What is Glutathione

What is Glutathione (GSH)                                                  

"Glutathione is the body’s master antioxidant and best kept secret to maintaining health." - Theodore Hersh, M.D., Harvard graduate, Professor of Medicine, Emeritus, Emory University .

Glutathione is a small molecule made up of three amino acids, which exists in almost every cell of the body. However, Glutathione must be generated within the cell from its precursors before it can work effectively in the body.

The presence of glutathione is required to maintain the normal function of the immune system. It is known to play a critical role in the multiplication of lymphocytes (the cells that mediate specific immunity), which occurs in the development of an effective immune response.

Furthermore, the cells of the immune system produce many oxygen radicals as a result of their normal functioning, resulting in a need for higher concentrations of antioxidants than most cells. Glutathione plays a crucial role in fulfilling this requirement.

Glutathione as a Detoxicant
Supplemental detoxicants become necessary as our environment becomes increasingly polluted. Our food and water sources are contaminated with chemicals. One of our main defenses against pollutants is glutathione, which is present in the liver in high concentrations. Glutathione acts as a detoxifying agent by combining with undesirable substances and ridding the body of them through urine and bile.

To Get a Little More Technical About Glutathione
"Glutathione is a ubiquitous tripeptide molecule, consisting of three amino acids joined together. These are cysteine, glutamic acid and glycine - three of the twenty-two amino acids, which comprise the building blocks of all known proteins. In general, the amino-end of one amino acid combines with the acid-end of another to form a peptide bond with the elimination of water. Chains of amino acids are called proteins. The sequence of amino acids and the arrangement in space of each peptide bond defines some specific structural features of all proteins and olegopeptides (mix of various sizes of peptides) that relate to their function."

"Glutathione is only synthesized inside cells, in a series of steps catalyzed by specific enzymes."

"Many attempts have been made to enhance glutathione but beside the use of whey protein concentrate, all other approaches have proved futile for a number of reasons." --Source Dr. Allan Somersall PhD, M.D.

Glutathione (Psychoneurobiology)

"Free radicals and oxygen radicals have been recognized by psychoneurobiologist as playing an important role in the development and progression of many of these disorders. The brain is particularly susceptible to free radical attack because it generates more oxidative-by-products per gram of tissue than any other organ. The brain's main antioxidant is glutathione- its importance cannot be overstated."

"Oxidative stress and glutathione are important factors in such various disorders as brain injury, neurodegenerative disease, schizophrenia, Down syndrome and other pathologies."

Disorders of the brain and nervous system that are linked to oxidative stress

Brain Injury



Brain injury

Parkinson's disease



Alzheimer's dementia

Down syndrome


Multiple sclerosis (MS)

Tardive dyskinesia


Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS)

Sleep deprivation

Toxicity of lead, mercury, etc.

Lipofuscinosis (Batten's disease)

Huntington's chorea

"Many neurological and psychiatric disease processes are characterized by high levels of oxidative stress and free radical formation, as well as abnormalities in glutathione metabolism and antioxidant defenses."

Source Dr. Gutman M.D. Glutathione GSH

Dr. Perlmutter: "Eighty to ninety percent improve dramatically. It's felt that the mechanism that allows it to work is in increasing the sensitivity to certain receptors to dopamine. Glutathione doesn't raise dopamine levels, but it allows the dopamine in the brain to be more effective. That's not a new idea in medicine. Diabetic drugs work not by increasing insulin, but by increasing the receptors to insulin. Glutathione not only increases sensitivity to dopamine, but also to serotonin, which may explain why many of our depressed PD patients have a remarkable improvement." Increasing glutathione in the body has been proven to be essential in the treatment of disease. Antidepressants and other medications deplete the body and brain of glutathione. 

Functions of Glutathione

Enhancing the Immune System
- Your body’s immune activity, involving unimpeded multiplication of lymphocytes and antibody production, requires maintenance of normal levels of glutathione inside the lymphocytes.

Antioxidant and Free Radical Scavenger - Glutathione plays a central protective role against the damaging effects of bacteria, viruses, pollutants and free radicals.

Regulator of Other Antioxidants - Without glutathione, other important antioxidants such as vitamins C and E cannot do their job adequately to protect your body against disease.

A Detoxifying Agent - Another major function of glutathione is in the detoxification of foreign chemical compounds such as carcinogens and harmful metabolites.

"Glutathione is only synthesized inside cells, in a series of steps catalyzed by specific enzymes." External administration is not utilized effectively.

Various Methods that Glutathione (GSH) is Administered

Oral (by mouth) - GSH is digested or broken down into its amino acid constituents and they have little effect.

Intravenous (by needle) - GSH has a very short half-life in the circulation.

Intratracheal (by aerosol inhalation) - GSH only affects the respiratory linings briefly.

Intraperitoneal (by abdominal wall) - GSH plasma levels rise but there is no increase in the tissues such as the liver, lung or lymphocytes.