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.1
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 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.2
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
Glutathione has many benefits because it is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect your cells from threats such as:4
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:
Glutathione supplementation has not been adequately studied for its potential side effects in people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Glutathione deficiency contributes to oxidative stress, which plays a role in several medical conditions. Glutathione is used to treat:
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.
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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.