A well-formulated ketogenic diet is bursting with substances that are the building blocks for glutathione. Pair this with ketones’ ability to upregulate glutathione production and you have unleashed a detoxification powerhouse within your own cells.
All the meats
As you may have already read in prior blog posts on the topic, glutathione needs the amino acid L-Cysteine. L-Cysteine is a rate-limiting factor, meaning your body will not be able to make as much glutathione as it wants or needs if you don’t have enough of this amino acid. Cysteine is made from the amino acid methionine and is considered a sulphuric amino acid and also the amino acid serine.
As I taught in the aforementioned prior article regarding supplements to increase glutathione, you need to have really good levels of stomach acid to break down proteins into small enough amino acids to be able to use them and make important things. So as important as diet is, so is your digestive health functioning to be able to get the good stuff out of your food, absorb it and use it. So keep that in mind and check that blog post out here.
Assuming your stomach acid is working well, and you are eating a well-formulated ketogenic diet full of bioavailable forms of amino acids, you are likely going to be getting plenty of goodness to heal your body and to specifically have building blocks for the increase in glutathione you are going to get on a ketogenic diet.
But let’s take a look (for fun) at what kinds of foods that people eat on a well-formulated ketogenic diet that has plenty of methionine and serine (which makes L-cysteine), and also the supporting amino acids glutamine and glycine.
- L-Methionine (explore more here)
- L-Serine (explore more here)
- Eggs (particularly the whites)
- Pork skins (aka pork rinds)
- Lots of different cheeses
Glutamine is one of those conditionally essential amino acids. And the conditions are if your body is under acute or chronic stress, it may not be able to make as much glutamine as your body would like to use. It is likely you are getting plenty of glutamine in your well-formulated ketogenic diet. But if you have a lot of brain healing to do (and gut healing and improved immune system modulation, glutamine is great for that) then you may want to supplement or be conscious that you are eating good sources of this amino acid.
Glycine is considered another one of those conditionally essential amino acids. What are the conditions? Well, we likely make enough of it, unless we are under stress, injured, or trying to heal (like what happens when we work to heal our brain). Then maybe, you want to help your body out and make a point to ingest more.
I think it can be really hard to get enough glycine in our foods. This is why I will often have clients supplement, either with glycine directly or as part of a collagen peptide supplement. But I do have those clients that are eating lots of crispy chicken thighs that include the skin on. I think they could benefit from a supplement, especially so they can make more glutathione and heal their brain, but if that’s how they want to try to get enough glycine I can’t deny that it is the tastier way to try to get it done.
Muscle meat does contain some glycine. As does bone broth (an excellent way to get more if you drink it regularly). It’s also in turkey, chicken, and pork. Particularly in the skins of these animals.
For information on how to supplement with glycine, please read my article here.
As you can see, a ketogenic diet, particularly one higher in protein such as a Modified-Atkins form of a ketogenic diet, will have ample amounts of these amino acids that your body will use to make all the glutathione it needs to heal your brain.
But what about vegetables?
Well, sulfur is a component in the making of glutathione. And it just so happens, that most of the low carbohydrate vegetables that people eat on a well-formulated ketogenic diet have this precursor and many of the micronutrient precursors needed to make this amazing antioxidant.
- Brussel Sprouts
- Kale (be careful, high in oxalates – Google it)
So you can see, that if you are eating a well-formulated ketogenic diet, you are likely getting large amounts of glutathione precursors such as selenium, zinc, iron, manganese, and even copper (in nuts, leafy greens, and dark chocolate). If you want to increase your manganese you can do it with delicious clams, oysters, mussels, coffee, tea, and spices.
Ideally, you will plug in what you eat for a few days into an app like Cronometer or take a nice trace mineral supplement. And I don’t care what you eat, you need to supplement with magnesium. We don’t even mess around with that one. It’s too hard to get the levels you need from foods and it is just too important to run low on. Especially if you are trying to heal your brain from mental illness or neurological disorders.
I hope you found this article helpful in your healing journey. If you are feeling overwhelmed and need help on your ketogenic journey towards better mental health, don’t hesitate to contact me. Like what you are reading on the blog? Want to learn about upcoming webinars, courses, and even offers around support and working with me towards your wellness goals? Sign up!
Also, I am doing some exciting program development research you may want to be a part of. The sooner I get this research done, the sooner I can bring this program development (and others) to you! I am looking specifically for women who are suffering from brain fog, memory problems, and difficulty focusing, regardless of reason or diagnosis.
That means your problems could come from ADHD, depression, or anxiety, a neurological condition such as Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), or even what you consider to be poor gut health, and I want and need to talk to you!
Please schedule a short 20-30 minute call on my Calendly!
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Cruzat, V., Macedo Rogero, M., Noel Keane, K., Curi, R., & Newsholme, P. (2018). Glutamine: Metabolism and Immune Function, Supplementation and Clinical Translation. Nutrients, 10(11), 1564. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10111564
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Salaritabar, A., Darvish, B., Hadjiakhoondi, F., & Manayi, A. (2019). Chapter 2.11—Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM). In S. M. Nabavi & A. S. Silva (Eds.), Nonvitamin and Nonmineral Nutritional Supplements (pp. 93–98). Academic Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-812491-8.00012-6
Serine Rich Foods. (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2022, from https://www.medindia.net/nutrition-data/nutrients/serine-rich-foods.htm