The Consequences Of Stopping Glutathione Supplementation
Glutathione is an antioxidant used in every cell in your body. Exposure to pollutants, smoke, alcohol, medications, and chronic stress can reduce your body’s glutathione stores. Unfortunately, this is more common as we age. Many people take glutathione supplements to restore their levels and protect their cells from damage. There is research supporting glutathione use for many medical conditions. While this makes sense, you may wonder, are there any downsides to taking glutathione daily?
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What Is Glutathione?
Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant comprising three amino acids: L-glutamic acid, L-cysteine, and glycine. Your digestive system breaks down proteins into their component amino acids and absorbs them into your bloodstream. Your liver can make glutathione from these amino acids.
Oral glutathione supplements are easily broken down into component amino acids and absorbed, but your body must use energy to rebuild glutathione. With glutathione shots, the compound is delivered intact into your body.1
What Does Glutathione Do?
Glutathione has many important roles in your body, including:
- Neutralizing free radicals
- Supporting immune function
- Recycling other antioxidants
- Reducing triglyceride levels
- Improving insulin sensitivity
- Supporting liver function
- Supporting sperm production
Researchers have found links between low glutathione levels and medical conditions.
What Are The Potential Glutathione Side Effects?
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: Some people may experience nausea and vomiting after receiving a glutathione injection.
- Allergic reactions: Glutathione injections may cause allergic reactions in some people, including skin rash, hives, and difficulty breathing.
- Blood clotting problems: Glutathione injections may interfere with blood clotting, increasing 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: The injection site may become red, swollen, or painful after receiving a glutathione injection.
- Kidney and liver problems: Taking large doses of glutathione may cause kidney or liver dysfunction.
- Zinc deficiency: Taking glutathione long-term has been associated with zinc deficiency.2
Glutathione supplementation has not been adequately studied for its side effects in people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Is It OK To Take Glutathione Every Day?
Researchers have tested glutathione toxicity in mice. Even when given more than 5 grams of glutathione per kilogram of body weight, the mice suffered no consequences.2 This indicates that glutathione is nontoxic. In human clinical trials, no serious adverse effects were noted when participants took glutathione supplements.3,4
In fact, glutathione is used to reverse the toxic effects of other chemicals. Doctors use glutathione to reverse some of chemotherapy’s toxic effects when treating patients with cancer.
How Long Should You Take Glutathione?
Glutathione injections are available by prescription only. Depending on your treatment goals, you and your doctor will determine how much glutathione you should take and how long you should continue taking it.5
Glutathione is also available in your diet. Consume a well-balanced diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean red meats, and whole grains to ensure you get the benefits of glutathione and other antioxidants.
Glutathione is also naturally available in foods and drinks, such as:5
- Green beans
- Green tea
- Green beans
However, researchers note that there isn’t a one-to-one relationship between glutathione consumed and glutathione levels in your body.6 Another option is to consume the precursors of glutathione, such as N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), L-glutathione, and L-glycine. These are available in capsule form.
Glutathione is available as a supplement in the following forms:7,8
- Buccal lozenge
Can You Take Glutathione For A Long Time?
Glutathione is generally recognized as a safe supplement. There is some concern about balancing zinc and glutathione levels, which means that long-term glutathione supplementation may cause a decrease in zinc levels.
Many substances deplete glutathione levels in your body, including acetaminophen and alcohol. Even if you choose not to supplement with glutathione, avoid these substances.
Is It Worth It To Take Glutathione?
This is a question that only you can answer. If you choose to take glutathione supplements, purchase them from a reputable supplier. In 2019, the Food and Drug Administration published a statement to warn against using glutathione distributed from a specific pharmacy. Invigor Medical partners with FDA-licensed compounding pharmacies that follow good manufacturing practices for pharmaceutical products.
Glutathione has many health benefits, as evidenced by its use in clinical practice. If you have questions about glutathione or wonder whether it would be a good choice for you, contact one of the treatment specialists at Invigor Medical.
Looking to purchase and get a Glutathione prescription? Shop Invigor Medical today!
- Witschi A, Reddy S, Stofer B, Lauterburg BH. The systemic availability of oral glutathione. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1992;43(6):667–669.
- Steiger MG, Patzschke A, Holz C, et al. Impact of glutathione metabolism on zinc homeostasis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. FEMS Yeast Res. 2017;17(4). doi:10.1093/femsyr/fox028
- Weschawalit S, Thongthip S, Phutrakool P, Asawanonda P. Glutathione and its antiaging and antimelanogenic effects. CCID. 2017;10:147-153. doi:10.2147%2FCCID.S128339
- Kern JK, Geier DA, Adams JB, Garver CR, Audhya T, Geier MR. A clinical trial of glutathione supplementation in autism spectrum disorders. Med Sci Monit. 2011;17(12):CR677–CR682.
- Minich DM, Brown BI. A review of dietary (phyto)nutrients for glutathione support. Nutrients. 2019;11(9):2073. doi:10.3390/nu11092073
- 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.
- Schmitt B, Vicenzi M, Garrel C, Denis FM. Effects of N-acetylcysteine, oral glutathione (GSH) and a novel sublingual form of GSH on oxidative stress markers: A comparative crossover study. Redox Biol. 2015 Dec;6:198-205. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2015.07.012. Epub 2015 Jul 29. PMID: 26262996; PMCID: PMC4536296.
- Buonocore D, Grosini M, Giardina S, et al. Bioavailability Study of an Innovative Orobuccal Formulation of Glutathione. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2015/11/16 2016;2016:3286365. doi:10.1155/2016/3286365