What is Glutathione: The Universal Antioxidant - S-ALG - LiftMode (2019)

Glutathione, first discovered in 1988, is now listed as a key member of the antioxidant system that exists in our bodies. This specific antioxidant has gained a lot of attention due to its incredible health benefits. To understand its essential role in our bodies, we need to first recognize the role that antioxidants play in our bodies. The most important benefit comes from their ability to destroy harmful compounds called 'free-radicals'. These are naturally made from a variety of biochemical reactions in your body, but a number of environmental factors, stress, and disease can cause too many free-radicals, which can cause damage to cells and DNA. Thus, antioxidants have a protective effect on health.

The role of antioxidants in our health

Research has shown that exposure to a poor diet and environmental factors including pollutants such as cigarette smoke, air pollutants, and industrial chemicals causes the production of unstable molecules known as free radicals. [1] These molecules can cause damage to our cells and have been linked to increased risks of cancer and cardiovascular disease.[2] Antioxidants play an essential role in removing these free radicals that would otherwise build up in our bodies. Unfortunately, our day to day exposure to pollutants coupled with poor dietary choices is on the rise which increases our demand for antioxidants, especially glutathione.  

What makes Glutathione special?

Glutathione differs from most other antioxidants because it is produced and found in all cells but is found in its highest concentration in the liver. [3] In the liver, its main function is to assist in the removal of toxins. In addition to this function, glutathione is also essential for cell division, DNA repair, and enhancement of our immune systems. [4] Glutathione has been shown to play an essential role in protection against illness.  In a Lancet study, it was found that glutathione levels were highest in healthy young people, lower in healthy elderly, lower in the sick elderly and the lowest of all in the hospitalized elderly, highlighting its essential role in protecting against illness. [5] In a study comparing healthy individuals to those suffering from cardiac disease, glutathione deficiency was shown to be significantly related to cardiac function. Those suffering from cardiac disease had significantly lower glutathione levels compared to healthy individuals, highlighting yet another important role of glutathione in supporting a healthy circulatory system. [6]  

Conclusion - What is Glutathione?

In summary, glutathione is an extremely important antioxidant that plays an essential role in supporting our immune systems and removing toxins that build up naturally in our bodies. Unfortunately, our levels of this antioxidant can become depleted due to a variety of factors including a poor diet, stressful day to day lifestyles and exposure to environmental pollutants. It can be concluded that lower levels of glutathione correlate with poorer health outcomes and therefore maintaining adequate levels of this antioxidant is incredibly important. One of the best ways to ensure adequate glutathione levels is to consume foods that naturally boost its production. Key nutrients that are needed to make glutathione include sulfur, selenium, and vitamin C.[7] Consuming a variety of foods including broccoli, cauliflower, brazil nuts, peppers, chilli, citrus fruit and spinach will fuel your body to naturally produce this incredible antioxidant!

Medical Disclaimer

Not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any disease or ailment. Please read and fully understand the potential adverse effects before using this product. These statements have not been reviewed by the FDA and are not written by a medical professional. Please consult your doctor before using any supplements, especially if you have any medical conditions.


BSc(Med)(Hons) Nutrition & Dietetics Researched & written by Michaela and verified by the Liftmode.com Research Team

Citations and Supporting Literature

[1] Mahan.K, Raymond.J (2017). Krause's food & the nutrition care process. Retrieved from https://www.worldcat.org/title/krauses-food-the-nutrition-care-process/oclc/844724185 [2] Lobo, V., Patil, A., Phatak, A., & Chandra, N. (2010). Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. Pharmacognosy reviews4(8), 118–126. [3] Forman, H. J., Zhang, H., & Rinna, A. (2009). Glutathione: overview of its protective roles, measurement, and biosynthesis. Molecular aspects of medicine30(1-2), 1–12. doi:10.1016/j.mam.2008.08.006 [4] Forman, H. J. (2016). Glutathione – From antioxidant to post-translational modifier. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, 595, 64–67. [5] Nuttall S, Martin U, Sinclair A, Kendall M. 1998. Glutathione: in sickness and in health. The Lancet 351(9103):645-646 [6] Damy, T., Kirsch, M., Khouzami, L., Caramelle, P., Le Corvoisier, P., Roudot-Thoraval, F., … Pecker, F. (2009). Glutathione Deficiency in Cardiac Patients Is Related to the Functional Status and Structural Cardiac Abnormalities. PLoS ONE, 4(3), e4871. [7] K. Berkeisher. (2018) 10 Natural Ways to Increase Your Glutathione Levels. Healthline. Accessed at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-increase-glutathione#section2  

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