This article will explore everything you need to know about L-Glutathione supplements. After reading this guide you will know what it is, what it does, its benefits, how to use it and the answers to some frequently asked questions.
Many of us are in search of a wonder supplement that helps us look and feel good, whilst improving our performance and reducing our risk of illness. We often turn to exotic or rare herbal extracts for this, such as Spermidine or Ashwagandha, as these supplements are supported to promote anti-ageing, health and well-being. However, by supplementing what is already the most abundant antioxidant in the body and often described as the “master antioxidant”, you are systematically utilising a compound that actively promotes these health outcomes each and every day.
What Is L-Glutathione?
Glutathione is composed of Cysteine, Glycine and Glutamic acid, defining it as a tripeptide. It comes in two forms; reduced glutathione (L-Glutathione) being the active form, and oxidised Glutathione (GSSG) being the inactive form, which is recycled. Almost every living thing on Earth contains glutathione on a cellular level. It is the most abundant and potent antioxidant in humans, plants, and animals.
What Does L-Glutathione Do?
Glutathione plays a critical role in various essential bodily processes, including gene expression, cell signalling and proliferation. However, Glutathione's most potent function is its antioxidant properties and abilities. Glutathione is often referred to as the “master antioxidant” because it increases and regenerates other antioxidants, such as vitamin C and CoQ10.
Glutathione also protects your mitochondria, promoting cell energy production. There is a mitochondria in every cell, which converts nutrients into energy. However, when cells become damaged beyond repair, cell death occurs. Glutathione fights against cell damage caused by organic toxins and free radicals.
Who Should Supplement L-Glutathione?
First, those who are glutathione deficient or low in glutathione should consider supplementation. Declining glutathione levels are often caused by;
- UV radiation and toxin exposure
- Chronic stress
- Excessive alcohol and smoking
- Poor diet
Therefore if you do not feel as though your lifestyle is up to scratch or experience a lot of stress, your glutathione levels will likely have taken a dip. Therefore you may experience benefits from supplementing with Glutathione. Additionally, those with medical conditions, such as Diabetes, COPD and neurodegenerative diseases can experience low glutathione levels.
Additionally, those who exercise regularly would also benefit from L-Glutathione, as exercise causes oxidative stress which generates free radicals. Glutathione plays a vital role in combating cell damage.
As Glutathione regenerates other antioxidants, it is seen as the “master antioxidant” and therefore should be valued as a super health-boosting supplement that will support the health and well-being of any individual.
The Benefits of L-Glutathione
Inadequate Glutathione levels can increase the risk of chronic disease and illness, such as cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s disease. On the flip side, healthy Glutathione levels are associated with a decreased risk of disease, increased energy levels, visibly improved skin health, sharpened cognitive function, strengthened heart health and more. Let’s explore 7 Glutathione benefits;
1. Potent Antioxidant (Anti-Aging & Detoxification)
Glutathione fights against cell damage and ageing. To breathe and function as humans, we convert food to energy. During this process, you also create byproducts, including free radicals. When free radicals come into contact with molecules, they take an electron, which causes cell and DNA damage. DNA takes tens of thousands of oxidative moments every day, and antioxidants are what counteracts the damage associated with free radicals. Glutathione binds to harmful oxidative compounds, sharing an electron, and ultimately neutralising them.
Consequently, Glutathione also plays a critical role in the body's detoxification system. It can neutralise free radicals, once toxins have been processed and degraded. Studies have shown Glutathione to get rid of alcohol from your system when you overindulge (1, 2).
2. Potent Anti-Inflammatory
Glutathione has potent anti-inflammatory properties. High levels of inflammation are usually observed in those with chronic illness, but inflammation can also be healthy when combating viruses, infections and injuries. In the latter case, the inflammation comes and assists the issue, then subsides. However, in modern times we are constantly exposed to toxins and stress, continuously upsetting our system, never enabling inflammation to truly disappear. Consequently, many suffer from chronic inflammation. However, Glutathione governs inflammatory responses, combating chronic inflammation by optimising white cell activity.
