Supplementing with Glutathione Pills
Also known as “The Mother of All Antioxidants,” glutathione (GSH) is a powerful compound found in the body but also in plants, animals, fungi, and even some bacteria and archaea. In humans, it is found in all cell types but found in highest contractions in the liver, and a vital mechanism for fighting harmful toxins. Alarmingly, a large number of people are deficient and should consider boosting their glutathione levels through supplementation like glutathione pills.
What are Glutathione Pills?
Glutathione is best known for its powerful ability to neutralize reactive oxygen species (ROS) like free radicals, lipid peroxides, and heavy metals which can cause cellular damage and a variety of health issues. It also plays an important role in metabolic and biochemical reactions like DNA synthesis and repair, protein synthesis, amino acid transport, and enzyme activation (as a cofactor). As a result, glutathione levels have the ability to affect almost every system in the body with the nervous system, immune system, gastrointestinal system, and lungs being most susceptible.
A tripeptide, glutathione is a combination of the three amino acids: L-glutamine, L-cysteine, and glycine. The presence of glutathione is largely dependent on the availability of its precursors which generally declines with age and contributes to an increased risk of certain chronic diseases.
Additionally, an optimal amount of glutathione is necessary to help other antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and carotenoids be used efficiently by the body. Production is very easily disturbed by factors such as poor diet, stress, pharmaceutical drugs, infections, and radiation, making supplementation a smart consideration in hectic modern times.
Supplementing with Glutathione
Pill-form glutathione is readily available at supplement and nutrition stores like GNC and the Vitamin Shoppe, as well as online retailers like Amazon and LuckyVitamin. Daily doses generally range between 250 and 1,000 mg per capsule.
Since it is also found in animals and plants, patients can increase their glutathione levels dietarily. Glutathione contains sulfur molecules which mean consuming foods high in sulfur can bolster natural production in the body.
Such foods include:
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, etc.)
- Allium vegetables (garlic, onions, etc.)
- Lean protein
It should be noted that cooking reduces the glutathione content of these natural sources by 30 to 60 percent and canning destroys it completely. For that reason, it is best to consume the non-meat foods raw.
High-quality whey protein supplements are also a popular choice since they often contain the amino acids that comprise glutathione and will be used to synthesize the compound.
Uses of Glutathione Pills
Since oxidative stress can have adverse effects on nearly every cell type, glutathione has the ability to support many different functions in the body. People have been known to use glutathione pills to aid in detoxification, immune support, energy production, muscle endurance and strength, anti-aging, and general disease prevention.
The Benefits of Glutathione Pills
There are many benefits to glutathione pills and how they help the body. Below are some of them:
Counters Oxidative Stress
At the root of all the impressive benefits glutathione offers is its ability to reduce oxidative stress caused by adverse lifestyle factors such as intense exercise, alcohol consumption, poor sugar, and sleep deprivation. Severe oxidative stress can lead to multiple life-threatening diseases including cancer, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Psoriasis is a common autoimmune condition that accelerates the life cycle of skin cells, causing them to build up. The extra skin to quickly develops into scales and itchy and sometimes painful red patches. A 2013 pilot study found that whey protein, which contains high amounts of glutathione precursors, improved psoriasis symptoms in participants who consumed 20 grams orally every day for three months. Although more research is needed to confirm a recommended dosage, early results are promising.
Fights Liver Disease
The liver, the second largest internal organ, is vital to the body’s wellbeing. It is responsible for a range of functions, but most importantly it rids the body of toxins and harmful compounds by filtering blood from the digestive tract. Cell death is triggered by the presence of too many free radicals when there is a deficiency of antioxidants, such as glutathione, to balance them out.
This can lead to a condition called fatty liver disease which is, as its name suggests, a build-up of fat on the liver that can be induced by excessive alcohol consumption or other non-alcoholic factors. Glutathione counters this by increasing protein, enzyme, and bilirubin levels in the blood to promote better filtration.
An Italian study found glutathione to be most effective at regressing fatty liver disease when administered in high doses intravenously. Another study reports positive results in 29 patients with a non-alcoholic fatty liver disease who consumed 300 mg of glutathione orally daily for four consecutive months.
Stimulates Fat Burn
Glutathione also plays a role in weight management. As people age, they, tend to retain more weight as well as produce less glutathione. Research from the Baylor School of Medicine in Houston, Texas suggests there is a strong correlation between the two as low glutathione levels were associated with reduced fat burning and fat storage in both human and animal studies. When older human subjects were administered supplemental amounts of L-cysteine and glycine to their diets, glutathione levels increased while insulin sensitivity and fat burning improved.
Decreases Effects of Peripheral Artery Disease
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) occurs when plaque buildup causes blood vessel walls to become narrow and is very common in those with type 2 diabetes. It most often occurs in the leg and can reduce mobility by making walking painful. Glutathione has the ability to clear these plaque deposits as shown in a 2002 study from the University of Verona (Italy).
The report says that PAD participants who were given glutathione IV infusions twice daily for five days had improved circulation and mobility compared to those given a placebo.
