"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream" C. S. Lewis

Glutathione is produced by your body and found in every cell with the highest concentrations in the liver. Glutathione has hundreds of critical lifesaving functions in your body. Here is a brief summary of the main, but not all, benefits:

1. It is your body's master antioxidant.

What does this mean?

A major cause of aging & disease is the production of what are called free radicals in your body. These are unstable molecules with unpaired electrons which attack & damage your body and impair functioning. Glutathione comes to the rescue & neutralizes free radical production. Most other antioxidants are depleted upon wiping out a free radical, but glutathione can rejuvenate, recharge, & recycle itself as well as other antioxidants such as vitamins C & E, & lipoic acid. It does this by donating electrons to unstable molecules & this is why it is called the master antioxidant.

When decreasing free radical damage, the crucial cysteine molecule of (GSH) is a key to the protection it provides. Its sulfur atom scavenges destructive molecules such as peroxides and free radicals converting them to harmless compounds, such as water.

When decreasing oxyradical damage, (GSH) detoxifies reactive oxygen radicals by giving them an electron which effectively neutralizes them, or (GSH) joins with the oxyradical which again neutralizes it.

When metabolizing hydrogen peroxide (H202), (GSH) biotransforms hydrogen peroxide by turning it into harmless water.

2. It is a major detoxifier & metabolizer of toxins, pollutants, chemicals, heavy metals, and any substances foreign or toxic to your body.

In the liver, the enzyme glutathione S-transferase takes the sulfur from glutathione and attaches it to toxic molecules, this makes the toxin more water soluble. Once a toxin is water soluble, it is transported to the body's elimination systems and excreted.

Glutathione enzymes transform carcinogens to unreactive non-genotoxic compounds that can be eliminated without causing any damage to the cell or DNA.

Glutathione interacts with all foreign or poisonous chemical compounds to neutralize and break them down for elimination from the body. In some instances, depending on the state of the foreign agent, glutathione joins with it instead of metabolizing it.

Glutathione joins with heavy metals to neutralize them and eliminate them from the body.

3. Glutathione regulates cell growth and division, by reducing cellular oxides, such as hydrogen peroxide, that would otherwise prevent cell growth and division. It also protects DNA from oxidative stress during cell division thus allowing division to occur. When DNA is mutated by a free radical stealing an electron, glutathione repairs the mutated DNA by replacing the DNA's missing electron.

4. Glutathione is important for protein synthesis & amino acid transport into & out of cells.

5. Glutathione is the bridge in the chemical reaction between some enzymes. It provides the mechanism by which many enzymes are activated to carry out their functions or to move to another phase.

6. Glutathione detoxifies reactive oxygen radicals created by UV radiation & reduces radiation damage to the cell.

7. Glutathione regenerates mitochondria at the cellular level, creating energy.

8. Glutathione is an Immune System Booster and Balancer.

9. Glutathione helps to metabolize & decrease homocysteine. Excessive homocysteine is a known contributor to atherosclerosis.

10. Glutathione serves as a neurotransmitter & neuro modulator with critical functions in the nervous system.

In short there is no major function in your body which isn’t helped by glutathione.


As we age the many stress causing factors in our lives begin to deplete our supply of Glutathione. This process typically begins in our early 40 's and continues with at least 10% depletion per decade. So as we develop the diseases of aging, many are related to declining levels of glutathione.

The daunting list of diseases documented to have links to low GSH are:

*Cancer and Immune Disorders such as HIV & AIDS, Lyme Disease, Viral Infections, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Hepatitis

*Neuro Degenerative Disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS, MS, and Huntington’s
Heart Disease & Stroke

*Hepatitis & Liver damage from alcohol & other toxins, liver failure

*Inflammatory Disorders such as Allergies, Autoimmune Diseases, Asthma, Skin & Gum Disorders, and Arthritis

*Glandular disorders such as Over or Underactive Thyroid, Diabetes, and Pancreatitis

*Psychiatric/Developmental disorders such as Autism, ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, and Depression

*Heavy Metal & Chemical Toxicities

*Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease & Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

*Cystic Fibrosis

*Accelerated Aging



*Eyesight Issues

*Gastric Ulcers


Even though adequate GSH is critical for good health, there is no readily available perfect method for testing body levels of glutathione. This is frustrating because it would certainly be beneficial to have such a test available for all.

Currently the 2 tests I employ in my medical practice are indirect measurements of glutathione.

The first measures (GSH) function in the white blood cells & is done by Spectra Cell Labs.

The second is Urinary Organic Acids done by Genova Diagnostics.

Doctors Data has a Red Blood Cell Glutathione test which I have not used.

There are questions about the accuracy of serum glutathione performed at standard labs, because the results change if the blood sits around too long before being tested.


