Glutathione is an antioxidant that can help detoxify the body, which may result in a reduced chance of getting cancer or other diseases. People with the lowest glutathione levels are usually those who smoke, are frequently exposed to toxins, or have health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and diabetes. Raising glutathione levels is more difficult than just taking supplements that contain the antioxidant, because the body needs to make glutathione, not simply ingest it. One of the most effective ways to encourage the body to make this antioxidant is to eat certain foods, including asparagus, walnuts and avocado. You also can take natural supplements, such as milk thistle and whey proteins, or pharmaceutical drugs that include N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC).
If you want the most natural way to increase glutathione levels, you can make changes in your diet to include various fruits and vegetables. For example, asparagus and spinach are both known for raising glutathione levels when you regularly include them in your diet. Avocados also are often recommended for this purpose, and they happen to be a good source of healthy fat. In addition, walnuts, apples and tomatoes all have high levels of glutathione, especially when they are eaten raw, because cooking such foods often strips them of a portion of their beneficial nutrients. For this reason, rare meat and unpasteurized milk also can increase the levels of glutathione, though they may present other risks.
Another way of naturally increasing glutathione levels is to take a nutritional supplement that uses herbs and proteins to boost this antioxidant. Milk thistle is one example of an herb that can encourage the body to make more glutathione, though its side effects include gas and cramps. If you want to raise your antioxidant levels without the possibility of side effects, whey protein is a popular nutritional supplement for this purpose. This can be taken even if you are lactose intolerant, because it typically has little to none of the lactose present in milk, though checking the ingredients label to be certain about any particular whey protein product is recommended.
Some people trust pharmaceutical drugs more than natural methods, and many pharmacies carry medications that can increase glutathione levels. N-acetyl-cysteine is one such drug, but you need to take it a few times a day, either in pill form or via an injection. This is one of the few drugs approved to raise antioxidant levels, but it still may be considered toxic in certain amounts. Therefore, it is usually wise to ask your doctor to recommend or prescribe the right dose of the most effective, safest treatment on the market to increase your glutathione levels.