It’s mostly researched in relation to breast cancer and colorectal cancer. The mechanism of action for vitamin D being protective against cancer lies in its ability to help our cells recognise foreign pathogens and activate the pathways we need to fight it.
Curcumin, which is the active compound found in turmeric, is one of the most extensively researched compounds for its cancer preventative qualities. Curcumin is involved in regulating gene expression in various cancer cells and has been shown to inhibit inflammation and carcinogenesis in cancers of the breast, esophagus, stomach, and colon.
Tomatoes also contain an antioxidant called lycopene which has been found to effectively inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Whilst there is weak evidence on the link between pesticide use from conventional farming and cancer (I suspect the research on this will be slow coming - there is too much to lose), some studies have linked herbicides with soft tissue sarcoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and leukemia. However, what has been studied is the levels of antioxidants and plant compounds in organically farmed fruit and vegetables - they are found in almost double the amount. Therefore, eating organic fruit and vegetables dramatically increases your intake of the antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins and minerals that we have discussed here, that are required for preventing cancer growth.
This is just a SMALL PART of what you can include in your diet to help you prevent cancer. There are so many other researched nutrients that have these effects. But there is a common theme here, and that’s a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables WILL HELP YOU PREVENT CANCER. We have everything we need in food to help us stop disease forming. Our bodies have healing and repair mechanisms in every. single. organ. Our healing abilities are incredible, but we definitely don’t give them enough credit. We’ve seen all these compounds and nutrients that have SOLE ACTIONS to prevent cancer, yet we mostly don’t prioritise getting them into our diet. Some think we have no control over a cancer diagnosis, but now we know we do have some control. Eat well to save your life. It’s very simple, really.
Commonly referred to as the ‘building blocks of life’, amino acids are far more crucial than what you think. They are absolutely critical for healthy functioning bodies. 20% of the human body is made from protein and amino acids are the building blocks that support this process.
Amino acids are required in virtually all biological processes. They are key structural components of all the tissues in our body, they provide structure to our cells and they perform functions that no other compounds can take credit for. They are involved in the transport and storage of nutrients and they are one of the most important elements to healing and repairing tissue. Amino acids critically support our body as a whole. A diet void of amino acids is a diet void of life. Just joking. But seriously.
Amino acids are most abundantly found in animal based foods but are also present in great amounts in plants.
There are 9 amino acids in particular which are called essential amino acids, because our body cannot synthesise them. This means, it is ESSENTIAL that we obtain them in the diet every. single. day.
Animal products contain all the essential amino acids in one, but the vegan diet may be a little more difficult to ensure all 9 are being consumed each day. Without them, the body’s cells use their own proteins to get the missing aminos. Eventually, this leads to muscle and organ degradation which would cause a whole host of systemic problems down the line.
Here’s a run through of the essential amino acids, what they do and where to get them in plant foods.
L-phenylalanine is an essential amino acid that is converted into another amino acid called tyrosine. This amino acid is needed to form important brain chemicals (neurotransmitters and hormones) and thyroid hormones, which are responsible for the regulation of our metabolism.
Vegan sources of phenylalanine include pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, almonds and pistachios.
Valine promotes the repair of tissues. It helps with energy production, regulates blood sugar levels and assists with normal growth and development.
Vegan sources of valine include soy products such as tofu or soy protein isolate, spirulina, mushrooms, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds and whole grains such as brown rice or whole oats.
Leucine is the fourth most concentrated amino acid found within muscle tissue. Leucine helps to maintain nitrogen balance and energy supply.
Vegan foods rich in this amino acid include soybeans, hemp seeds, peanuts, almonds, lentils, whole oats, chickpeas, corn and rice.
Isoleucine is also involved in muscle development and repair. It is broken down by the body to provide energy within the muscle tissue and assist the body when recovering from strenuous physical exercise.
Vegan sources of isoleucine include all seeds, nuts, lentils, soy protein isolate, spirulina, spinach, cabbage and kidney beans.
