We all hope to age healthfully, avoiding troubles like heart disease, cancer, and dementia. And now scientists have found a new way to do it — and add 10 years to your life: Pump up your production of glutathione, a molecule that repairs aging tissues and stops toxins from causing harm.
Consume whey powder.
There’s an easy way to boost your liver’s glutathione production as much as 30 percent. Simply start your day by adding a 20-gram scoop of whey protein powder to your favorite smoothie. Two recent studies show that three amino acids in whey (cysteine, glycine, and glutamate) stimulate liver cells to make this anti-aging compound. Tip: You can find whey protein
powders in plain, vanilla, and chocolate flavors in most health food stores.
Take milk thistle.
A daily 150-mg. dose of milk thistle (such as Jarrow Formulas Milk Thistle, $8.77, Amazon.com) can raise your levels of glutathione as much as 30 percent by helping your body recycle glutathione
molecules instead of excreting them, says Bahram Gargari, Ph.D., coauthor of a study in Phytomedicine.
Eat broccoli and kale.
Cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, kale, arugula, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts) are chock-full of sulfur, a nutrient that helps your heart, lungs, and other hard-working organs increase their output of glutathione. Enjoy
three cups of cruciferous vegetables weekly, and that glutathione boost could slow aging of your heart and lungs 40 percent, Italian researchers say.
Just moving your muscles stimulates them to produce — and release — glutathione for up to 12 hours straight. “That’s one of the reasons exercise is so good for you — it increases the amount of glutathione circulating throughout your body,” says Mark Hyman, M.D., author of Ultrametabolism. Aim to fit 30 minutes of aerobic exercise into your daily routine, or opt for 20 minutes of strength training three times weekly.
What about glutathione supplements?
They’re not likely to do you any good! “Glutathione is extremely difficult to absorb, so most of it is wasted when you take it in pill form,” explains Dr. Hyman. “You’ll get far better results if you give your body the building blocks it needs — like sulfur and whey — and let it manufacture its own.”
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Reverse Aging.