Why is Glutathione important for your body
WHAT IS GLUTATHIONE?
GLUTATHIONE IS A VERY SIMPLE MOLECULE THAT IS PRODUCED NATURALLY ALL THE
TIME IN YOUR BODY. IT IS A COMBINATION OF THREE SIMPLE BUILDING BLOCKS OF
PROTEIN OR AMINO ACIDS — CYSTEINE, GLYCINE AND GLUTAMINE.
The essence of its effectiveness is the sulfur (SH) chemical groups it contains. Sulfur is a
sticky, smelly molecule and acts like fly paper that entraps the unwanted, toxic or excessive
matter in the body, such as free radicals (ROS) and toxins like mercury and other heavy
metals, chemicals, excess hormones etc.
Normally glutathione is recycled in the body, converted from homocysteine (formed from
Methionine) found in your blood. Glutathione (GSH) is a powerful antioxidant and
detoxifying agent that assists in slowing aging. GSH is found in the cytosol of cells, the liquid
contained within all cells. The Cytosol performs several functions, such as most metabolic
processes, transport of metabolites and is involved in signal transduction.
Glutathione is critical for one simple reason: It recycles antioxidants. To protect against the
deleterious effects of ROS, our bodies have a complex system of endogenous antioxidant
protection in the form of enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione
However, problems occur when we are overwhelmed with too much oxidative stress or too
many toxins. Then the glutathione becomes depleted and we can no longer protect
ourselves against free radicals, infections, or cancer because our ability to reduce the toxic
load has been reduced. This leads to further sickness and soon we are in the downward
spiral of chronic illness. Glutathione is also critical in helping your immune system do its job
of fighting infections and preventing cancer.
This may be due to various factors, such as
1) inadequate intake of foodstuffs containing the antioxidants
2) excessive intake of pro-oxidants
3) exposure to noxious chemicals or ultraviolet light,
4) injury/wounds, and/or
5) intense exercise, especially eccentric exercise, the body’s endogenous antioxidant
system is not able to effectively remove excessive ROS production (2)
Glutathione is also the most critical and integral part of your detoxification system, with the
toxins being mopped up by glutathione, which then carries them into the bile and the stool
and assisted by plant fibre, eliminated from your body.
Glutathione levels may be reduced due to lack of one or more of the three required amino
acids (from poor diet or malabsorption), stress, aging, and toxicity. Other health conditions
commonly associated with low glutathione levels include, autoimmune diseases where,
glutathione is low and toxins are freely circulating because of the body’s inability to bind
and excrete them, Th-17 may become upregulated.
Uncontrolled or inappropriate Th17 activation has been linked to several
autoimmune and auto inflammatory pathologies. Indeed, preclinical and clinical
data show that Th17 cells are associated with several autoimmune diseases such
as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, and lupus
The upregulated Th-17 produces interleukin 17 (IL-17) and determines the severity of the
autoimmune flare-up. Thus down-regulating Th-17 via increasing glutathione levels is
something to be considered. (3)
Glutathione also helps us reach peak mental and physical function. In recent years, aberrant
GSH levels have been implicated in different psychiatric disorders, including stress-related
psychopathologies. (4) Research has shown that raised glutathione levels decrease muscle
damage, reduce recovery time, increase strength and endurance and shift metabolism from
fat production to muscle development. You can boost your own glutathione levels by eating
foods from the broccoli and garlic families. GSTM1, which helps the body rebuild its stores
of glutathione, is a common deficient genetic SNP along with the GST gene and several
other gene deficiencies (5)
The US Department Health and Human services describe Glutathione synthetase deficiency
as a genetic metabolic disorder that affects the body’s ability to produce an important
substance called glutathione. People with glutathione synthetase deficiency do not have
enough of the molecule called glutathione synthetase, which helps the body produce
glutathione. People with glutathione synthetase deficiency can have mild, moderate, or
The signs and symptoms of the deficiency may include anaemia, the buildup of too much acid in the body (metabolic acidosis), frequent infections, and symptoms
caused by problems in the brain including seizures, intellectual disability, and loss of
Glutathione synthetase deficiency is caused by genetic changes (pathogenic variants or
mutations) in the GSS gene. The deficiency is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner.
Diagnosis of a metabolic disorder such as glutathione synthetase deficiency may be
suspected when a doctor observes signs of the deficiency including metabolic acidosis.
