Glutathione - The Master Antioxidant

Boost your GSH and Enhance your Life




Don't be fooled by advertisements selling glutathione pills.  Glutathione levels cannot be increased to a clinically beneficial extent by orally ingesting a single dose of glutathione. (1) This is because glutathione is manufactured inside the cell, from its precursor (or building blocks) amino acids, glycine, glutamate and cysteine.

What this means is that in order to increase glutathione you must either provide the precursors of glutathione, or enhance its production by some other means. The manufacture of glutathione inside your cells is limited by the levels of its sulphur-containing precursor amino acid, cysteine.

Some common drugs, dietary supplements and food sources that help boost glutathione levels:

One of the commonly used enhancers is N Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC) which is an antioxidant drug.  It is the altered form of the amino acid Cysteine, which is commonly found in food and later synthesized by the body to create glutathione. NAC has been demonstrated to facilitate the SHORT TERM cellular detoxification of alcohol, tobacco smoke, acetaminophen [Tylenol®] poisoning and environmental pollutants in several in vitro studies.

Recent studies show NAC supplementation may be harmful over long periods and have been associated with only modest increases in serum glutathione. NAC has not proven particularly useful in the treatment of chronic, long-term intracellular glutathione deficiencies. Furthermore, therapeutic levels of NAC are relatively toxic and have been associated with significant side effects. At therapeutic doses, oral NAC supplementation has been associated with cerebral symptoms (dizziness), nausea, blurred vision, skin rashes and vomiting.

Luckily there is a proven safe and natural supplement made from Undenatured Whey Protein Isolate that contains proteins like alpha-lactalbumin which is rich in sulphur-containing amino acids. Heating or pasteurization destroys the delicate disulphide bonds that give these proteins their bioactivity.  Undenatured whey protein is a non-heated product that preserves bioactive amino acids like cysteine.  

Immunocal is the Ideal source of cysteine.  With 25 years of research, 10 Method of Use Patents in 80 countries worldwide, it is the only proven safe whey to boost glutathione levels.  

Milk thistle is believed to have protective effects on the liver and improve its function. It is typically used to treat liver cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis (liver inflammation), and gallbladder disorders. Treatment claims also include:

  • Lowering cholesterol levels
  • Reducing insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes who also have cirrhosis
  • Reducing the growth of cancer cells in breast, cervical, and prostate cancers

Another method to boost GSH is Alpha-lipoic acid or thioctic acid which is an antioxidant that is produced naturally in the body. It functions as a co-factor for a number of important enzymes responsible for the conversion of our food to energy (ATP). However, we still need to get most of our lipoic acid from our diet or from supplements.  In nature, lipoic acid is found in the leaves of some plants and in red meat.

If you like to Spice Things up the active ingredient of the Indian curry spice Turmeric – which may ease aches and inflammation.  In Ayurveda (the traditional medicine of India), this herb has been used for thousands of years to treat arthritis and other ailments. Some research suggests that turmeric may help relieve some symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis; however, the evidence to date, while encouraging, is still far from conclusive.  Turmeric can also be found in a synergistic combination of Omega 3.

Make sure that you try to include these FOODS That You EAT such as Asparagus is a leading source of glutathione. Foods like broccoli, beets, avocado and spinach are also known to boost glutathione levels. Poultry, raw eggs, garlic and fresh unprocessed meats contain high levels of sulphur-containing amino acids and help to maintain optimal glutathione levels.

Melatonin is a hormone made by a part of the brain called the pineal gland. Melatonin may help our bodies know when it's time to go to sleep and when it's time to wake up has been shown to increase GSH levels.  Largely due to its red pigment, Melatonin is found in high concentrations in Tart Cherries.  Tart Cherries are also a powerful Antioxidant with Anti-inflammatory properties.  As we age the brain produces less melatonin and about 1/3 of North Americans experience a Sleep Disorder.  Lack of sleep (chronic insomnia) can lead to other health challenges such as Appetite, Weight Gain, Depression, Diabetes and depleted Immune System.

Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential to good health but required only in small amounts (3,4). Selenium is incorporated into proteins to make selenoproteins, which are important antioxidant enzymes. The antioxidant properties of selenoproteins help prevent cellular damage from free radicals. Free radicals are natural by-products of oxygen metabolism that may contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease (4,5). Other selenoproteins help regulate thyroid function and play a role in the immune system (5-9).

Plant foods are the major dietary sources of selenium in most countries throughout the world. The content of selenium in food depends on the selenium content of the soil where plants are grown or animals are raised. For example, researchers know that soils in the high plains of northern Nebraska and the Dakotas have very high levels of selenium. People living in those regions generally have the highest selenium intakes in the United States (U.S.) (10). In the U.S., food distribution patterns across the country help prevent people living in low-selenium geographic areas from having low dietary selenium intakes. Soils in some parts of China and Russia have very low amounts of selenium. Selenium deficiency is often reported in those regions because most food in those areas is grown and eaten locally.

**Disclaimer** This material is provided for your information and has not been evaluated by a medical practitioner. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your primary health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider.


  1. The systemic availability of oral glutathione
    Witschi A, Reddy S, Stofer B, Lauterburg BH. [Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1992;43(6):667-9.]
  2. Can Curry Protect Against Alzheimer’s?
    American Physiological Society (APS) Press release; 16-Apr-2004
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