3. Supports Athletic Performance
L-Glutathione can assist athletic performance by;
- Supporting energy production
- Delaying fatigue
- Increasing blood flow & oxygen uptake
Glutathione protects mitochondria from oxidative damage and free radicals, preventing cell death and reducing energy production. A damaged mitochondria also generates free radicals, therefore preventing mitochondrial damage, is important for overall health and energy production. L-Glutathione binds to free radicals, reducing oxidative stress, which supports mitochondrial health.
Additionally, a study has also shown that consuming 1g of Glutathione before exercise enhances performance and delays fatigue, compared to the placebo group. Lower blood lactic acid levels were also reported in the Glutathione group. Additionally, another Glutathione study shows that when it is used with L-Citrulline, nitric oxide production is increased, more so than when L-Citrulline is used in isolation. Nitric oxide dilates blood vessels, enabling greater blood flow and oxygen uptake into working muscles, supporting exercise performance.
4. Improve Skin Health
As we age, many of us become cornered with developing wrinkles, dryness and puffy eyes, and seek to regain our youthful-looking skin. Thankfully cells can regain health and regenerate with the support of glutathione. Glutathione has been shown to decrease wrinkles, increase skin elasticity and even have skin whitening effects (3). Glutathione may also decrease psoriasis (4).
5. Improve Brain Health & Performance
Our brain function can begin to decline, especially as we age. During our later years, it’s not unusual to experience struggles with concentration and memory recall due to neurodegeneration. Fascinatingly, studies have shown that Glutathione has cognitive enhancement effects in those with cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease (5). It has even been shown that Glutathione can slow down the rate of brain tissue damage in those with Alzheimer’s disease. It does this by reducing the elevated oxidative stress and addressing the low glutathione levels experienced by those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease (6).
6. Strengthen Heart Health
Heart disease is the number 1 cause of death worldwide. This disease is caused by plaque accumulation within the arteries. This plaque then breaks off and causes clogs and blockages leading to a heart attack or stroke. Glutathione can prevent cardiac events and heart disease (7) by neutralising the fat oxidation process and free radical activity. Interestingly, a study in 2003 showed that those who underwent coronary angiography and died of heart attacks had much lower glutathione peroxidase than those who survived (8).
7. Boost Immune System
As previously discussed, Glutathione is an antioxidant that boosts other antioxidants in the body, regulates inflammation and helps fight infections. Therefore Glutathione can strengthen your immune system. Vitamin C usually receives the credit when it comes to immunity, however, Glutathione is the vastly underappreciated support. Active Glutathione also primes and strengthens your body's infection fighters, including T Cells and natural killer cells (9, 10). Glutathione also has anti-microbial, antiviral and anti-parasitic properties (11).
How To Use L-Glutathione Supplements
Glutathione supplement is trending in western countries. Reduced Glutathione, which is the active form found in Ntrl Health Co. L-Glutathione, is the optimal form. Also, 500mg per day is an effective dose but up to 2,000 mg has been shown to have additional benefits. The best time to take L-Glutathione is on an empty stomach to enable optimal absorption. Ntrl Health Co. L-Glutathione delivers 500mg per capsule, making supplementation simple.
L Glutathione vs Glutathione vs S Acetyl Glutathione
L-Glutathione (Reduced Glutathione) is the active form, and oxidised Glutathione (GSSG) is the inactive state, which is recycled. S Acetyl Glutathione is a derivative of glutathione which can increase glutathione levels more than in non-acetylated form.
NAC vs Glutathione
It’s important to highlight that NAC supports, replenishes and is a precursor for Glutathione. Taking them together has been shown to increase Glutathione levels and reduce oxidative stress. NAC may help maintain healthy Glutathione levels.
Can I Take L-Glutamine And Glutathione Together?
Firstly, they are different. Glutathione is an antioxidant, whilst Glutamine is an amino acid. However, Glutathione is made up of amino acids. Secondly, you can take them together, as although Glutamine is a precursor of Glutathione, they both offer their own benefits.