Best Glutathione Supplement

Glutathione is the most abundant antioxidant in the body. Because levels decrease as we age, using the best Glutathione supplement you can get is essential.

You probably have heard some information about this handly little supplement, but you aren’t terribly sure about what it does.

To be honest, until about 2 years ago, neither did I. Oh, how times have changed – I love this stuff. It helps me a ton as a bodybuilder.

But what about if you’re not a bodybuilder? What if you are just a regular person?

Let’s find out what the best Glutathione supplement is, and why you probably need it…

Key Takeaways

  • Glutathione levels in the body are high in every cell as it is the most abundant Antioxidant in the body
  • Glutathione production and Glutathione metabolism changes over time, and Glutathione levels lower as we age
  • Low Glutathione levels have been associated with more oxidative damage, peripheral obstructive arterial disease, cystic fibrosis, higher free radicals, etc
  • A Glutathione Supplement is the best integrative medicine on the market for bodybuilders
  • Glutathione enhancing has been linked to a better immune response and lower chronic infections
  • Bodybuilders are some of the biggest users of Glutathione to deal with the stress of the sport (PEDs)

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What is Glutathione?

Glutathione is actually an antioxidant and a damn good one at that. Produced naturally in the liver, it is also found in other parts of nature such as in cruciferous vegetables, eggs, and lean proteins.

Glutathione will act as an oxidant to both endogenous and external compounds. This means Glutathione helps manage the oxidative stress inside the body, and from whatever is put into the body [1].

Best Glutathione Supplement
Figure 1: There are various foods that are rich in Sulfar that would increase Glutathione levels in the body

Oxidative damage can occur due to stress, free radicals, high blood pressure, and other environmental toxins.

Glutathione consists of three Amino Acids: glutamine, glycine, and cysteine, making Glutathione a tripeptide. It’s also found at high levels within the cells, comparable to the levels of glucose [1], which really tells you how important it is.

What does Glutathione do?

In our daily lives, we are exposed to massive amounts of stress, free radicals, and an abundance of other nasty parts of life. These eventually catch up to us, such as Mercury, which can lead to chronic inflammation and cardiovascular disease [2].

According to a meta-analysis published in 2014, Glutathione has 8 main responsibilities in the body [1]:

  1. Direct chemical neutralization of singlet oxygen, hydroxyl radicals, and superoxide radicals
  2. Cofactor for several antioxidant enzymes
  3. Regeneration of vitamins C and E
  4. Neutralization of free radicals produced by Phase I liver metabolism of chemical toxins
  5. One of approximately 7 liver Phase II reactions, which conjugate the activated intermediates produced by Phase I to make them water soluble for excretion by the kidneys
  6. Transportation of mercury out of cells and the brain
  7. Regulation of cellular proliferation and apoptosis
  8. Vital to mitochondrial function and maintenance of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)
Revolutionizing Wellness, Prevention & Healthcare - Antioxidantscore.com
Figure 2: Glutathione is the most important Antioxidant we have in the body, and levels decrease as we age

Glutathione levels deplete as we age, and reduced Glutathione has been linked to increased aging, autoimmune disease, insulin resistance, muscle fatigue, degradation of the central nervous system, and a lot more [3].

Glutathione Benefits

Because Glutathione supplementation is known as the Master Antioxidant, there are a number of benefits [1, 2, 4]:

  • Improved insulin resistance
  • Reduced blood pressure and risk of stroke
  • Some users report better breathing after using the oral supplementation
  • Better leg arterial circulation
  • Better immune function
  • Reduced risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Reduced risk of autoimmune diseases
  • Some people even noticed improvements with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Better airflow, reducing Cystic Fibrosis
  • Slowing cancer progression
  • Improving underlying health conditions

Because Glutathione is so important and found in all the cells, it is almost impossible to state just how important this compound is. Reduced Glutathione levels is a massive health risk, especially in the world we live in today.

How to increase Glutathione Levels?

Correlation between total glutathione (GSH) level and age in year in... |  Download Scientific Diagram
Figure 3: There is a direct link between aging and a reduction in Glutathione levels

As you can see from the graph above, Glutathione levels begin to lower as we age, increasing the risk of cancer cells, cancer progression, liver disease, etc [5].

