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What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Glutathione?

In the body, dangerous naturally occurring substances called free radicals pose a risk of harm to many tissues. The body deploys an “antioxidant defense system” to hold them in check. Glutathione, a protein made from the amino acids cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine, is one of the most important elements of this system.

Glutathione does much of its work in the liver, although it is also found elsewhere in the body. Besides fighting free radicals, it helps keep various essential biological molecules in a chemical state called “reduced” (as opposed to “oxidized”). In addition, glutathione can act on toxins such as pesticides, lead, and dry cleaning solvents, transforming them in such a way that the body can excrete them more easily.

Nutrients such as vitamin C and [vitamin...

Various websites promote glutathione for a wide variety of health problems, from preventing aging to enhancing sports performance. However, oral glutathione supplements are almost certainly useless for any condition since they are not absorbed.

There is a bit of evidence that injected glutathione might offer a few heath benefits, such as preventing blood clots during surgery, 1 reducing the side effects and increasing the effectiveness of cancer chemotherapy drugs such as cisplatin, 2 3 treating male infertility , 4 5 6 7 and alleviating symptoms of early Parkinson’s disease . 8 Although oral glutathione is not likely to provide the same benefits, it is at least theoretically possible that taking the nutrients described in the previous section (and thereby...

Safety Issues

Oral glutathione should be entirely safe, since it is not absorbed.