Glutathione, The Great Protector

There are over 100,000 glutathione citations on PubMed, and research continues worldwide. Interest in this molecule has extended into the general public consciousness. It is the “Superhero of Antioxidants.” with good reason.
In addition to being an antioxidant, glutathione is also a powerful detoxifier and also plays a major role in immune function.

Glutathione: the body's own miracle molecule

GSH is a naturally occurring endogenous substance that is present in all body cells. GSH protects cells from oxidative stress and toxins and consequently from cell damage - with all its negative consequences for health. A direct connection between a good GSH status in the organism and good health has been scientifically proven.

The most important and strongest antioxidant in the human body. It plays an important role in the immune system's functioning and is vital for tissue repairing. It is an important antioxidant which helps to protect your body from damage to cells caused by 'free radicals'. Over the years, our levels of Glutathione dimmish leaving us vulnerable to everyday stresses. This is why the intake of Glutathione through supplements is essential.

The Critical Roles of Glutathione:

1. Direct chemical neutralization of singlet oxygen, hydroxyl radicals, and superoxide radicals

2. Cofactor for several antioxidant enzymes

3. Regeneration of vitamins C and E

4. Neutralization of free radicals produced by Phase I liver metabolism of chemical toxins

5. Make the activated intermediates produced by Phase I water soluble for excretion by the kidneys

6. Transportation of mercury out of cells and the brain

7. Regulation of cellular proliferation and apoptosis

8. Vital to mitochondrial function and maintenance of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)

Glutathione: a precious natural element

The decline in GSH has been associated with changes in the expression and activity of the rate-limiting enzyme glutamate cysteine ligase (GCL). In other words, metabolism is decreasing with age resulting in lower GSH concentrations.

Factors affecting Glutathione status

Your body’s natural glutathione levels fluctuate constantly throughout the day, are lowest in the morning and decrease as you age. Exposure to toxins, ingested and environmental chemicals and even things as healthy as exercise can all increase free radicals and ramp up your body’s need for glutathione.
Time of Day: According to researchers at Emory University, levels of glutathione vary over a 24 hour period, spiking about six hours after each meal and hitting their lowest point in the morning hours.


Young, healthy people tend to have enough glutathione. However, glutathione levels start to decline at around age 45 and continue to decline until death.

Health Conditions

Glutathione status may be depleted by a variety of different health conditions.


The best dietary sources of glutathione are freshly prepared meats and fresh fruits and vegetables (both raw and cooked). Most processed foods have little to no glutathione.

Lifestyle Factors

Because cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol intake cause an increase in free radical production, both habits deplete glutathione levels.
Both prescription and over the-counter drugs can lower glutathione status.
People who are overweight tend to have lower glutathione levels than those who are within normal weight range because excess fat is correlated with oxidative (free radical induced) stress.

Diseases associated with GSH depletion
  • Neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases, amyo-trophic lateral sclerosis, Friedreich’s ataxia)
  • Pulmonary disease (COPD, asthma, and acute respiratory distress syndrome)
  • Immune diseases (HIV, autoimmune disease)
  • Cardiovascular diseases (hypertension, myo-cardial infarction, cholesterol oxidation)
  • Chronic age-related diseases (cataracts, macu-lar degeneration, hearing impairment, and glau-coma)
  • Liver disease
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Aging process itself