Savers are familiar with the importance of antioxidants to protect against bone loss, and today we’re going to look at this topic in greater depth.
You’ll learn about the Master Antioxidant, glutathione, that was scientifically proven to increase density. Plus you’ll also discover three seldom-mentioned but easy ways to increase your glutathione levels.
But first, let’s start by looking at the science behind why you need antioxidants in the first place. It begins with the process of oxidation…
What Is Oxidation?
Oxygen is a paradoxical molecule. On the one hand, life depends on it; on the other hand, it can be highly toxic and even deadly. For example, some anaerobic bacteria die on contact with oxygen, and in the 1940s, many premature babies placed in high-oxygen incubators lost their sight.
Yet without oxygen, many life forms from plants to humans would perish.
From a chemical standpoint, any substance that gains an electron (or electrons) is called an oxidant or pro-oxidant. A reductant is a substance that loses or donates an electron (or electrons) – antioxidants are reductants. Oxidation is the process by which substances lose electrons, and reduction is the process of gaining electrons.
Radicals Are Always “Free”
Oxidation occurs when a reductant donates its electrons and, as a result of this process, another substance becomes reduced. This type of reaction is called a redox reaction, and when the exchange of electrons involves oxygen, “pro-oxidants” result.
Many people are familiar with the term “free radical,” also known as Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), typically used to describe pro-oxidants. A radical is any substance with an unpaired electron in the nuclear shell of an atom, so by definition it’s free.
The oxygen molecule itself is actually a radical, with 2 unpaired electrons on two different pathways around the nucleus. However, it is not considered reactive (as most radicals are) due to a phenomenon known as “spin restriction.” This simply means that the atom will not accept or donate an electron unless the direction of the electrons’ spin is rearranged.
There are many types of radicals, and normally they cause cellular damage by interacting with other molecules and, when donating or taking an electron, cause chemical changes known collectively as oxidative damage.
What Antioxidants Do
There are also many types of antioxidants, all of which work together in a complex biological system involving enzymes and nutrients. Their primary purpose is to donate an electron so as to change the chemical substances produced by oxidation. And antioxidants do not become reduced by donating an electron; their molecular construction allows them to donate without becoming reactive themselves.
Simply put, antioxidants change the chemical formula of a substance, rendering it harmless.
With regard to your bone health, antioxidants prevent the weakening of bone due to oxidative damage.
Where Do Antioxidants Come From?
It’s generally accepted that many antioxidants come from food. This is true directly and indirectly. I’ll explain.
From a direct standpoint, some foods contain significant amounts of antioxidants – specifically, plant foods like blueberries, cherries, and green beans. The food you eat affects your antioxidant levels in an indirect way as well, and here’s how.
Your body actually manufactures some antioxidants, including glutathione, the Master Antioxidant, so called because of the incredible number of biological processes it’s involved in, and because it is the only antioxidant that resides within cells.
The key to understanding the role of diet in glutathione production lies in its composition: glutathione is a tripeptide composed of three amino acids: L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid, and glycine. We get these amino acids from the foods we eat, and Savers are surely already be familiar with one: whey protein.
Whey Protein Increases Glutathione Levels
Whey protein contains glutamine, which helps your body produce glutathione. In fact, eating glutamine-rich foods is essential for getting this glutathione precursor where it needs to go to build the Master Antioxidant.
So having a whey protein shake in the morning is a great way to start your day by ingesting a bone-healthy, antioxidant-promoting protein when your body is most efficient at synthesizing it.
Now let’s take a close look at three specific nutrients – two of which are Foundation Supplements in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program – that are also vital for glutathione production.
3 Nutrients You Need For Glutathione Production
Glutathione is a powerful weapon against osteoporosis. A study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation revealed some amazing connections between the Master Antioxidant, glutathione, and bone density.
The study investigated the effect of glutathione on mice that were estrogen-deficient. Results showed that glutathione increased bone density in the mice despite the estrogen lack. In addition, this same study revealed a link between low levels of glutathione and low bone density.1
The good news is, these nutrients are found in many of the Program’s Foundation Foods. Savers know that these are foods that contain high levels of bone-healthy nutrients necessary to increase bone density.