This is a key essential amino acid that helps to build a healthy immune system. It is involved in the development of antibodies and has important antiviral properties. Studies show that this particular amino acid is especially beneficial for safeguarding against herpes virus. Lysine also assists with the formation of collagen and muscle tissue.
Vegan sources of lysine include hemp seeds, lima beans, potatoes, savoury yeast flakes, soy products, raw watercress and spirulina.
This essential amino acid helps to maintain the balance of protein within the body and therefore supports normal growth and development. It is also involved in supporting the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, immune function, and liver function. Threonine is required to produce the amino acids serine and glycine that produce elastin, collagen and muscle tissue.
Vegan sources of this essential amino acid include grains (brown rice, whole oats, buckwheat, rye or wheat), lentils, flaxseed, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, chickpeas, walnuts, almonds, spinach, asparagus and mushrooms.
This is an important one. Tryptophan is required to produce the elusive neurotransmitter serotonin. The level of serotonin in the body has a direct influence on emotions and mood and deficiency has been linked in numerous studies to a higher risk of anxiety and depression.
The best vegan sources of tryptophan can be found in brown rice, hemp seeds, peanuts, spirulina, mushrooms, asparagus, kidney beans, mung beans and soy protein.
Methionine is a sulphur-containing essential amino acid and one of the most researched amino acids. It has been found to support the growth of new blood vessels, be involved in wound healing, reduces risk of mental health disorders, supports neurotransmitters and hormones and is involved in our liver detoxification pathways. The body also needs high levels of methionine to produce other amino acids as well as the powerful glutathione. Read here http://www.thenutrientproject.com.au/articles/gluta-what for information on what glutathione is.
Good natural and vegan sources of methionine include lentils, garlic, onions, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, soybeans, spirulina, mushrooms and beans.
Histidine is the amino acid that is most abundant in haemoglobin, the iron-rich protein that carries oxygen to every cell in the human body. Therefore, ensuring adequate intake of histidine through food is incredibly vital. Histidine deficiency has been linked to cataracts, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic allergies.
Vegan sources of histidine include firm tofu, hemp seeds, spirulina, kidney beans and sunflower seeds.
If you feel you are not acquiring enough of these compounds in your diet, that doesn’t mean you should go to a health food store and buy a single amino acid and just focus on that. Amino acids works synergistically with other amino acids, other nutrients and other compounds. As you can see, most nutrients are precursors to other nutrients, meaning supplementing or targeting one specific vitamin won’t necessarily change what you are trying to achieve. This is why food is the most ideal form of changing nutrient intake - because vitamins and minerals don’t exist alone in food. They exist together, like nature just knew what we needed to continue living strong, healthy and happy lives!
It’s arguably the most important thing we need to consider when preventing disease. Its proper function keeps us extremely healthy, it helps all of our detoxification pathways work effectively and it’s one of the most crucial molecules for our immune system. Yet, you probably don't know what it is. Deficiency has been linked to heart disease, cancer, chronic infections, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, fatigue, liver disease and more. So, what is this amazing thing I speak of? Is it acai berries laced in coconut oil? No it’s not ladies and gentlemen. It’s glutathione.
Glutathione is a molecule that is produced naturally by our own body. It functions as a master antioxidant, whereby toxins and heavy metals bind to it and can be eliminated through our bile and stool. Its functions are extremely impressive. Glutathione can quite literally bind to carcinogens, that is, cancer causing chemicals and help your body excrete them. The best part is that glutathione is not a tablet and it’s not being sold by your local personal trainer as a weight loss agent. It’s our own innate natural detoxifying mechanism and all it needs for proper functioning is support.
Glutathione is highly functional and health supportive, except for when the toxic load becomes too great. Here lies the problem. Nutrient deficiencies and overall poor diet, stress, pollution and medications have all been found to cause depletion of glutathione function.
The good news is that there are many things we can do to increase the function of this molecule in our body. As always, nutrients are to the rescue.