So, logically the next question out of your mouth would be “how can I increase natural Glutathione production”?

Well, first off, just supplement. Glutathione supplementation is remarkably well studied and there are plenty of great products online – which we will get into shortly.

Apart from Glutathione injections or Glutathione supplements, you can do the following to increase Glutathione synthesis:

  • Consume sulfur-rich foods like lean protein, cruciferous veggies, etc
  • Increase your Vitamin C intake
  • Make sure you get all your Amino Acids in, particularly the Amino Acid Cysteine and Glutamic Acid (easliy done with Whey Protein)
  • Milk Thistle might increase Glutathione as well
  • Sleep and exercise enough
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol

Best Glutathione Supplement

The best Glutathione supplement is actually not going to be oral. Oral Glutathione supplementation has been shown to be less effective and boasts fewer health benefits compared to Intravenous Glutathione or Injectable Glutathione.

Best Glutathione Supplement
Figure 4: Reduced Glutathione (injectable) is a tried and tested version, like this one from Pure Rawz

While orally administered Glutathione might get you some health benefits, something like Reduced Glutathione from PureRawz is going to be more effective.

It should be noted that in some countries Glutathione is abused for its supposed effects on skin lightening. Massive doses are administered and because it is such a powerful antioxidant, there are side effects when overdosing.

Glutathione Bodybuilding

Glutathione is something that is often mentioned in bodybuilding, not for its ability to increase anabolism, but to make sure your Tren cycle doesn’t kill you.

The use of Steroids and other PEDs is commonplace in the world of bodybuilding and would make your Oxidative stress markers skyrocket. No clinical trial is needed to know the toxin exposure these guys face is enormous.

Many big names in the bodybuilding world like Dave Polumbo, John Jewitt, and Jordan Peters are big fans of Glutathione for health, especially when your cycle is a bit on the heavy side. This is one of the dietary supplements that you cannot afford to skip.

Some companies might even combine Glutathione supplementation with Citrulline Malate to increase Nitric Oxide production in the body, due to a study published in 2015 showing that the two work better together [6].

Glutathione Dosage Bodybuilding

Glutathione dosage is going to depend from person to person, and some people might have massive allergic reactions, so start low.

That said, you can aim for 1200 – 3000mg once or twice per week, if you take the injectable version (not IV). Oral Glutathione is not really worth it, imo.

Liposomal Glutathione

Liposomal Glutathione is an oral version of Glutatione that has been encapsulated in a small amount of fat – hence the name (lipid). While some studies suggest this works, according to a meta-analysis by Joseph Pizzorno [1]:

“Oral administration is controversial; while most research shows that oral glutathione does not increase RBC glutathione, there are a few studies that show efficacy.28 My opinion is that unmodified oral glutathione is unlikely to consistently elevate cellular levels. Oral and transdermal liposomal glutathione show promise, but research is early.29”

Side Effects of Glutathione

Glutathione supplements are great in almost every sense, however, there are a few side effects that need to be mentioned:

  • Some users are known to have severe allergic symptoms, and even full reactions to Glutathione supplements
  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Long term use can lower Zinc levels
  • Some people report difficulty breathing after using the inhaled buffered Reduced Glutathione

Overall, these seem like small risks when comparing the risk of Glutathione deficiency. Make sure you are not allergic, don’t use the inhalable version, and you should be good.

Glutathione Foods

  • Whey Protein
  • Lean Protein
  • Cruciferous Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Spinach
  • Avocados
  • Asparagus

Glutathione vs NAC

N-Acetyl Cysteine (Nac) is another powerful antioxidant that is often compared to Glutathione. Unfortunetely, the only clinical trial between the two ended up saying more research is needed.

NAC is, however, a precursor to Glutathione, so, taking NAC will increase Glutathione levels as well. Taking pure Glutathione will increase Glutathione levels more but if you can only get your hands on NAC, you will still see a reduction in free radicals and chances of liver disease, since both have strong antioxidant properties.

Is Glutathione Legal?

Due to the people that want to use Glutathione to lighten skin, the FDA has intervened. There are studies showing that this is a myth, a Glutathione infusion does not affect the color of your skin.

