Glutathione: what it is, contraindications, what it helps, effects

Glutathione is one of the most potent antioxidants for supporting the body's health. Find out how it works and where to get it from.

Ludwig Jelonek - AuthorAuthorLudwig Jelonek
Ludwig Jelonek - Author
AuthorLudwig Jelonek
Natu.Care Editor

Ludwik Jelonek is the author of more than 2,500 texts published on leading portals. His content has found its way into services such as Ostrovit and Kobieta Onet. At Natu.Care, Ludwik educates people in the most important area of life - health.

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Ilona Bush - Reviewed byReviewed byIlona Bush
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Ilona Bush - Reviewed by
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Master of Pharmacy

Ilona Krzak obtained her Master of Pharmacy degree from the Medical University of Wrocław. She did her internship in a hospital pharmacy and in the pharmaceutical industry. She is currently working in the profession and also runs an educational profile on Instagram: @pani_z_apteki

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Bartholomew Turczynski - Edited byEdited byBartholomew Turczynski
Bartholomew Turczynski - Edited by
Edited byBartholomew Turczynski
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Bartłomiej Turczyński is the editor-in-chief of Natu.Care. He is responsible for the quality of the content created on Natu.Care, among others, and ensures that all articles are based on sound scientific research and consulted with industry specialists.

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Fact-checkingEmilia Moskal
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Emilia Moskal specialises in medical and psychological texts, including content for medical entities. She is a fan of simple language and reader-friendly communication. At Natu.Care, she writes educational articles.

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Glutathione: what it is, contraindications, what it helps, effects
29 April, 2024
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Glutathione is one of the most powerful antioxidants in the body. This compound counteracts oxidative stress, which is the cause of many diseases. Find out how it works and how to dose it safely.

With pharmacist Ilona Krzak, we have compiled the most important information about it.

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From this article you will learn:

  • What glutathione is and how it works.
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  • Where glutathione occurs.
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  • What are the symptoms of its deficiency.
  • What are the symptoms of its deficiency?
  • Whether there are contraindications to its use.
  • .

See also:

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What is glutathione?

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Glutathione is an essential antioxidant produced by the body. The organs use it to protect against harmful substances such as free radicals, heavy metals and some drugs and toxinsand.

Glutathione is known as the 'master antioxidant'. It is involved in many important processes in the body, such as DNA repair, protein synthesis, transport amino acids or immune system support. It is present in all cells and is crucial for maintaining optimal healthand.

His levels can be increased through a healthy diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep and avoiding stress. Low levels of glutathione can lead to oxidative stress, which will result in a number of health problems such as chronic, neurological, metabolic, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases .

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Glutathione itself acts as an antioxidant, but is also an activator for various antioxidant enzymes.
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Ilona Krzak.

Ilona Krzak Master of Pharmacy

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What is liposomal glutathione?

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Liposomal glutathione is a form of glutathione that provides better bioavailability of this substance. The name "liposomal" comes from the word "liposome", which is a tiny vesicular structure containing a layer of fat (lipids) that can surround and carry substances such as glutathioneand.

What formula does glutathione have?

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Glutathione (GSH) is a tripeptide composed of three amino acids: glutamate, cysteine and glycine. Due to the presence of a sulfhydryl (-SH) group in cysteine, it is a peptide with strong antioxidant properties. Its formula is: C10H17N3O6Sand.

What glutathione helps - effects

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Glutathione (GSH) is a powerful antioxidant naturally produced by the human body. It plays a key role in many basic biological processes and offers a wide range of health benefits.

What does glutathione affect?

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Cell protection

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Glutathione plays a key role in protecting cells by neutralising harmful free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that contain unpaired electrons, making them highly reactiveand.

They can cause damage to cells, resulting in ageing and diseases such as cancer. Glutathione is able to 'catch' free radicals and thus neutralise their negative effectsand.

Additionally, it aids the absorption of vitamins E and C, which also act to protect cells. Glutathione is therefore crucial for maintaining health at a cellular level and protecting against uncontrolled oxidative stressand.

Support for the immune system

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Glutathione plays a key role in the production, proliferation and function of lymphocytes, which are an essential component of the immune system responsible for the immune response to pathogens. Adequate levels of glutathione are therefore essential for an efficient and effective fight against infectionand.

