Glutathione is the main antioxidants in our mitochondria. Under ideal circumstances our bodies make sufficient glutathione, but under stress it can become depleted. If you have an autoimmune disease the mitochondria can be affected thus decreasing glutathione levels.
For diabetics, high carb diets and high blood sugar levels combined with large amounts of insulin is enough stress to deplete glutathione.
Gut issues, hormone imbalances, undiagnosed intolerances, chronic stress, etc can also deplete your glutathione levels.
GSH, reduced glutathione, combines with free radicals to neutralize them if there is enough in the cells. If not, free radicals can damage the mitochondria.
How can you increase glutathione? Sulfur rich foods (brassicas/cruciferous vegetables) like broccoli, cauliflower, kale and bok choy have been shown to increase levels of glutathione; as well as foods high in B Vitamins- beans, greens, asparagus, liver and other organ meats, beets (beetroot) and avocado to name a few. A nutritionist can help organise a meal plan to increase your antioxidant levels.
There are supplements which can also increase your glutathione like alpha lipoic acid (ALA). ALA has been proven in clinical trials to help diabetic patients by decreasing the free radicals resulting in better brain function and lower blood sugar levels. Seek the advice of a health care professional prior to starting these, or any supplements, as you will need to adjust your insulin levels.
Cheers- N x