Yet, there are still people pumping mad amounts of Oxidized Glutathione into their blood vessels, resulting in adverse effects.

That said, Glutathione has received the “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) status from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – meaning it can be used in foods. You will also find Legal Glutathione in several retailers like Wallmart.

Conclusion: Is Glutathione Worth It?

Yes. Without a single doubt. Glutathione production begins to lower as you age, and when most of us are at risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, we would benefit greatly from keeping Glutathione levels as high as we can.

Glutathione synthesis can be increased with certain foods as we have mentioned, however, if you are a bodybuilder who uses PEDs (greater risk of fatty liver disease), you will surely benefit from Intravenous Glutathione, or any other version to be honest.

Hell, there’s even evidence that Glutathione helps those who suffer from Autism spectrum disorders [7]. For something that is relatively inexpensive and has so many health benefits, you really cannot afford not to keep your Glutathione levels high.

Is Glutathione good for Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease?

100%. It is probably one of the best things that you can take, but probably not as an oral supplement. An injectable version will be better for blood flow, liver disease, and fighting free radicals.

Is Glutathione part of the Amino Acids?

Glutathione does consist of three amino acids.

Glutathione Strength Training

Because Glutathione can work with Citrulline to increase the blood flow in the body, you can definitely benefit from it as a strength athlete. You will also have some oxidative damage from training, which Glutathione can help you with as well.

What to avoid when taking Glutathione?

While Glutathione is very safe, it should not be taken with anti-psychotic drugs or chemotherapeutic drugs. The immune system is not geared to cope with that.

Why do Bodybuilders use Glutathione?

To offset the oxidative stress of using Anabolic Steroids and other PEDs. As Glutathione will decrease lipid peroxides, which is incredibly important for bodybuilders and anyone who wants to keep a good immune system as they age.

Is Glutathione a performance enhancing drug?

As of this moment, Glutathione does not appear to be on the WADA banned list, however, you might want to make sure yourself.

1) Pizzorno J. Glutathione! Integr Med (Encinitas). 2014 Feb;13(1):8-12. PMID: 26770075; PMCID: PMC4684116.

2) Hu XF, Lowe M, Chan HM. Mercury exposure, cardiovascular disease, and mortality: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis. Environ Res. 2021 Feb;193:110538. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.110538. Epub 2020 Dec 5. PMID: 33285155.

3) Julius M, Lang CA, Gleiberman L, Harburg E, DiFranceisco W, Schork A. Glutathione and morbidity in a community-based sample of elderly. J Clin Epidemiol. 1994 Sep;47(9):1021-6. doi: 10.1016/0895-4356(94)90117-1. PMID: 7730904.

4) Weschawalit S, Thongthip S, Phutrakool P, Asawanonda P. Glutathione and its antiaging and antimelanogenic effects. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2017 Apr 27;10:147-153. doi: 10.2147/CCID.S128339. PMID: 28490897; PMCID: PMC5413479.

5) Park, Myoung & Moon, Jungil. (2012). Circulating Total Glutathione in Normal Tension Glaucoma Patients: Comparison with Normal Control Subjects. Korean journal of ophthalmology : KJO. 26. 84-91. 10.3341/kjo.2012.26.2.84.

6) McKinley-Barnard S, Andre T, Morita M, Willoughby DS. Combined L-citrulline and glutathione supplementation increases the concentration of markers indicative of nitric oxide synthesis. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015 Jun 10;12:27. doi: 10.1186/s12970-015-0086-7. PMID: 26097441; PMCID: PMC4472409.

7) Kern JK, Geier DA, Adams JB, Garver CR, Audhya T, Geier MR. A clinical trial of glutathione supplementation in autism spectrum disorders. Med Sci Monit. 2011 Dec;17(12):CR677-82. doi: 10.12659/msm.882125. PMID: 22129897; PMCID: PMC3628138.

Daniel Louwrens CPT

Hi there! My name is Daniel Louwrens, and I have more than 10 years of experience in the bodybuilding & fitness world. I have graduated with a degree in Chemistry, and my aim with helping people is to educate people who have questions about anything and everything fitness: Training, Nutrition, Recovery, and PED's.

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