Tests to confirm the diagnosis include enzyme assays, urine analysis, and genetic testing. (6)
If you are sick or old or are just not in peak shape, you may find you have glutathione
deficiency. For the glutathione in the body to be produced, you must have enough folate,
B6, and B12 and the methylation train must run efficiently. (5)
SUPPLEMENTS THAT MAY BE UTILISED TO SUPPORT GLUTATHIONE PRODUCTION
– Curcumin – Selenium – Silymarin (milk thistle) – Vitamin C – Vitamin E – MSM – NAC – B
vitamins – Glutathione cream – Oral glutathione
Why is Glutathione important for your body
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FOODS THAT ASSIST THE PRODUCTION OF GLUTATHIONE
– Broccoli – Watermelon – Cauliflower – Parsley – Milk thistle – Whey protein – Curcumin –
Raw milk – Kale – Raw eggs – Cabbage – Turmeric – Avocado – Red meat – spinach – organ
meats – onion – garlic (7)
In fact, a British medical journal, the “Lancet”, found the highest glutathione levels in
healthy young people, lower levels in healthy elderly, lower still in sick elderly and the
lowest of all in the hospitalized elderly. (8) Multimorbidity is the most common clinical
condition linked to aging; it affects more than 80% of people aged 65 years or older. Recent
studies have detected an association between low levels of glutathione and specific chronic
conditions such as diabetes mellitus, AIDS, cystic and pulmonary fibrosis, chronic liver injury
and some neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Glutathione is critical for immune function and controlling inflammation. It is the master
detoxifier and the body’s main antioxidant, protecting our cells and making our energy
metabolism run well.
GSH also participates in a series of immune processes, protecting host immune
cells through its antioxidant mechanism and providing the optimal functioning of
lymphocytes and other cells of the immune system. Endogenous GSH is essential
for T-cell proliferation, dendritic cell functions, in which authors demonstrated
that cysteine supplementation mediates the redox modelling of Tregs through
the reduction of GSH synthesis in isolated dendritic cells from mice. In addition,
they found that during T cell activation, GSH transport from the nucleus to the
cytoplasm was blocked. GSH is also important for the activity of polymorph
nuclear neutrophils (PMN). It was observed that when isolated leukocytes from
healthy humans were treated with GSH-oxidizing reagents, phagocytosis was
regulated in PMN through the inhibition of the assembly of microtubules and
consequent reduction of H2O2 production in GSH homeostasis.
Even small changes in intercellular levels of Glutathione have been shown to have a
negative impact on lymphocyte activity. Studies have shown an increase of T cell
proliferation and IL-2 levels with restoration of GSH levels. Additionally it has been
suggested that GSH may protect cells from immunological cell damage. (10)
Exercise for Your Way to More Glutathione. Exercise boosts your glutathione levels and
thereby helps boost your immune system, improve detoxification and enhance your body’s
own antioxidant defences. Start slow and build up to 30 minutes a day of vigorous aerobic
exercise like walking or jogging, or play various sports. Strength training for 20 minutes 3
times a week is also helpful.
1. Forman HJ, Zhang H, Rinna A. Glutathione: overview of its protective roles, measurement, and
biosynthesis. Molecular aspects of medicine. 2009;30(1-2):1-12.
2. Kerksick C, Willoughby D. The antioxidant role of glutathione and N-acetyl-cysteine supplements and
exercise-induced oxidative stress. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2005;2(2):38-44.
3. Waite JC, Skokos D. Th17 Response and Inflammatory Autoimmune Diseases. International journal of
4. Zalachoras I, Hollis F, Ramos-FernC!ndez E, Trovo L, Sonnay S, Geiser E, et al. Therapeutic potential of
glutathione-enhancers in stress-related psychopathologies. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews.
5. M.D. MH. The UltraMind Solution_ Fix Your Broken Brain by Healing Your Body First – The Simple Way
to Defeat Depression, Overcome Anxiety, and Sharpen Your Mind2009 First Scribner hardcover edition
6. Glutathione synthetase deficiency _ Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD) – an
NCATS Program.pdf 2018 [updated 13.05.2018]. Available from:
7. Sterling Hll Compiled by Cynthia Smith B, JD, With contributions by Sterling Hill Erdei and Carolyn
Ledowsky N. SNPBit Compendium 2019.
8. Nuttall SL, Martin U, Sinclair AJ, Kendall MJ. Glutathione: in sickness and in health. Lancet.
9. PC)rez LM, Hooshmand B, Mangialasche F, Mecocci P, Smith AD, Refsum H, et al. Glutathione Serum
Levels and Rate of Multimorbidity Development in Older Adults. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A.
10. Rodrigues C, Percival SS. Immunomodulatory Effects of Glutathione, Garlic Derivatives, and Hydrogen
Sulfide. Nutrients. 2019;11(2):295.