Glutathione deficiency is common with processed devitalized foods such as those in the American diet. The reality is that most of us older than 35 years are deficient. Optimal intake is at least 250mg daily, while the average American diet provides 35mg daily. No wonder we are in 30th place as far as life expectancies per country!

The foods highest in (GSH) are asparagus, avocado, spinach, kale, other greens, squash, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, parsley, fresh cilantro, chlorella algae, walnuts, grapefruit, watermelon, cantaloupe, oranges, peaches, eggs & high quality whey protein powder.

If you have a chronic illness of any kind, you may want to pursue increasing your glutathione by supplementation. Glutathione is especially low in the morning so that is a good time to supplement. Swallowed capsules or tablets cannot be absorbed, but the liquid Liposomal Glutathione form can be utilized by the body. There is also a new sublingual form of glutathione . Some with more severe illness use (GSH) intravenously.

Glutathione is a tripeptide (meaning it is 3 amino acids bonded together). Those three are:

Cysteine which is the rate limiting amino acid precursor for the production of glutathione.

Glycine is a building block for glutathione

These are also known as (GSH) precursors or building blocks. Vitamins C, B1, B2, B3, & B6 must also be sufficiently present for the production of (GSH) from precursor nutrients.

Some other nutrients can also act as (GSH) precursors to help increase glutathione levels such as:

N-ACETYL-CYSTEINE (NAC), 250-1500 mg daily has been shown to increase (GSH) levels in numerous studies. It is the official detox agent for treating an overdose of Tylenol (Acetaminophen). Tylenol depletes (GSH) and the rapid depletion of (GSH) caused by Tylenol can lead to severe liver damage and possible liver failure. For more information see this article

ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID (ALA), 300-1200 mg daily has been shown in studies to benefit those with diabetes, drug-induced heart damage, kidney disease, glaucoma, poorly healing wounds, heavy metal and other toxicities. It should not be taken if low thyroid, low vitamin B1, or on chemotherapy (without supervision).

MILK THISTLE, is another name for the herb Silymarin which contains flavonoids which are powerfully protective to your liver. Silymarin helps prevent (GSH) depletion in your liver & helps ameliorate damage from toxins.

S-ADENOSYL-l-methione (SAMe), 1-2 grams daily increases liver glutathione levels in those with alcoholic & non-alcoholic liver disease.

Other nutrients & foods which help increase bodily (GSH) levels are: Choline, Resveratrol, R-Lipoic Acid, Pycnogenol, Vitamin B12, Methylated folic Acid, Selenium, Zinc, Magnesium, Potassium, Vitamins A, D, K, C & E, Curcumin, and Cinnamon.

Hyperbaric oxygen & therapy can also increase glutathione.

When working to increase (GSH) levels, it is important to start slowly & build up. You might first increase the high (GSH) producing foods & (GSH) precursor supplements. Then after a few weeks add a low dose of liposomal glutathione or sublingual glutathione with gradual increase to the daily recommended dose. Too rapid a detox can cause symptoms if you are toxic.


Normally a healthy younger body should be able to produce enough (GSH) to meet daily needs, but many things in life act to deplete (GSH) such as:
• Stress
• Sugar
• Nutritional deficiencies
• Alcohol
• Pesticides & herbicides, lawn & plant fertilizers
• Artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame
• Synthetic food dyes
• Nitrates & other food preservatives
• Chemical pollution of water
• Tobacco smoke, BBQ foods, Fuel exhaust
• Many household chemicals such as: synthetically scented & colored detergents & fabric softeners, mothballs, cleaners & bleach
• Acetone, solvents, paint removers
• Fuels & fuel by-products
• Heavy metals (mercury, dental amalgams, vaccines, tattoes, lead, cadmium, copper, etc)
• Formaldehyde, styrene, photocopiers & toner printers
• Medical x-rays
• UV radiation
• Electromagnetic fields (EMF)
• Industrial pollutants

Tylenol is the most serious glutathione depleter & is the number one cause of acute liver failure in the United States.

A number of commonly used medications also deplete glutathione.

From the book “Drug Muggers by Suzy Cohen, The drugs known to deplete (GSH) are:

Acid Blockers: Cimetidine (Tagamet), Esomeprazole {Nexium), Famotidine (Pepcid and Pepcid Complete), La.nsoprazole (Prevacid 24HR), Nizatidine (Axid), Omeprazole (Prilosec OTC), Pantoprazole (Protonix), Rabeprazole (Aciphex), Ranitidine (Zantac)

Analgesics: Acetaminophen and codeine (Tylenol 3), Acetaminophen or paracetamol (Tylenol and others), Butalbital-containing drugs (Fiorinal, Fioricet, Zebutal), Hydrocodone and acetaminophen (Lortab, Norco, Vicodin, Lorcet), Oxycodone and acetaminophen (Endocet, Percocet, Roxicet, Tylox), Propoxyphene and acetaminophen (Darvocet)

