Glutathione is called the “master antioxidant” and not without reason. It is used by every cell in the body to detoxify toxins, whether they are byproducts of metabolism, drugs, or environmental toxins. Glutathione also plays a key role in immune function and helps to break down nutrients for energy.
Glutathione is produced by liver and nerve cells and is made from glycine, L-cysteine, and L-glutamate. These amino acids are consumed in your diet and are produced in the body. Glutathione levels decrease with age, poor nutrition, exposure to environmental toxins, stress, and poor health.1
Since it has such an important role in the body, many people choose to supplement with glutathione to help ensure body tissues have the antioxidants they need to operate at peak efficiency.
Aging is associated with oxidative stress, and researchers believe it may be at least partially due to glutathione deficiency. When research participants took cysteine and glycine supplements, their glutathione levels improved.2 Glutathione is broken down and poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. Consuming its precursor amino acids in your diet or using an injectable form of glutathione can help bypass this obstacle.
The best sources of amino acids are found in animal proteins such as beef, poultry, and eggs. The best sources of glutathione are fruits and vegetables.3
Your body makes cysteine from methionine, an essential amino acid. Neither cysteine nor methionine is stored in the body, so consuming them in your diet or taking supplements is essential. Many foods contain at least some methionine, but eggs, fish, dairy, and meats are high in this nutrient.4
Glycine is used to make glutathione, the neurotransmitter serotonin, and collagen. Your body can make glycine, and it is found in red meats, seeds, turkey, chicken, pork, peanuts, and many other cheeses, grains, and dairy products.
Glutamate can be made in your body and consumed in your diet. Glutamate is found in cheese, sauces, flavorings, nuts, processed meats, fruits and vegetables, and seafood.
Alcohol puts severe oxidative stress on body cells. Excessive alcohol consumption causes lung damage, and researchers believe it is related to glutathione. In the tiny air sacs in the lungs, glutathione levels were lowered by as much as 80% to 90% in people who chronically consumed alcohol.5 Consuming alcohol will negate many of the benefits of glutathione supplementation.
Other substances linked to decreased glutathione levels include:
Glutathione is produced in the body from amino acids consumed in your diet. If you supplement with glutathione long-term, ask about getting your zinc levels checked. Long-term glutathione supplementation has been linked to lower zinc levels.6
Zinc is an essential mineral that is involved in hundreds of chemical reactions, protein production, and gene expression regulation. Oysters are rich in zinc. Other good sources of dietary zinc are red meat, poultry, legumes, nuts, and dairy products.
Glutathione comes in an inhaled form. People with asthma should not use this product.
In some people, glutathione may cause cramping, bloating, or allergic reactions.7
It is unknown whether glutathione supplementation is safe during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
According to rxlist.com, glutathione has no severe, serious, or moderate interactions with other drugs. It does have mild interactions with 89 drugs.
People with asthma should not use inhaled forms of glutathione.
There do not seem to be any contraindications to taking vitamin D with glutathione. In fact, according to Jain et al., 2018, it is beneficial to take vitamin D and glutathione together. Correcting vitamin D levels seems to improve glutathione levels and vice versa.
Still have questions about glutathione? Contact one of the specialists at Invigor Medical to discuss your healthcare needs and learn whether glutathione supplements are a good option for you.
Looking to purchase and get a Glutathione prescription? Shop Invigor Medical today!
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.