What makes glutathione so unique is its ability to modulate the immune response. This peptide can nullify inflammation by regulating pro-inflammatory cytokines, counteracting the negative effects of chronic inflammation .

Detoxification of the body

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All cells in the body have the ability to produce glutathione, but it is produced most by the liver -the main organ involved in filtering toxins from the blood .

Glutathione is involved in two stages of detoxification - in the first it converts fat-soluble toxins into less harmful metabolites, and in the second stage it helps convert these substances into hydrophilic (water-soluble) forms that can be easily excreted from the body by the kidneysand.

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The role of glutathione, therefore, is to protect the body's cells from the damaging effects of different types of toxins - from those from the external environment, such as air pollutants or chemicals, to those produced internally, such as products of metabolism .

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Glutathione behaves like such a rubbish truck. It collects toxins and inactivates and transports them to expel outside the cell.
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Ilona Krzak.

Ilona Krzak Master of Pharmacy

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Improving brain function

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Glutathione supports the protection of brain function and neuronal health. Through antioxidant activity, it neutralises free radicals and reduces oxidative stress, which is one of the factors leading to neurodegenerationand.

This prevents cellular damage at the neuronal level and prevents long-term inflammation in the brain, which can lead to neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's .

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Additionally, glutathione supports the efficient transport of amino acids across the blood-brain barrier, which is essential for the proper functioning of nerve cells. Some studies have also suggested that it may help to combat symptoms of mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, although this requires further researchand.

Where does glutathione occur?

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Glutathione is present in many foods. You will find particularly high concentrations of this antioxidant in fruit and vegetables, especially avocados, spinach, asparagus, pumpkin, melon and broccoli. Green vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale are also rich in glutathioneand.

Glutathione is also found in animal products such as meat, fish and eggs. Some cereal foods, such as rice bran, are also significant sources of this important tripeptide .

It is worth remembering, however, that food preparation and storage methods can affect glutathione content. For example, cooking significantly reduces the amount of this antioxidant in food .

Glutathione deficiency

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Glutathione deficiency can result from a number of factors - both external and internal. An important role is played by diet. An inappropriate, nutrient-poor diet, particularly a lack of foods rich in cysteine, one of the amino acids necessary for glutathione synthesis, can lead to glutathione deficiencyand.

Another factor contributing to glutathione deficiency is exposure to environmental toxins such as pesticides, heavy metals, alcohol or drugs. These increase the body's need for antioxidants to neutralise these harmful substancesand.

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In people who smoke or inhale toxic particles, there is potential inflammation, which is relieved on an ongoing basis by the glutathione present in the body. This leads to a depletion of the reserves of this antioxidant.
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Ilona Krzak.

Ilona Krzak Master of Pharmacy

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Glutathione deficiency can also result from certain health conditions, such as liver disease, HIV/AIDS, or genetic conditions affecting its synthesis. Finally, it is also important to emphasise that glutathione levels naturally decline with age.

Symptoms

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Glutathione deficiency is often difficult to diagnose as the symptoms are varied and can be ambiguous. A decrease in levels of this antioxidant can affect many functions in the body, leading to a variety of symptomsand.

What are the symptoms of glutathione deficiencyand?

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  • Chronic fatigue. Glutathione is crucial to the body's energy production, so a deficiency can lead to a constant feeling of fatigue.
  • Frequent colds or infections. Glutathione is a key regulator of the immune system, so low levels can result in increased susceptibility to disease.
  • Neurological problems. Symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, slurred speech, or trembling can result from insufficient protection of nerve cells.
  • Chronic inflammation. Low levels of glutathione can lead to chronic inflammation, which will manifest as joint pain, muscle pain and other problems.
  • Dermal problems. The skin may become dry and flaky, and its condition will deteriorate.
  • Digestive disorders. Glutathione is essential for maintaining digestive health, so a deficiency can result in digestive problems.
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How to increase glutathione levels in the body

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You can raise your body's glutathione levels in several different ways. The first, and often the best, is a proper diet. You can introduce more foods rich in sulphur amino acids, which are essential for glutathione production, into your diet. These include, for example, eggs, meat, nuts, seeds or onions and garlicand.

Additionally, it is important to supplement with vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, E, selenium and magnesium, which support glutathione production. It is also important to avoid oxidative stressors such as alcohol and cigarette smoke, which can degrade glutathione in the bodyand.

