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  • Glutathione Description
  • Glutathione Uses, Health Benefits & Scientific Evidence
  • Glutathione Dosage Information
  • Glutathione Safety, Cautions & Interactions
  • Glutathione Supplement Products



    Glutathione is a compound classified as a tripeptide made up from the amino acids gamma-glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine and is also known as gamma-glutamylcysteinlyglycine or GSH. The body produces Glutathione from the amino acids Cysteine, Glutamic Acid, and Glycine. Like Carnitine, Glutathione is not technically one of the amino acids (some consider it a sulfur-containing amino acid), but because of its close relationship to amino acids, it is usually considered together with them. Vitamin B-6 and Riboflavin (Vitamin B-2) are critical for maintaining adequate levels of Glutathione within the body.

    Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant, produced in the liver. The largest stores of Glutathione are found in the liver, where it is detoxifies harmful compounds so that they can be excreted through the bile. Some Glutathione is released from the liver directly into the bloodstream to protect while blood cells and maintain the integrity of red blood cells. Glutathione is also found in the lungs and the intestinal tract. It is necessary for carbohydrate metabolism and it also appears to exert anti-aging effects by aiding the breakdown of the oxidized fats that may contribute to atherosclerosis.

    The antioxidant properties of GlutathioneGlutathione also helps recharge oxidized Vitamin C so that the body may reuse it. Research suggests that a variety of minerals, including Copper and Selenium, have a strong influence on cellular levels of Glutathione. Selenium is an essential part of many different forms of Glutathione that exist in the body. It is also used to prevent oxidative stress in most cells and helps to trap and neutralizes free radicals that can damage DNA and RNA. GlutathioneGlutathione neutralizes peroxidase molecules. GSH also plays major roles in drug metabolism, calcium metabolism, the gamma-glutamyl cycle, blood platelet and membrane functions. Glutathione is required for a variety of metabolic processes. In addition, Glutathione bolsters the structure of body proteins and assists in the transport of amino acids across cell membranes.

    Interestingly, the phytochemical limonene may boost the body's synthesis of a Glutathione-containing enzyme that has antioxidant properties which help detoxify chemicals. Limonene is found in citrus fruit peels, cherries, green foods (celery, fennel), soy products, and wheat. Several foods contain naturally occurring Glutathione, including avocado, watermelon, asparagus, grapefruit, potato, acorn squash, strawberries, orange, tomato, cantaloupe, broccoli, okra, peach, zucchini, and spinach.

    microscopic glutathione


    Glutathione is a tripeptide with a gamma peptide linkage between the amine group of Cysteine (which is attached by normal peptide linkage to a Glycine) and the carboxyl group of the Glutamate side-chain. It is an antioxidant, preventing damage to important cellular components caused by reactive oxygen species such as free radicals and peroxides. The primary biological function of glutathione is to act as a non-enzymatic reducing agent to help keep cysteine thiol side-chains in a reduced state on the surface of proteins. Thiol groups are reducing agents, existing at a concentration of approximately 5 mM in animal cells. Glutathione reduces disulfide bonds formed within cytoplasmic proteins to cysteines by serving as an electron donor. In the process, Glutathione is converted to its oxidized form Glutathione Disulfide (GSSG), also called L-(--)-glutathione. Once oxidized, Glutathione can be reduced back by glutathione reductase, using NADPH as an electron donor. The ration of reduced Glutathione to oxidized Glutathione within cells is often used as a measure of cellular toxicity. Glutathione is used to prevent oxidative stress in most cells and helps to trap free radicals that can damage DNA and RNA. There is a direct correlation with the speed of aging and the reduction of Glutathione concentrations in intracellular fluids. As individuals grow older, Glutathione levels drop, and the ability to detoxify free radicals decreases.

    Glutathione is not an essential nutrient (meaning it does not have to be obtained via food), since it can be synthesized in the body from the amino acids L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid, and glycine. The sulfhydryl (thiol) group (SH) of cysteine serves as a proton donor and is responsible for the biological activity of glutathione. Cysteine is the rate-limiting factor in cellular glutathione synthesis, since this amino acid is relatively rare in foodstuffs.


    Glutathione has several health benefits. Optimal amounts of Glutathione are necessary for supporting the immune system, and, in particular, glutathione is required for replication of the lymphocyte immune cells.

    Scientists speculate that increasing consumption of antioxidants, such as Glutathione, early in life may promote longevity and reduce chronic disease. Glutathione inhibits the formation of and offers protection from free radicals, which are known to cause cellular damage. As we age the Glutathione levels in our bodies decrease, resulting in a reduced ability to deactivate free radicals. Glutathione protects individual cells and the tissues of the arteries, brain, heart, immune cells, kidneys, lenses of the eyes, liver, lungs and skin from oxidant damage.

    Glutathione also helps the liver to detoxify chemicals, such as acetaminophen (active ingredient in pain relief medication), copper, and cadmium. It can minimize some of the damage caused by tobacco smoking, and damage to the liver caused by alcohol. In addition, Glutathione protects the body against exposure to radiation and cancer chemotherapy. It is also a detoxifier of heavy metals and drugs and aids in the treatment of blood and liver disorders.

    Research is currently exploring the potential benefits of Glutathione for several conditions including cancer, heart disease, memory loss, osteoarthritis, Parkinson's disease, cornea disorders, kidney dysfunction, eczema, liver disorders, poisoning by heavy metals, and immunodepression that occurs in diseases such as AIDS.



    Several foods contain naturally occurring Glutathione, including avocado, watermelon, asparagus, grapefruit, potato, acorn squash, strawberries, orange, tomato, cantaloupe, broccoli, okra, peach, zucchini, and spinach. Limonene is found in citrus fruit peels, cherries, green foods (celery, fennel), soy products, and wheat.


