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Glutathione FAQs

Benefits of Glutathione

| By Nicole Leon

Benefits of Glutathione
A woman is holding a small pill. Photo Credit Alliance/iStock/Getty Images


Glutathione, or GSH, is found in every cell in the body and is also available as a supplement. There are many benefits to supplementing your diet with glutathione such as being used to treat chronic fatigue syndrome, some lung diseases, boost the immune system and has been used to treat HIV/AIDS and some cancers. Eating a healthy diet, high in fresh fruits and vegetables, allows enough glutathione to supplement the daily allowance of GSH. However, eating a poor diet, glutathione levels may be low and extra supplementation may be needed.

About Glutathione

Glutathione, or GSH, is a naturally occurring protein that protects every cell, tissue, and organ from toxic free radicals and diseases. The supplement contains three amino acids: glycine, glutamate (glutamic acid) and cysteine. GSH supplements contain a high concentration of cysteine and have many of the same proteins found in breast milk which enhances immune system function. Glutathione can help repair damaged cells caused by stress, radiation, pollution, infection and a host of other ailments. Throughout the stages of aging, cells begin to lose their ability to repair themselves and produce strong antioxidants. Benefiting your body with glutathione supplements increases levels of this naturally occurring antioxidant.

Glutathione As An Antioxidant

While vitamins C and E are the most well-known antioxidant supplements, because they neutralize free radicals, glutathione has the added benefit of being a powerful antioxidant because glutathione exists within the cell. Glutathione is found in every type of cell, including cells in the immune system. Glutathione helps to fight against disease, which is why proponents of the supplement suggest it works against cancer and other diseases.

Recommended Dosages of Glutathione

Research completed by the Physicians’ Desktop Reference suggests that taking glutathione orally does not work as well as taking the supplement through injection. Since this poses a host of problems, some doctors believe that taking the precursor molecules to glutathione, such as cysteine, is the best way to get the antioxidant in your system. The Physicians’ Desktop Reference recommends dosages of 10 to 20 grams a day of a cysteine molecule supplement is beneficial for good health and great immune system function. Patients who are ill with cancer or HIV/AIDS, should increase their intake to 30 to 40 grams per day. Checking further with a physician before taking the supplement will help to ensure safety.

Risks and Research

Per the Physicians’ Desktop Reference, glutathione has milk-based proteins that may affect those with milk or lactose allergies and they should avoid this supplement. Patients who have recently been diagnosed with cancer should consult with their physician before taking the supplement. This supplement may be best used as a preventive measure and not a cure-all.

Glutathione is commonly taken in pill form, and Glutathione pills are hugely successful in Japan, particularly for women that just want to have lbrighter skin than they were born with without the side effects that some topical treatments have.

It can also be taken via intravenous injection.  While many dermatologists recommend Glutathione injections because they get 100-percent of the dose into your bloodstream, regular injections can be expensive.

In many cases, people that get Glutathione injections will need to make about 15 trips to the dermatologist to get injections. While it might be more work to go to the dermatologist’s office on a regular basis, Glutathione injections are highly effective.

How Does Glutathione Work?

Glutathione works in a very simple way, yet other skin brightening products can’t compete with the all-natural amino acid compound. Simply put, Glutathione works to clear the body of free radicals and toxins that can lead to serious skin problems like hyperpigmentation and melasma, as well as more common ones like sun spots.

Do I Have to Have Bad Skin?

One common misconception about skin brightening – at least in the United States — is that you have to have bad skin to use them. However, Glutathione can be extremely beneficial for people that would just prefer a slightly brighter complexion. In fact, many women that have flawless skin use Glutathione on a regular basis to help maintain their excellent complexion.

Glutathione can also give people with minor skin imperfections an overall better look by reducing the appearance of red spots and any rough patches that may exist. Many women use Glutathione exclusively to get smoother, more touchable skin.

Additional Benefits of Glutathione

While Glutathione is most commonly used by women looking to brighten their skin, it may have a beneficial effect for women that have cystic acne, acne-prone skin or even the occasional breakout.

Glutathione won’t help hormone-related acne in most cases since it doesn’t affect hormone levels in the body like birth control pills or injections, which are commonly prescribed for women with hormonal acne.

Glutathione isn’t known for its health benefits, but it is an all-natural chain of amino acids that your body needs. While more research needs to be done, there is some evidence that taking Glutathione could actually help to improve a weak immune system or make a healthy immune system even stronger.