Another way is to take supplements containing glutathione or its precursors, such as N-acetylcysteine (NAC) or alpha-lipoic acid. It is believed that these can increase glutathione levels in the body. However, it is always advisable to consult a doctor or nutritionist about the decision to take supplementsand.

Glutathione - dosage

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Glutathione dosage can vary greatly depending on factors such as health status, type of ailment, age, body weight or individual expectations. It is always advisable to consult your doctor or pharmacist before starting supplementation.

Recommended doses of glutathione are usually however, 500 mg per day for supplementation lasting approximately 2 monthsand.

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In what forms does glutathione occur?

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Glutathione occurs in several different forms. Depending on your needs and circumstances, you can take it intravenously, via infusions, in tablet form or as a dietary supplement. What are the characteristics of each option?

Tablets

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Glutathione tablets are the easiest and most accessible form of supplementing levels of this antioxidant. Despite this, the absorption of these preparations by the body can be significantly lower compared to other methods. Glutathione supplements may also contain other ingredients to improve its absorption, such as N-acetylcysteine (NAC).

Infusions

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Glutathione infusions are one of the most effective methods of increasing the levels of this antioxidant in the body. In this form, glutathione is administered directly into the bloodstream, allowing rapid and efficient absorption. Glutathione infusions are often used for intensive detoxification therapy.

Intravenously (injections)

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Glutathione injections are another method that provides direct delivery of glutathione to the body. This method is often used for people with chronic illnesses that may impede the absorption of glutathione from food or supplements.

Intravenous glutathione injections are also used for people with chronic illnesses that may impede the absorption of glutathione from food or supplements.

Glutathione - supplementation

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Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant produced naturally in the body that helps to neutralise free radicals, guide detoxification processes and support the proper functioning of the immune system. In some situations, however, its synthesis may be limited, leading to the need for external supplementation.

Glutathione supplementation is commonly recommended for people undergoing intense training, those suffering from chronic diseases and as support for the immune system. Dosage is dependent on the individual situation and should be tailored to specific needs. The usual recommended dosage is approximately 500 mg per day, for a period of two monthsand.

Despite the potential benefits associated with glutathione supplementation, it is advisable to consult your doctor or a qualified healthcare professional before starting treatment. These professionals will determine whether glutathione supplementation is right for you and how long you should take it.

Provided you have the necessary information, you will be able to find out if glutathione supplementation is right for you and how long you should take it.

Where to buy glutathione?

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Glutathione is safest to buy from a pharmacy, where you can be sure of the quality and composition of the product. Alternatively, you can find it in some drugstores that sell dietary supplements.

Another option is to buy online, where you will find a wider selection of products. However, remember to use trusted online shops and check other users' reviews. This will allow you to make sure that the product is genuine and meets all safety standards.

Contraindications to the use of glutathione

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Glutathione, despite its many health benefits, will not be good for everyone. As with any dietary supplement, judicious and informed use is necessary. It is also a good idea to consult your doctor before taking it, especially if you have an existing medical condition, are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking other medications.

Contraindications to the use of glutathioneand:

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  • Allergy or hypersensitivity to any ingredient in the preparation.
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  • Asthma.
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  • Pregnancy and lactation.
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Glutathione - side effects

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As with any dietary supplement, glutathione can also cause some side effects, although these are usually rare and mild. Most people tolerate it very well, especially if taken as directed by a doctorand.

The most commonly reported side effects are gastrointestinal complaints such as abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhoea. Less commonly, allergic reactions may occur, particularly in people with hypersensitivity to glutathioneand.

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In some cases, glutathione supplementation can also lead to reduced zinc levels in the body and bronchospasm in patients with asthma. If you notice the onset of any worrying symptoms after starting glutathione supplementation, you should consult your doctor immediatelyand.