• Antacids: Aluminum and magnesium hydroxide {Maalox, Mylanta), Aluminum carbonate gel (Basaljel), Aluminum hydroxide (Amphojel, AlternaGEL), Calcium carbonate (Tums, Titralac, Rolaids), Magnesium hydroxide (Phillips' Milk of Magnesia), Sodium bicarbonate (Alka-Seltzer, baking soda)

• Antibiotics (a few examples): Amoxicillin (Amoxil), Azithromycin (Z-Pak), Cefaclor (Ceclor), Cefdinir (Omnicef), Cephalexin (Keflex), Ciprofl.oxacin (Cipro) Clarithromycin (Biaxin) Doxycycline (Doryx) Erythromycin (E.E.S.) Levofloxacin (Levaquin), Minocycline (Minocin), Sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim (Bactrim Septra), Tetracycline (Sumycin)

• Antidepressants, Tricyclic: Clomipramine (Anafranil), Desipramine (Norpramin) and others

• Antivirals: Foscarnet (Foscavir), Lamivudine (Epivir), Zidovudine AZT (Retrovir), Zidovudine and lamivudine (Combivir)

There are now well over 99,000 references to Glutathione on PubMed, the online resource for medical studies from around the world.

For those who want to look at some of the references, here are some links re the usefulness of (GSH) in managing some specific conditions including:

ATHEROSCLEROSIS: Anti-oxidative and anti­-atherogenic properties toward lipoproteins and macrophages, lead to a reduction in the development of plaque.

ACETAMINOPHIN (TYLENOL) TOXICITY: Those most vulnerable are: Chronic alcoholics, binge drinkers, patients taking medications which induce the P-450 isoenzyme system in the liver, and those with pre-existing liver disease.

ALCOHOLISM: Depletion of mitochondrial (GSH) by alcohol is believed to contribute to the sensitization of the liver to alcohol-induced injury.

ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE: (GSH) has been reported to be decreased in the brains of aging rodents and humans. Alterations in (GSH) metabolism have been discovered in diseased regions of the brain of Alzheimer's patients.

ASTHMA: A study of asthmatic children found an inverse correlation between the level of glutathione and the severity of asthma attack. The lowest levels of glutathione were found during acute asthmatic attacks.

AUTISM: Autistic children are predisposed to low glutathione which prevents them from detoxifying normally. It was discovered that 45% of a subgroup of children with autism demonstrated low intracellular levels of glutathione.

CANCER & CHEMOTHERAPY: A study provided evidence that (GSH) is a promising drug for the prevention of the chemotherapy oxaliplatin-induced neuropathy, without reducing the clinical effectiveness of oxaliplatin.

CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME: Competition for glutathione precursors between the immune system and the skeletal muscle contributes to chronic fatigue syndrome.

CYSTIC FIBROSIS: Those using daily (GSH) experienced a significant improvement in lung function, weight gain, and a significant decline in bacteria cultures in this uncontrolled study.

DIABETES: Analyses of whole blood (GSH) showed that it was significantly lower in those with diabetes.

HEART DISEASE & STROKE: The results indicate that (GSH) improved coronary endothelial vasomotor function, particularly in subjects with coronary risk factors, and it potentiated the vasodilator effect of nitroglycerin in human coronary arteries.

HEAVY METAL TOXICITY: Glutathione depletion and glutathione supplementation have specific effects on mercury toxicity, both by altering antioxidant status in the body and by directly affecting excretion of mercury and other heavy metals in the bile.

HIV: In vitro studies showed that low (GSH) levels both promote HIV expression and impair T cell function suggesting a link between (GSH) depletion and HIV disease progression.

LIVER & KIDNEYS: Perioperative glutathione treatment has a beneficial effect on perioperative renal function through effects on both renal hemodynamics and tubular mechanism.

LUNG DISORDERS: A study done on patients with IPF (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis) showed glutathione depletion in the lower respiratory tracts .

OXIDATIVE STRESS & AGING: A deficiency in (GSH) puts all cells at risk for oxidative damage. High glutathione levels are associated with longevity & low levels are associated with frailty & disease. Higher levels of (GSH) help preserve telomeres which are at the ends of genes determining how many times a cell can regenerate & thus determining your longevity.

PARKINSON'S DISEASE: Several studies have demonstrated a deficiency in reduced glutathione (GSH) in the nigra of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD).

With all this information available, it's easy to see why glutathione is "The Master Antioxidant".

For more information on Glutathione I recommended the following books:

PRISCILLA SLAGLE, M.D. or Cathy Jones, Assisitant
Phone: 1 (760) 322-7797
Fax: 760-322-7608