Antioxidants like glutathione protect your body from harmful byproducts of metabolism, toxins, environmental pollutants, and other threats. Glutathione is naturally produced in the liver and nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. It is a small peptide made up of glycine, L-cysteine, and L-glutamate.
Glutathione is found in all your body tissues and has many important benefits for your health, including:
Glutathione is created naturally in our body through three processes:1,2
Glutathione levels in your body cells will inevitably decrease as you age, and the stresses of everyday life can lead to a glutathione deficit even faster.3 Glutathione deficit is common. To fill this gap, many people opt for glutathione supplements.
Symptoms associated with low glutathione levels include:
There is not enough research on glutathione dosages, the effects of overdosage, or stopping glutathione. Despite being generally recognized as safe, glutathione may cause side effects. It is possible that glutathione injections may lead to the following:4
Glutathione supplementation has not been adequately studied for its potential side effects in people who are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you supplement with glutathione long-term, ask about getting your zinc levels checked. Prolonged glutathione supplement use has been associated with decreased zinc levels.5 Oysters are rich in zinc. Red meat, poultry, legumes, nuts, and dairy products are excellent sources of zinc.
Consuming glutathione-rich foods and having it readily available for your body tissues to use is challenging because it is digested in the intestine, hard to absorb through the intestines, and metabolized in the liver. However, consuming nutritious foods high in glutathione’s precursor amino acids is a great way to give your body the leucine, L-glutamate, and L-cysteine it needs to produce glutathione naturally.
Foods high in glutathione or its precursor amino acids include:
Overall, people consume plenty of glutathione in their diets. In one study, participants had a mean daily glutathione intake of 34.8mg, ranging from 13 to 109.9mg. Fruits and vegetables contributed over 50% of the usual dietary glutathione intake, whereas meats contributed less than 25%. However, the amount of glutathione consumed in the diet does not directly correlate with the amount available in body tissues because much of it is metabolized before it can be used.
Correlations between dietary and tissue Glutathione were higher in people with elevated levels of vitamin C, suggesting that glutathione and vitamin C rich foods should be consumed together.6 Like glutathione, vitamin C is an antioxidant. Supplementing with it can help conserve glutathione. Selenium is a glutathione cofactor and an essential mineral. It can also help enhance glutathione function.
Glutathione has numerous health benefits, as evidenced by its clinical use. If you have any questions about glutathione or are unsure whether it is right for you, please get in touch with one of the treatment specialists at Invigor Medical.
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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.