Updated: May 8
Boost Your Glutathione
One major endogenous antioxidant you can manipulate nutritionally is glutathione. Horse studies show that even one bout of intense exercise to exhaustion can reduce muscle glutathione by 40%, and liver glutathione (from which muscles increase their supply) by 80%. After exercise, muscle and liver glutathione continues to decline, indicating continued use of this antioxidant to combat free radical attacks. Autopsies on the horses show that their glutathione stores are eventually overwhelmed by free radicals, which then cause extensive muscle damage.
Glutathione is a great defender of muscle. You cannot prevent damage and maintain training intensity without adequate storage.
Glutathione is produced in the body from cysteine and other amino acids. And there is reasonable evidence that increased intake of cysteine can increase body glutathione production. In addition, you can take performed glutathione. Some of it gets through digestion intact. And recent horse studies show that performed glutathione, delivered to the site of the free radical attack, protects cells from injury. Taking supplemental n-acetyl cysteine (the preferred form) for the body to make more glutathione, and taking glutathione itself, are highly recommended strategies. No one knows the amounts required to protect horse muscle. Clearly, it depends on the individual's biochemical individuality, size, age, type, intensity, frequency of exercise, and the levels of other antioxidants in the body.
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