The Master Antioxidant: Glutathione

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The Benefits of Glutathione - The master antioxidant
Wellness Mama » Blog » Health » The Master Antioxidant: Glutathione

There is an amazing antioxidant that many people are deficient in and that can be easily depleted by our modern lifestyle. It is the tripeptide Glutathione and it is the body’s most potent detoxifying and antioxidant agent.

What Is Glutathione?

Glutathione is a compound involved as a coenzyme in oxidation–reduction reactions in cells. It is a tripeptide derived from glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine.

The body naturally produces it, though many people don’t make enough to counteract the modern factors that deplete it like stress, exposure to harmful chemicals and certain pharmaceutical drugs. Learn more about it during this podcast interview on using it to combat sugar intake.

Benefits of Glutathione

Glutathione has been extensively studied for its ability to slow aging, reduce the chance of degenerative disease, improve mental performance and more.

Dr. Mark Hyman called it “the most important molecule you need to stay healthy and prevent aging, cancer, heart disease, dementia and more, and necessary to treat everything from autism to Alzheimer’s disease.”

It helps the body produce and recycle antioxidants, which is vital for maintaining cellular health. When it is depleted, this process is inhibited and free radicals can build up in the body.

Additionally, it binds with harmful chemicals, heavy metals and other toxins in the body and carries them into the bile and the stool so they are excreted. It has been used for helping those with immune disorders, autism, digestive disorders like colitis, cardiovascular diseases and other problems.

I personally have used it to help keep my autoimmune disease in check and to reduce inflammation when I have a flare. I also make sure to get enough food and supplemental sources of glutathione and its precursors when pregnant to avoid inflammation and cellular stress as much as possible.

As Dr. Ben Lynch explained in this podcast, those with gene mutations and impaired methylation have a higher chance of deficiency as these methylation nutrients are needed for glutathione production. I also supplement with L-MTHF and B-12 for this reason.

Sources of Glutathione

Glutathione is created in the body from glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine. Taking these amino acids can help the body naturally produce more, but there are also some great food sources of these building blocks needed to make it:

  • Onions and garlic
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Avocado and walnuts
  • Poultry and egg yolks
  • Non-denatured bioactive whey protein (not tolerated in all people)

It is interesting to note that these foods, especially the onions/garlic and green vegetables are a part of Dr. Terry Wahls protocol that she used to reverse her progressive MS and go from a wheelchair to riding her bike to work. These foods, along with her other suggested food of brightly colored vegetables are an excellent source of antioxidants and know to support cellular health.

Supplementing with Glutathione

In the past, it was assumed that it is impossible to supplement since the body breaks down proteins in the digestive process and oral glutathione would not be absorbed.

New forms, like liposomal glutathione, solve this problem, but it is still important to consume a nutrient rich diet that includes the building blocks of glutathione (especially from leafy greens and onions/garlic). I actually use a topical glutathione spray transdermally (on the skin) over my thyroid and it seems to help.

The supplement N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine is shown to naturally increase the body’s production and there is some evidence that Vitamin C can help protect glutathione levels. I supplement with this anyway.

Some naturopathic doctors provide intravenous glutathione injections. This is an effective way to boost levels, though not available in many places.

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Terry Wahls, a clinical professor of medicine and clinical researcher and has published over 60 peer-reviewed scientific abstracts, posters, and papers. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

Have you ever used this or worked to increase your levels?

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


68 responses to “The Master Antioxidant: Glutathione”

  1. Alyssa Avatar

    What about Andy Cutler’s protocol? if you have any mercury in your body – -he HIGHLY does NOT reccommend taking it, its actually on the NONO list. i have been buying $$$ bottles of it from amazon (bullet proof brand) only to find out i couldve been harming myself bc it. please respond to this below:
    Andrew Hall Cutler This is all drivel, nothing you read about glutathione in the alternative medicine literature is more than peripherally related to reality. It’s one of the more dangerous ways quacks make their patients horribly permanently worse.
    Do not take glutathione.
    Do not read about it on the internet. If you want to learn, read basic biochemistry books.
    Andrew Hall Cutler Keep in mind that all the papers you read are about gluathione splashed on a cell culture for a few minutes. What’s important is how it operates over days to years in the much more complex system of your body.
    Andrew Hall Cutler Glutathione is simply a marker for your body’s state of oxidative stress. If GSH is low, oxidative stress is high. The way to deal with this is take accessory antioxidants, not to take glutathione.

  2. Kathleen Avatar

    I am definitely ready to take a glutathione supplement. I was encouraged by your testimonial to Advanced Glutathione spray because I react severely to most supplements and foods, and want something topical instead of capsules. But when I see the product advertised it states that it is an oral spray. How did you decide to put it on your skin instead?


