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The Glutathione and Testosterone Relationship

Testosterone is the essential male hormone. It is responsible for physical performance, virility and health. Elevate your T levels and you’ll boost your muscle mass, strength and athleticism – you’ll look and feel better.

In this article we’ll tell you about glutathione – a protein with the ability to improve overall health and wellness, as well supporting the optimization of your testosterone levels. Anyone interested in boosting their T levels will want to give this one a read.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • What is glutathione?
  • In which foods will you find it?
  • How does it support testosterone?
  • How to boost glutathione without supplements

What is glutathione?

Glutathione is an antioxidant, important in regulating overall health and wellness. It is a protein composed of three different amino acids – cysteine, glutamic acid and glycine.

It is the most common low molecular weight compound in the cells of mammals [1], but is itself reliant on the antioxidant mineral selenium. Without this ‘co-factor’, glutathione cannot function effectively.

It is produced naturally in the body, therefore it is not classed as an essential nutrient. Whilst supplementation is not needed to achieve peak levels, it is still useful to ensure you are obtaining enough in your diet. To do this, you should include sufficient dark green vegetables in your diet such as broccoli, spinach and cabbage as well as beets. Melon and grapes are also a good source of this nutrient too.

This protein is one of the most important nutrients in the body due to the diverse roles it plays. Its function varies from DNA synthesis to immune system regulation. It supports detoxification of heavy metals and also decreases cellular stress caused by free radical build up.

What is important here is that glutathione also plays an important role regulating testosterone production. It doesn’t increase it per se, but what it does do is protect free circulating levels from harmful and toxic impurities.


spinach-glutathione

Key Point: Glutathione is a protein that supports health and regulates testosterone.


How Does Glutathione Support Testosterone?

This potent antioxidant is very effective at detoxifying exposure to heavy metals. A diet rich in glutathione helps to remove toxins from the body.

Mercury, a heavy metal under criticism for its negative effect on human biology, has been found to decrease testosterone in a number of studies.

For example, a study published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine [2] found that when chloralkali workers – a type of industry where they use heavy metals – had high exposure to mercury, their T levels plummeted. The fact that mercury is the second most common toxic metal poisoning demonstrates how concerning this is for T levels.

Glutathione has been found to have three specific roles in reducing the effects of mercury toxicity – firstly, it prevents mercury from binding to cellular proteins. Secondly, it eliminates mercury via the liver and kidneys. Last, it increases the antioxidant capacity of your cells, providing them with a stronger first line of defence [1].

Not only does glutathione fight toxic invaders, it also supports testosterone production.

In one study [3], 468 men were given a selenium supplement, which after 26 weeks was seen to increase testosterone levels, improve sperm motility and increase semen parameters – all in infertile subjects. Remember that selenium is a co-factor in glutathione regulation and you can easily see the relationship here.

A study published in Endocrinology [4] used a buthionine sulfoximine injection in order to reduce glutathione levels by 70% in a group of rats. They used rats simply because they wouldn’t have got ethical clearance on human subjects. As rats have similar testicular tissue to humans, this is still reliable data to draw upon.

They wanted to see what effects it would have on the Leydig cells of the testes. The results showed that T production had halved – a clear indication that glutathione regulated testosterone production. 


man-with-lean-muscles

Key Point: Glutathione is a natural testosterone protector.


How to Boost Glutathione Naturally

Other than eating lots of dark green vegetables, there a number of things you can incorporate into your day-to-day routine to optimize glutathione levels. Not only do these tips increase the levels of this important protein, but they also directly increase T levels too. Here are the most important:

#1. Decrease alcohol intake

We all know that alcohol can have negative effects on the body – especially if you drink to excess. Excessive alcohol intake has been found to lower sperm count, impair sperm motility and lower testosterone [5].

Glutathione works hard to remove toxins from alcohol via urination – more alcohol means less available to look after your T levels. So by eliminating alcohol you have more available to do its job properly.

#2. Boost your magnesium levels

There is a clear reciprocal relationship between glutathione and magnesium. Studies show that by correcting a deficiency in magnesium, your glutathione will increase too [6].

Seeing as though the World Health Organisation suggest that 75% of Americans fail to meet their recommended intake of this mineral on a daily basis, its pretty important to consider a good supplement containing this mineral – TestoFuel is definitely your best option here.

#3. Increase resveratrol levels

Resveratrol is a natural phenol found in grapes, cranberries and plums. It’s also found in wine, particularly red wine due to the grapes used.

Not only does this powerful compound directly boost T levels [7], it’s also been found to stimulate the production of glutathione too [8]. Obviously we’ve told you not to drink to excess but one glass of a good red each evening will work wonders.

#4. Exercise

Not only is weight training important in stimulating androgenic male hormone production, it also appears to elevate glutathione levels too.

In one study, combined circuit training and aerobic exercise was found to boost levels the most when compared to either weights or cardio separately [9].


Summary

Glutathione is a protein which supports health, well-being and testosterone production. It is found in a range of foods but mostly dark green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and cabbage.

This protein plays an important role in supporting your male hormones by helping your body eliminate toxins such as heavy metals and alcohol. Studies show that as levels fall so does testosterone.

There are a number of lifestyle modifications you can make to optimize glutathione levels including following a healthy diet containing dark green foods, following a combined weight training and cardio plan, and limiting heavy metal exposure.


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References

  1. Patrick, L. Mercury Toxicity and Antioxidants: Part I: Role of Glutathione and alpha-Lipoic Acid in the Treatment of Mercury Toxicity. Mercury Toxicity Review. Altern Med Rev. 2002 Dec;7(6):456-71.
  2. Barregård, L et al. Endocrine function in mercury exposed chloralkali workers. Occup Environ Med. 1994; 51(8): 536-40
  3. Safarinejad, MR et al. Efficacy of selenium and/or N-acetyl-cysteine for improving semen parameters in infertile men: a double-blind, placebo controlled, randomized study. J Urol. 2009; 181(2): 741-51
  4. Chen, H et al. Effect of glutathione depletion on Leydig cell steroidogenesis in young and old brown Norway rats. Endocrinology. 2008; 149(5): 2612-9
  5. Maneesh, M et al. Alcohol abuse-duration dependent decrease in plasma testosterone and antioxidants in males. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 2006; 50 (3) : 291–296
  6. Bede, O et al. Effects of magnesium supplementation on the glutathione redox system in atopic asthmatic children. Inflamm Res. 2008; 57(6): 279-86
  7. Shin, S et al. trans-Resveratrol Relaxes the Corpus Cavernosum Ex Vivo and Enhances Testosterone Levels and Sperm Quality In Vivo. Arch Pharm Res. 2008; 31(1): 83-87
  8. Kode, A et al. Resveratrol induces glutathione synthesis by activation of Nrf2 and protects against cigarette smoke-mediated oxidative stress in human lung epithelial cells. American Journal of Physiology, Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology. 2008; 294(3): L478–88
  9. Elokda, AS et al. Effects of exercise training on the glutathione antioxidant system. Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2007; 14(5): 630-7

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