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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.
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?
Discussion (68 Comments)
Hi, I was wondering which brand you use of transdermal glutathione?
I’ve been trying to get pregnant for 3 years now and my husband and I decided it’s time to seek out a fertility doctor. After finding that my tubes are clear we had a semen analysis done. The results came back today and all is good except for 14% low motility rate. I’ve been trying to find information on how to increase motility naturally and found an article mentioning Glutathione. I love your blog and wanted to see what you’ve written about Glutathione. Do you have any suggestions, resources, etc. on how to improve sperm motility or just overall sperm health? I have found several of your blog posts regarding improving female fertility but not male. Thank you – Jenna
As you have noticed, I have mostly researched female fertility, as the majority of the clients I worked with were female. I would suggest finding a doctor who specializes in male fertility… They should be able to give you advice.
Read up on Maca root as a supplement, it has some pretty amazing properties, particularly for male fertility.
Hi, I love your site & the wonderful info you provide. Would just like to add that Glutathione needs to be produced in your cells, not taking orally. I’m using a completely natural product that has been proven to increase glutathione levels by 300%, reduce oxidative stress by 40% & it activates nrf2 to protect cells. It has peer reviewed studies in medical journals & is published on pubmed.gov It really is the supplement to find out about. I respect your policies so won’t list any sites but hope you contact me so that I can direct you to the info. It is cutting edge for a supplement & I am really impressed by how it’s helped me with my health issues.
Can you please share the info with me?
I would love to know the name of which form you have reseaarched so well! My mother suffers severly from many issues it sounds like this may help though ibdont know as she has ever been tested for the insufficient glutithione despite the decades of drs visits tests, diagnosis ect.
Please share the name of the natural product that you are using. Thank you very much
I would love to have the information on the natural product you are using to to increase glutathione levels.
Please share. Thank in advance for your kinds response.
Id love to learn more about your sources about glutathione having to be taken orally. I’m just starting to research this supplement and trying to cover all my bases. Thanks!
Colett, thanks for sharing. I would live to get more info on how to increase glutathione levels, thanks!
Could you please name this product? You mentioned how wonderful it is and I am interested in it as wel
This sounds like an ad? Is this spam?
How often would you use topically on your Thyroid? Did it help with Thyroid issues?
DO you have a Instagram or Facebook page?
I can’t find a date when this article was written, was it recently? My naturopath recently put me on a supplement called Glutathione Recycler, taken orally. But, I’ve read elsewhere too that Glutathione is not available or effective when taken orally. Wondering if the product I have is new, or if it’s going to be ineffective, and I should try it trans dermally?
Katie - Wellness Mama
Liposomal forms of glutathione are absorbable orally, but you could definitely try topically as well.
I’ve been taking NAC for fertility reasons (increased pregnancy rate) and it’s been shown to reduce miscarriage in studies. I’ve also read about autism treatments using it with success. Promising stuff, just wish the medical community cared more about learning and passing this info on. I feel like lots of people are missing out on help.
I just got my genomic data and found that I have a number of methylation mutations related to folate and B12 (compound heterozygous MTHFR, plus a few MTR/MTRR mutations), so this all is starting to come together for me. Fortunately, I’ve been taking methylfolate for awhile, but I just ordered some methylated form of B12 and have changed my multi-vitamin to one that does not contain folic acid.
Still reading and learning, but your website has been invaluable.
You little art life sounds identical to my condition.
Have you had any luck concieving? We are TTC & both my husband & I take NAC amount many other things.
I ordered the liposomal glutathione that you link to from seeking health. I already drink pure MSM crystals dissolved in a small amount of water, FLCO, high vit butter oil and while none of them are “good”, in fact they are all “ick” but tolerable. As soon as I opened the plastic bag the bottle came in I got a huge whiff of rotten eggs. I made sure the inner safety seal was on and it was, I opened the bottle and it’s like a horrible combo of rotten egg and old fashioned perm solution (like for hair). I tried a single drop on my finger as you are supposed to be able to mix with water or juice and I almost threw up. Is it rotten? I can’t imagine even rubbing this on my skin. I emailed the company but haven’t heard anything back. Is it supposed to be so ? I don’t know ? Powerfully strong smelling/tasting?
I use transdermal NAC and glutathion on my daughter with autism. Someone commented about yeast flare up, this can happen with many supplements. Fighting yeast is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t let that stop you from adding things that your body needs. The healthier you are, the easier it becomes to run that marathon.
May I ask what type of transdermal NAC you are using. It was advised for us to start NAC with my son but I’m still not sure we have his yeast issues under control. I have read that sometimes transdermal NAC provides less reaction.
Do you only use it liposomally now? I thought you posted once that you took the upgraded self brand?
Katie - Wellness Mama
That brand is liposomal too
I have read about a protocol for vaccine detox for babies that includes liposomal glutathione. Thoughts? Have you given it to your kids?