Reduces Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder identified by recognizable symptoms including shaking, tremors, loss of coordination, and difficulties speaking. It is currently without a cure but a 2009 study found symptoms improved in affected patients who were given glutathione intravenously twice daily for five days.
Protects Against Autoimmune Disease
Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, and lupus cause chronic inflammation that weakens antioxidant defenses and drives oxidative stress. They act by targeting mitochondria in specific cells of the body. Glutathione protects against these conditions by removing reactive oxygen-based molecules. This subsequently either triggers or inhibiting the body’s immunological response to control the inflammation, according to a 2009 study.
Lessens Autistic Oxidative Damage in Children
Multiple studies have indicated that children suffering from autism have elevated rates of oxidative damage and lower levels of glutathione in their brain cells. This increases their risk of neurological damage and can lead to the formation of harmful compounds like mercury.
In 2012, researchers from Stanford University tested the hypothesis that increases glutamine levels would have a positive effect on children with autism. They gave a test group of children a daily dose of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), a derivative of the glutathione precursor, every day for 12 weeks. During the first four weeks, they consumed 900 mg daily and the dosage was increased by 900 mg every four weeks thereafter.
The results of the study reported an 80 percent drop in irritability score in the NAC group versus a similar group that consumed placebo for the same amount of time.
Decrease the Effects of Diabetes
There is a known correlation between long-term high blood sugar and low levels of glutathione, which results in more oxidative damage to body tissues. A study published by the American Diabetes Association found that participants with uncontrolled diabetes who supplemented with glycine and L-cysteine were able to improve their glutathione levels and reduce oxidative damage.
Suppress Symptoms of Respiratory Disease
N-acetylcysteine, a byproduct of glutathione, is prescribed as medication for respiratory conditions like asthma and cystic fibrosis. When inhaled, it helps thin mucus and reduces inflammation of airways as shown by a study published by the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition.
Improves Skin Health
The appearance of the skin reflects what’s going inside. As the body’s first line of defense, skin quality suffers in the presence of too many free radicals or toxins. Glutathione is able to improve skin health by neutralizing potential infections at the source.
Glutathione Skin Whitening Pills
Glutathione is no secret in the cosmetics industry and readily available in soap, cream, lotion, and pill forms. In addition to being important for generally promoting skin health, glutathione can make skin appear younger. By causing the skin to peel it reveals lighter and brighter new skin underneath, which is why some people use glutathione skin whitening.
This is helpful for reducing the appearance of:
- Dark circles
- Skin pigmentations
- Reduces skin pigmentations
- Age Spots
It should be noted, however, that the effects of glutathione are only temporary. Those looking for lasting effects will need to incorporate oral glutathione supplements into their daily routine. Another method people use glutathione to whiten their skin is via injections.
Th Side Effects of Glutathione Pills
Glutathione supplements are generally safe to consume since it is already naturally found in the body. However, there still some considerations to be made. Speak with your doctor about glutathione before making it a permanent part lifestyle.
When inhaled, glutathione can cause airways to shrink in size (bronchoconstriction) which may cause difficulty breathing in patients with existing respiratory conditions such as asthma. The sulfites in glutathione give it an odor resembling rotten eggs as well as contribute to the degradation of airways. However, inhaled glutathione is effective at reversing oxidative damage triggered by environmental and inflammatory processes.
Glutathione precursors are known to potentially cause a variety of gastrointestinal side effects including abdominal cramps, bloating, nausea, and vomiting. This is believed to be because the orally-consumed powdered form is more resistant to stomach acids and digestive enzymes.
As with any supplement, you don’t want too much a good thing. Although glutathione generally improves liver function by neutralizing oxidative stress, excess amounts can overwork the liver and cause further health complications.
Glutathione can cause allergic reactions in some people. Most commonly a temporary urticaria-like rash may appear upon ingestion, but inflammation, swelling, and other rashes have been reported as well. It is advisable to test glutathione products in smaller doses before fully adding them to your regimen. Discontinue use of glutathione and call your doctor immediately if an allergic reaction occurs.
Glutathione Pills Reviews
While glutathione itself is well researched, the efficacy of oral supplementation is yet to be determined. Some professionals claim that the likelihood of achieving desirable results from ingestion are slim because oral glutathione supplements are poorly absorbed by the digestive tract. However, you can still boost our body’s glutathione levels indirectly. By supplying the body with more of the building blocks (ie. the amino acids L-glutamine, L-cysteine, and glycine) from certain foods and whey protein, it can synthesize more glutathione on its own.
Additionally, as with several of the aforementioned studies, the intravenous and nebulous administration has been shown to be effective at improving conditions caused by oxidative damage.
Glutathione is a powerful and essential antioxidant produced by the body to balance out oxidative stress. Its production is inhibited by toxin-inducing factors such as stress, aging, and poor nutrition. Oral supplementation of glutathione or its precursors may be the easiest way to increase levels in the body and take advantage of a variety of health benefits including improved weight management, brain health, and skin quality.