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How Long Does Glutathione Stay In Your System?

Mar 23, 2023
How Long Does Glutathione Stay In Your System?
Depending on the source, the half-life of glutathione is estimated to be between 10 and 90 minutes.1

When beginning a medication or supplement, it is important to understand how long it will remain in your system. If a medication side effect occurs, knowing the half-life of a medication can help you determine how long the symptoms will last.

Glutathione, also referred to as GSH, is an antioxidant that occurs naturally in all body tissues. It is a tripeptide composed of glycine, cysteine, and glutamic acid. While your body can produce it, you can also consume its precursors or take a supplement to make up for any deficiencies. Fruits and vegetables and some meats are high in glutathione. It is important to note that the amount of glutathione consumed in your diet does not directly correlate with your systemic glutathione levels.2

Glutathione deficiencies are common as it can be depleted due to stress, pollutants, aging, and chronic diseases. To fill this void, many people turn to glutathione supplements.

How Long Does Glutathione Stay In Your System?

How long glutathione stays in your system depends on several factors, including how fast your body uses glutathione, the type of supplement you are taking, the part of the body tested, and the route of administration.

The length of time a drug or supplement stays in your system is determined by its half-life. A half-life for a medication is the time it takes for half of a medication or supplement to be metabolized. Depending on the source, the half-life of glutathione is estimated to be between 10 and 90 minutes.1

Depending on your glutathione dose and how it is administered, you can expect half the dose will remain about 90 minutes later. Medication breakdown continues at about the same rate until it is all metabolized.

Most studies investigating how long glutathione stays in your system measure it in the bloodstream or specific organs, like the liver. Glutathione seems to remain active in body cells for much longer, protecting them from oxidative stress.3

How Long Does Glutathione Stay In Your System?

What Does Glutathione Do?

Glutathione has many benefits because it is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect your cells from threats such as:4

  • Dietary deficiencies
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Environmental toxins, pollution, and radiation
  • Unhealthy dietary choices
  • Infections
  • Chronic stress
  • Chronic diseases
  • Excessive or prolonged physical activity
  • Help remove damaged cells

What Are The Side Effects Of Taking Glutathione?

While glutathione is generally recognized as safe (GRAS), there is a potential for side effects to occur. Some possible side effects of glutathione injections may include the following:

  • Nausea and vomiting: Glutathione injections may cause stomach upset and vomiting.
  • Allergic reactions: If you are allergic to glutathione or any of its components, you may experience a rash, difficulty breathing, facial, throat, tongue, or lip swelling.
  • Blood clotting problems: Glutathione injections may interfere with blood clotting, which could increase the risk of bleeding and bruising. A long-term phase 4 study has not found an increased bleeding risk after using glutathione.
  • Rash or irritation at the injection site: Irritation from the medication or preservatives can cause injection site redness, pain, or swelling.
  • Kidney and liver problems: Taking large doses of glutathione may cause kidney or liver dysfunction.

Glutathione supplementation has not been adequately studied for its potential side effects in people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

chemical formula for glutathione

What Conditions Are Treated With Glutathione?

Glutathione deficiency contributes to oxidative stress, which plays a role in several medical conditions. Glutathione is used to treat:

  • Aging
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Liver diseases
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • AIDS
  • Heart attacks
  • Side effects from cancer treatment
  • Chronic obstructive lung disease
  • Asthma
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased cholesterol
  • Infertility
  • Lupus
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Cataracts and glaucoma
How Long Does Glutathione Stay In Your System?

What Happens When You Take Too Much Glutathione?

There is not a lot of research on glutathione doses and the effects of taking too high a dose or for stopping glutathione. Glutathione injections are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) so there is unlikely to be a significant effect. However, side effects and metabolism differ for each person. The safest course of action is to take glutathione as prescribed and call your doctor if you notice any side effects.

While we strive to always provide accurate, current, and safe advice in all of our articles and guides, it’s important to stress that they are no substitute for medical advice from a doctor or healthcare provider. You should always consult a practicing professional who can diagnose your specific case. The content we’ve included in this guide is merely meant to be informational and does not constitute medical advice.

How Long Does Glutathione Stay In Your System?

Leann Poston, M.D.

Dr. Leann Poston is a licensed physician in the state of Ohio who holds an M.B.A. and an M. Ed. She is a full-time medical communications writer and educator who writes and researches for Invigor Medical. Dr. Poston lives in the Midwest with her family. She enjoys traveling and hiking. She is an avid technology aficionado and loves trying new things.


  • Hong SY, Gil HW, Yang JO, Lee EY, Kim HK, Kim SH, Chung YH, Hwang SK, Lee ZW. Pharmacokinetics of glutathione and its metabolites in normal subjects. J Korean Med Sci. 2005 Oct;20(5):721-6. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2005.20.5.721. PMID: 16224142; PMCID: PMC2779265.
  • Flagg EW, Coates RJ, Eley JW, Jones DP, Gunter EW, Byers TE, Block GS, Greenberg RS. Dietary glutathione intake in humans and the relationship between intake and plasma total glutathione level. Nutr Cancer. 1994;21(1):33-46. doi: 10.1080/01635589409514302. PMID: 8183721.
  • Gwozdzinski L, Bernasinska-Slomczewska J, Wiktorowska-Owczarek A, Kowalczyk E, Pieniazek A. Diosmin and Bromelain Stimulate Glutathione and Total Thiols Production in Red Blood Cells. Molecules. 2023 Mar 1;28(5):2291. doi: 10.3390/molecules28052291. PMID: 36903535; PMCID: PMC10005239.
  • Baudouin-Cornu, P., Lagniel, G., Kumar, C., Huang, M.-E., Labarre, J., 2012. Glutathione Degradation Is a Key Determinant of Glutathione Homeostasis. Journal of Biological Chemistry 287, 4552–4561.


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