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“I Reversed a Glutathione Deficiency and Got My Energy and My Life Back!”

“Glutathione deficiency affects almost every ill patient that walks into my office,” says Mark Hyman, MD

Of all the healthy antioxidants doctors talk about, glutathione may be the most powerful. Glutathione benefits are seemingly endless: It heals the liver, speeds weight loss, turbocharges energy and more. Experts call glutathione the “master detoxifier,” as it ferries toxins and the free radicals that trigger health problems out of the body. But only when we have enough can the body function optimally so we feel our best.

And while we’re born with plenty of glutathione, those levels drop by half by age 50 and continue to dip with each passing year. The result: a buildup of toxins that trigger fatigue, brain fog, blue moods and more. (Click through for details on two toxins than can drain your thyroid.)

That’s what happened to Melody Guy. For years, she chalked up her fatigue, brain fog and weight gain to stress and busyness. But when her symptoms started getting worse, she went from doctor to doctor to figure out what was going on. Then, she learned all about the healing power of glutathione. When she restored her levels, everything changed for the better.

Read on to learn more about Melody’s experience and what doctors have to say about reversing a glutathione deficiency. Plus, how to know if you have a shortfall and the simple strategies that can boost glutathione levels — and restore energy and health.

How Melody’s health journey began

“Just a few more steps,” Melody told herself as she fought to find the energy to walk from the grocery store to her car. The country music singer’s body was under major stress as she battled unexplained weight gain, bloat and low energy. “My symptoms began small — a little pain here or feeling tired now and then — and for a year or two, I explained them away to the stress of being on the road, writing music and life in a pandemic,” Melody recalls. “But as my symptoms accelerated, I knew something was very wrong.

“Abdominal pain and the inexplicable lack of energy despite getting a good night’s sleep sent me to the hospital, where I finally got some answers: I was dealing with gallbladder sludge, biliary obstruction and a kidney infection. (Click through for tips on how to heal a sluggish gallbladder.) A test of my liver function showed an extremely high level of the enzyme AST, which is associated with liver health; high levels can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. I also learned I had an MTHFR gene mutation, which makes it difficult for my body to detox and clear out toxins that occur in the body.

“These genetic predispositions were illuminating: My siblings and my dad had similar health struggles, and the puzzle pieces started to come together.

How Melody found a cure

“While finding reasons for my poor health was affirming, it was also incredibly frustrating as I began bouncing from doctor to doctor looking for options. After running into numerous dead ends, I tried to doctor myself, purchasing various supplements, but nothing worked and my symptoms persisted for more than a year.

“While visiting my sister Debbie in Oregon, we went to an intravenous (IV) clinic, trying anything we could do to get relief from our chronic liver health conditions and fatigue. While chatting with a nurse there about our nonalcoholic fatty liver issues, he suggested I try glutathione. (Click through for tips on how to heal a fatty liver.)

What Melody learned about glutathione

“I learned that glutathione fights free-radical damage and oxidative stress in the body, which is the source of sickness and disease. Glutathione stores go down when the body is overtaxed, leaving the immune system under siege and leading to illness. No one had mentioned this to me, but I was hopeful it might finally help me feel like me again. What do I have to lose, I thought, and opted for an IV with glutathione. Instantly, I felt amazing. I was performing at the Oregon State Fair on that trip and was shocked at how much energy I had.

“A quick Google search of glutathione after my trip to the IV clinic led me to Dr. Nayan Patel’s book, The Glutathione Revolution, on audio. On my 3,000-mile drive home to Nashville, I listened to the whole book and was mesmerized. Dr. Patel explained how glutathione works to detoxify and balance the body and what happens when you’re lacking this master antioxidant.

“With a kitchen full of supplements that hadn’t helped me in the past, I connected with Dr. Patel, who told me to swap all those for a glutathione supplement. He explained that after some time, the glutathione would begin to balance and detoxify my body and I’d start feeling better.

How restoring glutathione healed Melody

“Dr. Patel told me to take a combination of glutaryl, a highly absorbable spray form of glutathione and a 750-mg. vitamin C supplement. I took four sprays two times a day and one vitamin C supplement daily, and in less than three months, I was feeling so much better!

“It was liberating, and not only did glutathione change my blood work, it elevated my spirit. Bouncing from doctor to doctor was exhausting, not to mention costly. I had started doubting myself and thinking my symptoms might be in my head. But after so many months of feeling terrible, I was elated with the change.

“Today, not only do I have boundless energy but the bloat and pain are gone. My doctor’s jaw dropped when my AST number went down from 73 to a healthy 18 within a couple of months of taking glutathione. I have the energy and health I did decades ago and am thrilled I’m able to continue to the next show, work on my latest music release, Dreamland, and keep creating and sharing my art and music for years to come. I’ve never felt better or more alive!” (Check out Melody’s music here.)

The real causes of glutathione deficiency

“Glutathione deficiency affects almost every ill patient that walks into my office,” says Mark Hyman, MD, author of Young Forever. “I call glutathione the ‘master detoxifier.’ It acts like fly paper to toxins, which stick to it in the liver so they can be eliminated by the body.” But toxins, poor diet and stress can deplete glutathione.

Complicating matters: 50% of women harbor variations in the MTHFR gene that lower their ability to make glutathione. This raises the risk of draining symptoms by up to 68%, according to one study.

How to know if you have a glutathione deficiency

Doctors can order a blood test that measures total, reduced and oxidized glutathione. But be aware that the tests aren’t always reliable. Since shortfalls are so common, all women can benefit from the steps below.

How to restore glutathione levels naturally  

To experience glutathione’s benefits, experts recommend these steps:

Eat more sulfur-rich foods. Consuming sulfur-rich onions, ­garlic, leeks and broccoli daily can lift glutathione levels in 3 weeks, say Dutch researchers. (Don’t toss those onion skins! Click through for 5 ways onion skins can heal.) “Sulfur is the sticky molecule that gives glutathione its magic,” says Dr. Hyman, who also advises avoiding processed foods, which contain glutathione-depleting chemicals. (Click through to see how boosting glutathione can speed weight loss.)

Supplements can help. Stanford University research reveals that N-acetylcysteine (NAC), an amino acid the body uses to make glutathione, replenishes glutathione within eight weeks. “I take NAC every day,” says Dr. Hyman, who notes doctors typically advise taking 600 mg. to 1,200 mg. daily — a dose that costs as little as 18 cents a day. One to try: Life Extension N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (buy at Life Extension for $10.75). Also smart: taking 500 mg of vitamin C daily. In one study, doing so boosted glutathione by 50%.

Click through to our sister publication’s story for more on glutathione: How To Get Glutathione Naturally — And Have More Energy, Ward Off Heart Disease & More

Click through to discover other energy-draining deficiencies that affect women:

If You Love Carbs & Coffee,You Have a Thiamine Deficiency, Say Top Doctors — Correct It To Feel Calm Energy All Day

Fatigue and Low Libido? You May Have a DHEA Deficiency

This Common Vitamin Deficiency May Be Causing Your Bladder Leaks

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First for Women.

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