  3. Avantika Avatar

    amazing article which gives elaborate information on glutathione and the master of anti-oxidant which actually helps in fighting against cancer, in curing vitamin deficiency and the benefits which are well versed defined in an excellent manner. Look forward to receiving more articles in enhancing our knowledge.

  4. Michael Avatar

    Hi Wellness Mama,
    Interesting read re glutathione enhancing methods on this forum. As glutathione is a tripeptide (comprised of three amino acids), the fragile cysteine molecule is the rate limiting factor for our cells to make to glutathione. As cysteine is an extremely fragile molecule, it is destroyed in the gut, thus rendering any glutathione supp virtually useless. This is why it is key to use precursors.
    I have been using a glutathione precursor for 8 yrs now with excellent results re inflammation, energy & recovery. Over the 8 yrs I have witnessed many others gain significant health & wellbeing results, this includes elite athletes.
    The product was invented by a world renown scientist, is backed by clinical & peer reviewed studies. The invention was 25 yrs in the making & funded by a NIH. The scientist is also the world authority on glutathione research & development. The product is not the be all & end all, but very, very significant if you truly understand the immense role glutathione, as our bodies master antioxidant plays in our health & well being.
    I do not wish to share the wonderful scientists name or product openly on this forum. However Katie, If you are interested in learning about this scientific breakthrough, I would be very happy to share it with you privately.
    You may then like to share it appropriately with your readers.
    Thank you for bringing to light the immense value of raising our glutathione. By doing so on the intracellular level is paramount to our health.
    Best regards
    Northam Western Australia

  5. Brianna Avatar

    I have read that glutathione is safe and likely beneficial to supplement during pregnancy, and I was wondering if you’d come across any research suggesting that the same goes for breastfeeding.


    I struggled with unexplained infertility for 7 years until I started supplementing glutathione. I was pregnant within 3 cycles. I’m now full term with my first pregnancy and a text book baby is expected.

  6. MelissaVW Avatar

    Did you react to the spray at all after using it the first couple of times? I tried a transdermal glutiathone cream prescribed by my naturopathic endocrinologist last week and had to stop when my neck starting reacting oddly after the first couple of uses — my neck got a little red, and was itchy for days. I’m still trying to figure out what happened, but I’m just curious whether you or anyone else here has had that sort of reaction?

  7. Taryn Avatar

    Hi! My naturopath just recommended Glutathione cream for my daughter, but I can’t seem to find one anywhere. You mention it several times, but your link goes to an oral supplement. Can you please recommend a topical glutathione cream? Thanks!

  8. Karen Avatar

    Glad to find you wrote about this! I recently read about it to aid in an autoimmune disease I may have. Thank you for all your research. xo

  9. Elsa Avatar

    Raw milk, while it will not raise your levels of glutathione if one is deficient (my understanding is that no food can actually do that), contains cysteine so it is probably one good food source (among others) that would help maintain already adequate glutathione levels. Food for thought…

  10. tina Avatar

    Dear Wellnessmama.
    I used to work alot with ceramics, I believe that is partly what contributed to my hashimotos. I had a bad outburst of eczema from ceramics centered around my thyroid some years before I was diagnosed.
    I tried applying glutathione around my thyroid now and the eczema seems to be returning, mildly though. It has been gone for ten years. Do you think this returning is a good or bad thing? I think it might be a detox symptom?
    Thank you for all your work.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      It could be detox, but is it in a specific area or just where you applies the glutathione. It may also be that you are reacting to an ingredient in the glutathione.

  11. Nancy Avatar

    I’ve just recently found out I have an issue with my (per blood test), have felt like I’ve had an issue for a long time, have most of the symptoms and have for a long time, What supplements should I use, how much of the supplements should I use, where can I purchase them. Any concerns I should note. Doctor doesn’t want to treat at this time but I’m tired of feeling this way.

  12. Mary K. Avatar

    I had 4 rounds of IV and now take the liposomal Gluta. I have 2 copies of the MTHFR c677t so the IV was too much for me actually. the liposomal taken at a very very very low dose has helped with inflammation and brain fog from my neurological pain disease.

  13. Samantha Avatar

    What about the connection between Glutathione and sulfur (all of the foods mentioned are high in sulfur)? What if you contain a CBS gene mutation and can’t process sulfur well?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      Planning to write about this soon and also to interview a specialists about it, but there are some good options now for those who can’t tolerate sulfur.

      1. Salina Avatar

        Seconding Samantha. Might there be any information for those who are NO++ as well?

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