Summary

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  • Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant produced by the body that neutralises free radicals and protects against oxidative stress.
  • Glutathione deficiency can lead to health problems, including chronic, neurological and cardiovascular diseases.
  • .
  • Glutathione levels can be increased through a healthy diet, exercise, adequate sleep and minimising stress.
  • .
  • Glutathione occurs naturally in some foods, especially fruit, vegetables and meat.
  • .
  • Typical symptoms of glutathione deficiency include chronic fatigue, susceptibility to infection, neurological problems, inflammation and skin problems.
  • .
  • Glutathione supplementation is often recommended for people undergoing intense training, suffering from chronic diseases or as immune system support.
  • .
  • Before starting glutathione supplementation, it is advisable to consult your doctor.
  • .
  • Some groups of people, such as allergy sufferers, people with asthma or pregnant women, should avoid glutathione supplementation.
  • .
  • Possible side effects of glutathione supplementation include gastrointestinal discomfort and allergic reactions.
  • .
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FAQ

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. Is glutathione safe?.

Every healthy person produces glutathione in the body. In addition, many of the foods you eat on a daily basis contain glutathione. For this reason, it is not considered a dangerous substance but, on the contrary, safe and beneficial.

. Can glutathione be consumed during pregnancy?.

There is no conclusive evidence to suggest that glutathione is dangerous for pregnant women. It is a natural antioxidant that is produced by the body and present in many healthy foods.

Although there is no direct evidence that glutathione supplementation is harmful to pregnant or breastfeeding women, you should always consult your doctor before starting such supplementation.

. Should patients with asthma avoid glutathione?.

Most people who use glutathione do not experience any asthma-related problems. However, some studies suggest that glutathione supplementation by inhalation in selected patients may induce asthma attacks.

This is why you should always consult your doctor before starting glutathione supplementation, especially if you have asthma.

. Can glutathione be obtained from food?.

Yes, glutathione is present in many foods, especially fruits and vegetables such as avocados, spinach, asparagus, pumpkin, melon, broccoli and kale. It is also present in some animal products, such as meat, fish and eggs.

However, it is important to note that cooking and food storage processes can reduce glutathione content.

. Can glutathione help in the fight against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's?.

Glutathione, as a natural antioxidant, plays a key role in protecting brain function and neuronal health by neutralising free radicals and reducing oxidative stress, which is one of the factors leading to neurodegeneration.

Although glutathione may counteract damage at the neuronal level and thus help prevent neurodegenerative diseases, a conclusive statement that it is effective against these diseases requires further research.

. Can glutathione help maintain skin health?.

Yes, glutathione can contribute to skin health in several ways. First of all, it is a powerful antioxidant that can protect the skin from the damaging effects of oxidative stress and environmental pollutants. In addition, glutathione helps to regenerate vitamins E and C in the skin, which are important for skin health.

. Can long-term intake of glutathione have negative health effects?.

There is no conclusive evidence to suggest that long-term use of glutathione has any adverse health effects. Glutathione is a natural antioxidant produced by our body and also present in many foods.

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Sources

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Aoyama, K. (2021). Glutathione in the Brain. International Journal of Molecular Sciences22(9), 5010. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22095010

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Averill-Bates, D. A. (2023). The antioxidant glutathione. Vitamins and Hormones121, 109-141. https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.vh.2022.09.002

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Sonthalia, S., Daulatabad, D., & Sarkar, R. (2016). Glutathione as a skin whitening agent: Facts, myths, evidence and controversies. Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology82(3), 262-272. https://doi.org/10.4103/0378-6323.179088

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Meet the team
Ludwig Jelonek - Author

Natu.Care Editor

Ludwik Jelonek is the author of more than 2,500 texts published on leading portals. His content has found its way into services such as Ostrovit and Kobieta Onet. At Natu.Care, Ludwik educates people in the most important area of life - health.

Ilona Bush - Reviewed by

Master of Pharmacy

Verified by an expert

Ilona Krzak obtained her Master of Pharmacy degree from the Medical University of Wrocław. She did her internship in a hospital pharmacy and in the pharmaceutical industry. She is currently working in the profession and also runs an educational profile on Instagram: @pani_z_apteki

Bartholomew Turczynski - Edited by

Editor-in-Chief

Bartłomiej Turczyński is the editor-in-chief of Natu.Care. He is responsible for the quality of the content created on Natu.Care, among others, and ensures that all articles are based on sound scientific research and consulted with industry specialists.

Emilia Moskal - Fact-checking

Natu.Care Editor

Emilia Moskal specialises in medical and psychological texts, including content for medical entities. She is a fan of simple language and reader-friendly communication. At Natu.Care, she writes educational articles.

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