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Danielle Citrolo Pharm.D.

Summer Renewal for the Mind, Body and Spirit

Increased exposure to sun damage and pollution can threaten well-being.

The summer season is an appealing and celebrated time. With more time spent outdoors enjoying longer days, we’re also faced with challenges: increased exposure to sun damage and pollution can threaten the well-being of both body and mind. Did you know that many people spend on an average day about five to six hours in the sun during summer vacation?1 This is a sharp vacation-driven increase, even when compared to summer weekday and weekend time spent in the sun. Fortunately, there are ways to help guard yourself against harmful toxins, including UV exposure that can leave you more susceptible to free radicals.

Glutathione is a powerful and protective nutrient-like molecule that has been proven to neutralize toxins and guard the body against environmental stressors that induce free radicals. What’s more, glutathione has been shown to increase the antioxidant power of vitamins C and E.2 To reap these benefits as we head into summer, we can maintain our bodies’ glutathione reserves through practicing a healthy diet of fresh fruits and leafy green vegetables, unprocessed foods and daily supplementation. Glutathione is readily available in some foods including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, onions and garlic. It's also helpful to maintain high levels of the nutrient through the consumption of raw vegetables and fruits in combination with daily supplementation. There are many factors that have been shown to decrease glutathione, including exposure to pollution and harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

So, what would it take to boost glutathione levels through food alone? You’d have to eat 105 apples, 45 oranges, 34 grapefruits or 17.5 watermelons to boost glutathione levels by 500mg – not exactly a delicious – or feasible – task!2 To that end, supplementation is an efficient tool for increasing the body’s stores of glutathione. As an added bonus, one oral glutathione supplement has also been proven to boost natural-killer cell activity by two-fold, while increasing red blood cells by 27 percent – true fortification for enhanced overall well-being year-round.3

How much time are you planning to spend in the sun this summer? During the summer months, some areas of our skin are continuously exposed to a variety of environmental stressors that can inflict direct and indirect damage to skin cell DNA. What’s more, ultraviolet radiation is a major cause of stem cell DNA damage – a factor that eventually leads to signs of skin aging.4 Guard your body against free radicals and oxidative stress through daily oral supplementation with glutathione.

As we're in the think of summer vacations and long weekends away, let’s renew our focus on maintaining a strong mind, body and spirit and face seasonal challenges head-on.

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References

1 Diffey BL, An Overview Analysis of the Time People Spend Outdoors. Br J Dermatol. 2011 Apr;164(4):848-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2010.10165.x. PMID: 21128911. PMID: 27148370.

2 Jones DP, Coates RJ, Flagg EW, Eley JW, Block G, Greenberg RS, Gunter EW, Jackson B., Glutathione in foods listed in the National Cancer Institute’s Health Habits and History Food Frequency Questionnaire. Nutr Cancer. 1992;17(1):57-75.

3 Richie JP Jr, Nichenametla S, Neidig W, Calcagnotto A, Haley JS, Schell TD, Muscat JE. Randomized controlled trial of oral glutathione supplementation on body stores of glutathione. European Journal of Nutrition. 2014 May 5. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24791752.

4 Panich U, Sittithumcharee G, Rathviboon N, Jirawatnotai S. Ultraviolet Radiation-Induced Skin Aging: The Role of DNA Damage and Oxidative Stress in Epidermal Stem Cell Damage Mediated Skin Aging. Stem Cells Int. 2016;2016:7370642. doi: 10.1155/2016/7370642. Epub 2016 Apr 11. Review.

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About the Author

Danielle Citrolo, Pharm.D., is a licensed pharmacist with experience in developing clinical research protocols, managing clinical trials, and a deep understanding of quality assurance and regulatory affairs.