Top 5 Super Supplements for Spring

March 20, 2012
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

It’s the season to love your liver!

Today is the first day of spring, and although the calendar doesn’t lie, sometimes the weather gets confused these days. It’s snowing in Idaho and 82 degrees in Chicago. But regardless of your locale, your body knows that from March 20-June 19 is the best time of the year to direct your detox intentions to the liver.

Your liver, after all, is your body’s major detoxifier and key to life. When your liver is sluggish, more than four hundred bodily processes are affected.

If you are experiencing any of these seasonal symptoms, your liver may need some extra TLC:

• Rib cage sensitivity, particularly under the right ribs

• Chronic tension in the neck and across the shoulders

• Feeling tired and sleepy after eating

• Waking up between 1:00 and 3:00 am

• Nausea, especially after eating fatty foods

• Light-colored stools

• Hormonal imbalances from perimenopause to menopause with hot flashes

• PMS irritability, bloating

A liver clogged with poisons or excess fats cannot perform its fat-burning and other essential duties, including maintaining blood sugar levels, storing glycogen, synthesizing and normalizing blood proteins, and helping to keep your body in hormonal balance. A poorly functioning liver results in stagnation.

Lightening your liver’s load may be the single most important step you ever take in improving your overall health and achieving your weight loss goals permanently.

Glutathione: The Premier Toxic Waste Eliminator

If you’re sick, stressed, or toxic and take lots of over-the-counter or prescribed medications, your glutathione levels can nosedive. It becomes very easily drained because it is neutralized by chemicals, molds, drugs, (especially the over-the-counter acetaminophen) heavy metals, and electromagnetic radiation. As the body’s main water soluble antioxidant and key to complete detox, a continuous supply is needed to zap all types of environmental invaders.

One of the reasons glutathione is such a valuable free radical scavenger is location. It’s in every cell of your body, giving each cell its own personal bodyguard. It shields your DNA, keeps you energized, and reduces inflammation and pain.

In children with autism and individuals with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, glutathione is almost 100% deficient, suggesting that this uber antioxidant plays a major role in immune system defense.

The best way to take glutathione is through its precursors because the three amino acids which comprise glutathione—glycine, glutamine, and cysteine—are easily digested before glutathione can reach the liver. I recommend non-denatured, unheated whey which contains the building blocks of glutathione and/or N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) which raises glutathione levels in the body, something direct glutathione itself cannot do. Since spring has sprung, load up on foods that contain glutathione like asparagus, broccoli sprouts, spinach, berries, and garlic.


1. N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)600 mg, 1–2 times daily

Studies have shown that NAC, derived from the amino acid L-cysteine, can help raise levels of glutathione in the cells. A sulfur compound, it also acts as an antioxidant on its own, and there’s evidence that it also boosts the immune system. In one study, Italian researchers created a scientific cage match between staph germs and immune cells. When they added NAC to some of the cultures, the germ-fighting ability of the cells was significantly enhanced. Not only that, they literally lived to fight another day: many immune cells die in the process of subduing bacteria, but more of the NAC-treated cells survived. NAC is exceedingly helpful with spring time allergies because it liquefies and thins out mucus and helps to diminish bronchitis and asthma. I would start with 600 mg per day and work up if necessary.

2. Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) –250 mg daily

A life-extending antioxidant, ALA earns its stripes recharging glutathione by replacing electrons stolen by nasty free radicals. When most free radical scavengers like glutathione latch on to unpaired electrons, they eventually become free radicals themselves. ALA reduces these oxidized forms of antioxidants and makes them come to life again. And its unique ability to cross both the water and lipid permeable cell membranes, it can work anywhere in the body—especially the brain. It also seems to improve the role of insulin—helping this pancreatic hormone usher sugar from the blood to your cells, where it’s burned for energy—to slow age-related cognitive decline, and to reduce the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, damage to the nerves caused by high blood sugar. Note: Start with the lowest dosage if low blood sugar is a concern. This supplement reduces blood sugar dramatically—and quickly.

3. Milk Thistle200 mg of a standardized extract twice daily

In use for over 2000 years, milk thistle contains the phytochemical silymarin, which not only increases levels of glutathione in the body by as much as 35 percent but also boosts the antioxidant, SOD. In addition, it aids cell repair, calms inflammation, and helps repair damaged liver tissue and detoxify the liver (it’s actually used to treat cirrhosis and nonalcoholic liver disease as well as acetaminophen and mushroom poisoning). Numerous studies have found that silymarin reduces oxidative stress. Note: Milk thistle can be allergy-producing to chemically sensitive individuals so in this case, less may be more.

4. Sea Buckthorn –500 mg –1-2 softgels daily

The leaves and berries of this highly revered “sacred” plant contains antioxidants galore: beta carotene, flavonoids, polyphenols, vitamin E, and even lycopene, along with a healthy dose of trace minerals calcium, potassium, magnesium, and essential fatty acids from the omega-3, -6, and -7 family. Omega-7 is a rare essential fatty acid that is very helpful in the promotion of collagen, so it will bring out your best looks this spring! Seabuckthorn, by the way, makes an excellent internal sunscreen due to its exceptionally high antioxidant content.

5. Propolis –500 mg –1 capsule daily

With heavy spring rains and snow run-offs, think propolis as it’s one of the best natural protectants against environmental radiation residues. Propolis—the resin bees make to build their hives to protect against pathogens and molds—is a source of caffeic acid used in research studies that show protection from free radical damage. It also protects against cell phone damage to the brain and acts as an anti-inflammatory. For me, propolis goes in my travel bag whenever I am flying. I use it as a helpful shield against the ionizing radiation from TSA scanners and to help reduce oxidative stress from radar upon take-off and landing. A must for spring health!

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Lisa Whitney

    Are you recommending ALL of the above or at least ONE?

  2. administrator

    Dear Lisa:

    These supplements have all been in the news. They are good for a variety of conditions but share in common their ability to make glutathione. For those with primary glutathione concerns, NAC is probably the best bet; alpha lipoic acid and milk thistle are top liver aids for fatty liver, liver degeneration, and elevated liver enzymes while sea buckthorn can help protect the skin against sunburn and propolis protects against both ionizing (x-rays) and non-ionizing (cell phone) radiation.

  3. Sarah

    I have read that when you take NAC that you should also take 2 or 3 times as many mg’s of vitamin c. How long should you take NAC and since it detoxifies mercury from your body, what if you have those nasty silver fillings (I do)? Does it detoxify or can it pull the mercury from the fillings and cause a toxic overload?

  4. administrator

    In the case of mercury fillings, we would suggest that you definitely up your intake of Vitamin C and selenium – 200 – 400 mcg, the antagonist to mercury. The NAC will only chelate what is in the tissues not pull the mercury from your fillings.

  5. Vicki

    I really am not understanding what your recommendation is. To take all of these or to choose one.

    My 80 year husband is on lots of medication and suffers from chronic severe pain. I am 60 and diabetic, also with lots of arthritic pain.

    Currently on the Fat Flush and the supplements recommended with that. Have lost 25 pounds in 6 weeks and feeling so much better!!! Off most of my diabetic meds!


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