    A deficiency of Glutathione first affects the nervous system, causing such symptoms as lack of coordination, mental disorders, tremors, and difficulty maintaining body balance. These problems are believed to be due to the development of lesions in the brain.

    As we age, Glutathione levels decline, although it is not known whether this is because we use it more rapidly or produce less of it to begin with. Unfortunately, if not corrected, the lack of Glutathione in turn accelerates the aging process.


    Supplemental Glutathione is expensive, and the effectiveness of oral formulas has been questionable. To raise Glutathione levels, it is better to supply the body with the raw materials it uses to make this compound: Cysteine, Glutamic Acid, and Glycine. The N-Acetyl form of Cysteine (N-Acetyl-Cysteine) is considered particularly effective for this purpose.

  • Cysteine Information & Supplement Products
  • Glutamic Acid Information & Supplement Products
  • Glycine Information & Supplement Products
  • Glutathione Supplement Products

  • Although a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) has not been established for Glutathione, it is critical for optimal health. Taking DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), N-acetylcysteine (NAC), L-cysteine, or L-methionine supplements can aid in the body’s production of Glutathione, which some studies suggest may be a better way to get the Glutathione the body needs rather than taking a Glutathione supplement. Amino acid supplements prefaced by the letter L, such as L-Glutathione, are more similar to the amino acids in the body than those that start with the letter D, with the exception of DL Phenylalanine, which treats chronic pain. Read product label directions before use.

    Raising GSH levels through direct supplementation of glutathione is difficult. Research suggests that glutathione taken orally is not well absorbed across the gastrointestinal tract. In a study of acute oral administration of a very large dose (3 grams / 3000 mg) of oral glutathione, Witschi and coworkers found "it is not possible to increase circulating glutathione to a clinically beneficial extent by the oral administration of a single dose of 3 grams of glutathione." However, it is possible to increase and maintain appropriate glutathione levels by increasing the daily consumption of Cysteine-rich foods and/or supplements.

    Calcitriol, the active metabolite of Vitamin D synthesized in the kidney, increases glutathione levels in the brain and appears to be a catalyst for glutathione production.

    In addition, plasma and liver GSH concentrations can be raised by administration of certain supplements that serve as GSH precursors. N-Acetyl-Cysteine, commonly referred to as NAC, is the most bioavailable precursor of Glutathione. Other supplements, including S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) and Whey Protein have also been shown to increase Glutathione content within the cell.

    NAC is available both as a drug and as a generic supplement. Alpha Llipoic Acid has also been shown to restore intracellular glutathione. Melatonin has been shown to stimulate a related enzyme, glutathione peroxidase, and silymarin, an extract of the seeds of the Milk Thistle plant (Silybum marianum), has also demonstrated an ability to replenish glutathione levels in lab rats.


    Glutathione is a tightly regulated intracellular constituent, and is limited in its production by negative feedback inhibition of its own synthesis through the enzyme gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase, thus greatly minimizing any possibility of overdosage. Glutathione augmentation using precursors of glutathione synthesis or intravenous glutathione is a strategy developed to address states of glutathione deficiency, high oxidative stress, immune deficiency, and xenobiotic overload in which glutathione plays a part in the detoxification of the xenobiotic in question (especially through the hepatic route). Glutathione deficiency states include, but are not limited to, HIV/AIDS, chemical and infectious hepatitis, myalgic encephalomyelitis chronic fatigue syndrome ME / CFS, prostate and other cancers, cataracts, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, radiation poisoning, malnutritive states, arduous physical stress, and aging, and has been associated with suboptimal immune response. Many clinical pathologies are associated with oxidative stress and are elaborated upon in numerous medical references.

    Low glutathione is also strongly implicated in wasting and negative nitrogen balance, as seen in cancer, AIDS, sepsis, trauma, burns and even athletic overtraining. Glutathione supplementation can oppose this process, and in AIDS, for example, result in improved survival rates. However, studies in many of these conditions have not been able to differentiate between low glutathione as a result of acutely (as in septic patients) or chronically (as in HIV) increased oxidative stress, and increased pathology as a result of preexisting deficiencies.

    Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are associated with lowered glutathione. Accruing data suggest that oxidative stress may be a factor underlying the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder (BD), major depressive disorder (MDD), and schizophrenia (SCZ). Glutathione (GSH) is the major free radical scavenger in the brain. Diminished GSH levels elevate cellular vulnerability towards oxidative stress; characterized by accumulating reactive oxygen species. GSH depletion has also been implicated in cellular predisposition to apoptosis. Replenishment of glutathione using N-Acetyl Cysteine has been shown to reduce symptoms of both disorders.


    Preliminary results indicate Glutathione changes the level of reactive oxygen species in isolated cells grown in a laboratory, which may reduce cancer development. None of these tests were performed in humans. However, once a cancer has already developed, by conferring resistance to a number of chemotherapeutic drugs, elevated levels of glutathione in tumour cells are able to protect cancerous cells in bone marrow, breast, colon, larynx, and lung cancers.


    Excess Glutamate at synapses, which may be released in conditions such as traumatic brain injury, can prevent the uptake of Cysteine, a necessary building-block of Glutathione. Without the protection from oxidative injury afforded by Glutathione, cells may be damaged or killed.

  • Alpha Lipoic Acid Supplement Products
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  • Vitamin D Supplement Products
  • Whey Protein Supplement Products


    A Glutathione deficiency can cause a lack of coordination, mental disorders, tremors, and difficulty maintaining balance.

    There are no known interactions of glutathione with food.


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