Glutathione for Optimal Health

August 21, 2021 3 min read

Glutathione for Optimal Health

Glutathione is the front line in our body’s defense system, a major intracellular antioxidant and an important driver in supporting immune function and detoxification.

Glutathione, or GSH, is a tripeptide consisting of three amino acids: L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid, and glycine; it is produced by your liver and recycled continuously by your body. While it is concentrated in your liver, it is actually found in every single cell throughout your body. The organs that are highest in glutathione levels are the eyes, ears, lungs, liver, kidneys, and skin. These organs have the highest concentrations of glutathione, for good reason, because these organs are subject to all of the toxins in the environment.

We are designed to maintain sufficient levels of glutathione from dietary sources, but our bodies produce and deplete this powerful detoxifier quickly. As we age, the body produces less glutathione.

Factors decreasing our natural production of glutathione

  • Inflammatory and allergenic diets

  • Food intolerances

  • Stress and sleep deprivation

  • Prolonged intense physical activity

  • Toxins, environmental pollutants, toxic mold exposure, and heavy metal overload

  • Chronic illness and autoimmunity

Some of the many functions of glutathione include

  • Support detoxification and protect from xenobiotics and environmental toxins

  • Reduce oxidative stress and protect cells from free radical damage

  • Support regeneration of

    • gut barrier integrity

    • gut lining

    • blood-brain barrier

    • respiratory tract

  • Promote a balanced inflammatory response

  • Modulate the function of the immune system

  • Encourage healthy aging

  • Impact athletic performance

  • Promote lean muscle mass

  • Modulate insulin resistance

There are times when the oxidative stress or toxic load may be more than your body’s current capacity to synthesize sufficient levels of glutathione.

Depleted glutathione levels increase the risk of

  • Heavy metal and chemical sensitivities

  • Inflammatory and immune disorders

  • Autoimmune diseases

  • Intestinal permeability (leaky gut)

Some warning signs of glutathione insufficiency include

  • Lack of energy

  • Joint and muscle aches and pains

  • Foggy brain

  • Problems with memory and alertness

  • Low immunity, such as frequent infections

  • Poor sleep

  • Liver disease

  • Anemia

  • Acidosis

Supplementation with the right form of glutathione

For a glutathione supplement to work, it must reach the cells. This means it must pass unchanged through the entire digestive tract and into the bloodstream. From there, it needs to be deposited into the cells where it is able to support glutathione recycling.

Glutathione Support (extracellular)

These forms of glutathione delivery will help one’s antioxidant status but they do not raise levels of glutathione inside the cells:

  • Liposomal cream - for use in localized areas, such as an area of pain or inflammation (ex: over an inflamed joint or over the thyroid in the case of autoimmune Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism).

  • IV drip - this method is highly effective, but expensive and time intensive.

  • Glutathione nebulizer - glutathione is administered via compressed air to create a fine mist for inhalation. Not recommended if you suffer from asthma or have a sulfite sensitivity.

  • S-acetyl glutathione - a newer and more accessible form of glutathione that the intestinal tract can efficiently absorb, S-acetyl glutathione may be effective in helping manage autoimmune disease.

  • Oral liquid liposomal glutathione - bioactive glutathione (GSH)

  • Glutathione suppositories

  • Sublingual glutathione

Glutathione recycling (intracellular)

It’s important to supplement glutathione with glutathione precursors to raise glutathione levels inside the cells.

Basic botanicals and nutritional compounds researchers have found support glutathione recycling pathways.

  • N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC)

  • Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA)

  • L-glutamine

  • Selenium

  • Cordyceps

  • Gotu kola

  • Milk thistle

Taken together these botanicals and compounds activate the glutathione peroxidase and reductase enzymes that promote a healthy glutathione recycling system. This way, the glutathione you do take is assured to stay in your body longer and get inside your cells where they can do their best work.

Genetic Factors

There are some common polymorphisms or SNPs that impact glutathione and associated processes. The GST genes, Methylation and Nrf2 pathways need to be supported for proper glutathione function. Having one or more of these polymorphisms is associated with an increased risk of certain diseases, especially when impacted by environmental triggers such as pollution, smoking, heavy metals, and other toxins.

In conclusion

Boosting your glutathione antioxidant status, supporting glutathione recycling, and reducing sources of glutathione depletion can play a profound role in managing autoimmune disease, inflammation, chemical sensitivities, food sensitivities, and other chronic health issues.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

Please contact our office for tailored intervention plans that meet your individual needs to optimize your immune system based on your underlying immune condition, unique immune function and immune reactivity, genetics, gastrointestinal health, microbiome balance, nutrient status, chronic infections and environmental toxins.

Make an appointment today: 310-553-4242 or online here.

Supplements Mentioned in this Post

Dr. Charny

Dr. Charny

Chiropractic Physician • Diplomat in Clinical Nutrition • Board Certified Naturopathic Physician

Dr. C. Charny is the founder of the Charny Healing Center in Beverly Hills. Dr. Charny has been exploring holistic forms of health care for over 30 years, utilizing a wide variety of innovative therapies to resolve complex problems that have failed to respond to traditional treatment methods. Dr. Charny’s approach is rooted in the nexus of functional and biological medicine – she views the two as integral aspects of holistic healing.


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