As you’ll see in today’s post, many of them are also a rich source of the three nutrients needed to produce glutathione.
This yellow-orange plant chemical is converted into Vitamin A or retinol in the body. Beta-carotene is involved in vision, reproduction, and cellular communication.
Beta-carotene also promotes good immune function and plays an important role in the proper functioning of the lungs, heart, and kidneys. Plus it is necessary for the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen in the blood.
Foundation Foods That Contain Beta-Carotene:
- Sweet potatoes*
- Butternut squash
2. Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) – Foundation Supplement
Part of the B-complex vitamins, riboflavin is crucial for the regeneration of glutathione. Interestingly, riboflavin deficiency is associated with increased oxidative stress, underscoring the importance of this vitamin in antioxidant production.
In fact, riboflavin is so closely linked with glutathione that blood tests to determine riboflavin levels actually begin by testing the levels of glutathione reductase, a coenzyme involved in the glutathione redox cycle.
Riboflavin is essential for overall health as well. It’s been shown to prevent migraines, and is even prescribed for that purpose. It also promotes proper functioning of the nervous system and thyroid, and it produces energy as it helps break down fats, proteins, and carbs.
Foundation Foods That Contain Riboflavin:
- Plain yogurt*
- Brussels Sprouts*
- Brewer’s yeast
- Wheat germ
3. Magnesium – Foundation Supplement
Savers will recognize this mineral. It works together with calcium and is essential for building bone, but it’s often overlooked. In fact, about 60% of the body’s magnesium is found within the bone matrix.
It’s even more often ignored with regard to antioxidant action in the body.
Magnesium deficiency results in a proliferation of radicals and a decrease in glutathione. Glutathione synthesase, an enzyme necessary for the production of glutathione, requires magnesium ions to produce the Master Antioxidant.
Magnesium’s benefits are legion. More than 325 enzymatic reactions depend on it, as well as cellular energy production (magnesium is crucial for the metabolism of ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, which is the main source of energy for the body’s cells).
Magnesium is required for proper cardiovascular function and the proper metabolism of carbohydrates. Deficiency can result in heart problems, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and even migraines.
Interestingly enough, a 3-month study on a group of women showed that magnesium deficiency negatively affects metabolic efficiency, thereby impairing your function while exercising.2
Foundation Foods That Contain Magnesium:
- Brown rice
- Pumpkin seeds*
- Sesame seeds*
- Lima beans*
An Integrative Approach To Your Health Is The Best Way To Build Your Bones!
To sum it all up, beta-carotene, riboflavin and magnesium are important bone health supplements you should be taking every day. No less important is that Foundation Foods rich in these nutrients, help your bones in more than just one way, beyond just boosting glutathione production. They also contain vitamins and minerals your bones desperately need.
That’s why I created the…
Foundation Foods Checklist
It’s included with every Osteoporosis Reversal Program – you’ll find it towards the back of the manual. Simply cut it out along the dotted lines and take this great tool with you to the grocery store or place it on your fridge as a reminder to take advantage of nature’s bone building bounty. It’s like having a bone health shopping list – and I promise you that the Foundation Foods are not expensive or hard to find, and you may already have many of them in your kitchen.
Tools like the Foundation Foods Checklist are what make the Program so effective. Because all your body systems work synergistically, the Osteoporosis Reversal Program‘s approach to bone health incorporates the entire body.
Save Our Bones V.S. Mainstream Medicine
So rather than taking a reductionist approach (as the Medical Establishment does, prescribing drugs that target just one biological process), the Osteoporosis Reversal Program looks at how your body functions as a whole and considers that healthy, strong and resilient bones can be most easily attained in a healthy body.
The Program is so effective precisely because it attacks osteoporosis from all angles, leaving no stone unturned.
If you haven’t yet, click here to get your Program.
Remember, a healthy you makes for healthy bones, and vice versa!
Till next time,
1 Lean, JM et al. “A crucial role for thiol antioxidants in estrogen-deficiency bone loss.” J. Clin. Invest. 112:915-923. 2003
2 Lukaski H et al. Dietary Magnesium Depletion Affects Metabolic Responses during Submaximal Exercise in Postmenopausal Women.” J Nutr. 132:930-935. 2002.