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Glutathione

Should You Be Taking Glutathione Supplements?

When browsing the supplement aisle at your local pharmacy, you’ve likely come across glutathione supplements. You might notice that this supplement is marketed as an anti-aging, stress-reducing, and immune-boosting compound. Yet, how much of this is true? 

With the supplement industry worth over 140 billion U.S. dollars, you might feel unsure about believing the claims of certain supplements. So, in this article, we’re going to pull back the curtain and explore everything related to glutathione supplements, including scientifically-backed benefits, conditions glutathione can help, and how to naturally increase glutathione in your body.

What is Glutathione?

Glutathione is an antioxidant consisting of three amino acids, glutamine, cysteine, and glycine. Made in the liver, this antioxidant has many functions. Generally, antioxidants help to protect the body from harm caused by free radicals. Free radicals occur as a result of natural metabolic processes within the body, and too many of them can cause damage to the body’s cells and tissues. 

However, glutathione is responsible for so much more than that. It also contributes to the repair of DNA, the production of proteins, the activation of certain enzymes, regulating the immune response, and more. In fact, as glutathione is found in every cell in the body, it is considered to be one of the most powerful antioxidants.

Undeniably, glutathione is an important compound responsible for helping our bodies and minds perform optimally. Yet, the body’s glutathione levels are impacted by a variety of factors, such as age, diet, inflammation, and stress, which is where glutathione supplements might help fill any gaps.

The Benefits of Glutathione Supplements

Individuals choose to take glutathione supplements for various reasons. In fact, some studies indicate that low glutathione levels in the body are linked to certain diseases, such as Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, age-related diseases, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and more.

The scientifically-backed benefits of glutathione supplementation include:

1. Decreasing Oxidative Stress

Many studies indicate how glutathione supplements help raise glutathione levels in the body, which contributes to overall reduced oxidative stress

For example, a 2009 study showed how glutathione helped individuals with autoimmune diseases by decreasing oxidative stress through the body’s immune response. 

2. Reducing Cell Damage Caused By Fatty Liver Disease

Fatty liver disease happens when too much fat is stored in the liver. As this disease progresses, liver cell death can occur, which can then turn into a life-threatening condition. However, research shows that intravenous glutathione is extremely effective when it comes to reducing cell damage. In fact, further studies show how glutathione combined with lifestyle changes had significantly positive effects on individuals with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

3. Decreasing Pain and Improving Mobility in Those With Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral artery disease happens when the peripheral arteries narrow or become blocked by plaque build-up. In one study, researchers demonstrated how intravenous glutathione twice a day for just five days improved circulation and decreased pain in individuals with peripheral artery disease, allowing them to walk with no pain.

4. Decreasing Insulin Resistance

Research has shown how a glutathione deficiency might play a role in the development of diabetes. Additionally, other research shows how supplementing with glutathione improved insulin sensitivity, indicating it may play a bigger role in preventing diabetes than initially thought.

5. Preventing Cancer Progression

Studies have indicated the importance of glutathione in helping to increase antioxidant capacity and resistance to oxidative stress in cancer cells. However, more research is needed in this area.

6. Reducing Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms

Again, more research is needed to solidify these claims. However, some studies indicate mild motor improvements in those with Parkinson’s Disease after taking glutathione. This further suggests that glutathione might have protective neurodegenerative effects.

What Conditions Can Glutathione Help With?

The truth is that glutathione might help with a variety of conditions, widely due to its powerful antioxidant effects. From the above benefits, we can infer that glutathione might help with:

  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Heart/Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Cancer
  • Liver Disease
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • And more!

Glutathione has the potential to combat these diseases and conditions by protecting cells from the oxidative stress caused by free radicals. In fact, many diseases arise due to inflammation that occurs as a result of oxidative stress. Thus, reducing or eliminating the root cause by increasing your glutathione can help ensure you lead a healthy and disease-free life.

How to Increase Your Glutathione

By now, you might be curious about taking glutathione supplements to improve your overall health and prevent disease. You can increase your glutathione in three different ways as outlined in the following sections.

Dietary Sources

For most health improvements and optimizations, your diet is a great place to start. It lays the foundation for your health and wellness by providing your body with the tools and resources it needs to perform its regular functions.

Here are a few foods you may want to consider adding more of into your diet to improve glutathione levels:

  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Rice
  • Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Onion
  • Dairy products

These foods help your body produce glutathione by providing the building blocks or providing certain compounds that help in the production process.

At the same time, some of these foods might present challenges for individuals on plant-based diets, the keto diet, or the carnivore diet. In these cases, supplementation might be best.

Oral Supplements

Glutathione supplements are easy to find in your local grocery store, local pharmacy, or online. However, it’s always important to conduct your own research on any product you intend to buy to avoid added fillers and other chemicals. 

WebMD further states that glutathione supplements may be safe when taken for two months with daily doses exceeding no more than 500 mg. 

However, it’s important to note that the cost can quickly add up when you choose to supplement as opposed to seeking out whole food sources. Additionally, when taking any nutrient or compound in supplement form, the body may not absorb it as well as it would from certain foods.

Intravenously (IV)

In this case, glutathione is delivered directly to the blood via IV, bypassing the digestive system and any absorption issues. This means that glutathione gets delivered almost immediately to the cells throughout your body, including cells in your brain, lungs, heart, and more. 

However, these IV infusions come at a much higher cost than supplements and food. Many glutathione injections cost a few hundred dollars, depending on where you go.

Glutathione

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you’ve still got questions, check out our frequently asked questions and answers about glutathione supplements below.

How long does glutathione take to work?

Usually, it takes three to four weeks of taking glutathione supplements before you notice a difference. Yet, this may depend on your metabolism, health, and other factors.

Are there different types of glutathione?

Glutathione comes in two different forms. There is reduced glutathione (GSH) and oxidized glutathione (GSSH). GSH is the active form, which helps to protect your body and tissues from harm caused by free radicals.

What are the symptoms of glutathione deficiency?

While a glutathione deficiency is uncommon, symptoms include:

  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Neurological problems, such as seizures and ataxia (difficulty with coordination)
  • Developmental delays
  • Stiff muscles

What is the best form of glutathione to take?

The best form of glutathione to take is the active form, GSH. Taking oral glutathione supplements is usually considered the most convenient, affordable, and safe way to do so. Yet, if you can afford it, IV is the best and most effective way to take glutathione, since it bypasses the digestive system and is delivered directly into the bloodstream.

Disclaimer: The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any products or treatments mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult a licensed medical practitioner for medical advice.

At Innovative Medicine, we believe in transparency. We want you to know that we may participate in affiliate advertising programs pertaining to products mentioned herein.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Meet the Author

Krista Bugden

Krista Bugden is a Professional Freelance Writer, with an Honors Bachelor Degree in Human Kinetics from the University of Ottawa. She worked as a Kinesiologist at a health clinic in Ottawa, Canada for many years before pursuing a full-time writing career. She uses her extensive knowledge in health and science to educate others through well-researched and informative articles. Her passions include helping others, traveling, and inspiring each person she meets to get the most out of their life.
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