Glutathione: 8 Natural Ways & Reasons To Get More Of It


Glutathione (pronounced “gloota-thigh-own”) is one of the body’s most important and dynamic antioxidants – yet there’s probably a good chance you’ve never heard or said it out loud.

Your body produces glutathione all the time, but a variety of all-too-common reasons can deplete or offset your body’s glutathione levels and trigger oxidative stress. Depleting glutathione sources include radiation, Wifi exposure, chronic disease, infection, poor diet, pollution, toxins, chronic stress, and aging. (1)(2)

Did you know?
In today’s world, we are all susceptible to cell degradation from oxidative stress, and our livers become overloaded and too damaged to do the job of detoxification.

Luckily, there are natural ways for you to replenish your glutathione levels at any age. From extra sleep to liquid glutathione supplements, keep reading on below to find out exactly what glutathione is, why it’s important, what it feels like to be deficient, and easy strategies for optimizing your levels in the body!

How is glutathione made and used by the body?

Glutathione (GSH) is a masterful antioxidant that is responsible for recycling other antioxidants.

Antioxidants are substances that reduce oxidative stress by combating free radicals in the body, which these days are especially important.

Unlike most of the antioxidants you’re probably familiar with through food, GSH is also produced, reduced, and regenerated by your body’s liver. It is made up mostly of three amino acids – glycine, cysteine, and glutamine. (3)

Did you know?
Glutathione has been shown to help with the treatment of HIV and AIDS. (4)

It’s especially good at expelling the body of toxins due to the sulfur chemical group it contains. Think of sulfur as a very, very sticky icky molecule. Think of it as a magnet, attracting free radicals and other heavy metals.

Glutathione functions in the body

GSH has a range of essential bodily functions besides being an antioxidant, including: (5)

  • Immune function support
  • Getting rid of free radicals
  • Regenerating vitamins C and E
  • Certain enzyme formation and function
  • Building DNA
  • Forming sperm cells (6)
  • Helping the liver and gallbladder deal with fats
  • Assisting regular cell breakdown
  • Transporting heavy metals out of the body
man blowing his nose into a tissue

Glutathione is critical for helping your immune system and has been shown to naturally decrease with age. (7)

Common symptoms of depleted glutathione levels

Glutathione is one of the body’s most dynamic and important antioxidants. This is why maintaining a well-balanced level of this antioxidant is particularly vital. Too much has been shown to have some side effects which include:

Have any, some, or all of these symptoms? You may be suffering from low GSH levels.

Can glutathione levels ever be too high?

There haven’t been any scientific studies associating risk with high glutathione levels in the body. In fact, high levels of glutathione are associated with excellent physical and mental health! (8)

8 ways to naturally boost glutathione levels in the body

Experiencing any of the symptoms listed above? Ask your practitioner about glutathione and if they can recommend any natural remedies, strategies, or supplements to introduce into your diet. We’ve also gone ahead and put together a list of the 8 best ways you can boost glutathione levels naturally below. Take a look!

1. Break a sweat & take whey protein when you workout

Studies have shown that working out improves your body’s natural antioxidant defense system and boosts glutathione levels. In one study, 80 healthy participants worked out for 40 minutes, three times a week, for six weeks had higher glutathione levels. (9)

Why the whey? One of the amino acids your body needs to produce glutathione is cysteine. Foods packed with cysteine, like whey protein, have been shown to increase GSH levels in the body and reduce oxidative stress. (10)(11)(12)(13)

2. Make sure you get enough sleep

Are you sleeping enough? Chances are, you might not be. A long-term lack of sleep can trigger oxidative stress and deplete GSH levels. (14)(15)(16)(17) There are natural remedies and supplements you can try to help you get better, more restorative sleep.

Did you know?
One in three adults doesn’t get the recommended 7 hours of sleep. (18)

3. Eat more sulfur-rich foods

Sulfur is a key mineral found in protein-rich foods and some plants. Your body needs sulfur for the activity and framework of essential proteins and enzymes. Specifically, your body needs sulfur in order to make glutathione. Studies have shown that eating a diet with sulfur-rich vegetables may reduce oxidative stress by boosting the body’s glutathione levels. (19)(20)(21)

Sources for sulfur in food include:

  • Beef, fish, and poultry
  • Garlic, shallots, and onions (22)(23)
  • Cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli. (24)

Did you know?
Cereals, bread, and dairy products are generally low in GSH. (25)

a bowl full of rice, brussels sprouts, avocado, peas, cucumbers, spinach, and asparagus

Vegetables and fruits such as avocados, asparagus, and spinach have been shown to be the best glutathione-rich foods. (25)

4. Up your vitamin C consumption

Vitamin C has a lot of different functions, which includes acting as an antioxidant to protect cells from free radicals. It also helps in managing the glutathione levels by helping convert oxidized glutathione back into its active form. (26)

Did you know?
In a study where participants took 500 mg of vitamin C supplements daily, glutathione levels in red blood cells were found to increase by 47%. (27)

woman taking a supplement

Taking 500-1,000 mg of vitamin C daily for 13 weeks has been shown to increase glutathione levels in white blood cells by 18%. (28)

5. Take turmeric or curcumin extract

There are countless reasons to take turmeric, including boosting your GSH levels. This ancient ayurvedic herb has medicinal properties mostly due to its ingredient curcumin. (29) Numerous studies have shown that turmeric and curcumin extract can both increase GSH levels. (30)(31)(32)(33)

Did you know?
To reap the GSH boosting benefits of turmeric, it is best to take an extract with a highly concentrated form of curcumin.

6. Try a milk thistle supplement

Milk thistle supplements are made up of three compounds extracted from the milk thistle plant, which are collectively known as silymarin marianum. Studies have shown that silymarin can increase glutathione levels and prevent degradation. (34)(35) Silymarin is also particularly good at protecting the liver from free radicals. (36) We recommend talking to your doctor about your individual dosage before starting a milk thistle supplement regimen.

7. Don’t overdo it with alcohol

Alcohol has a whole slew of adverse effects for your health, so it shouldn’t come with a surprise it depletes your glutathione levels too. Specifically, alcohol erodes your glutathione levels in the lungs. (37)

Did you know?
Individuals who regularly drink large amounts of alcohol can have an 80-90% decrease in lung glutathione levels. (38)

Taking GSH has also been shown to be able to undo some of the negative effects of alcohol. Glutathione when delivered intravenously has been shown to significantly reduce the cell damage in alcoholic and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease cases. (39)

8. Try a glutathione supplement

Taking glutathione supplements and other important precursors can do a lot more than just reduce your body’s oxidative stress and reduce cell damage. It has also been shown to reduce signs of skin aging, address stomach problems, and elevate markers of immune function. (40)(41)(42)

What is the best form of synthetic glutathione to take?

Looking for the most effective glutathione supplement? According to Dr. Ben Lynch, a leading expert in the field of glutathione, GSH is best taken in the form most convenient for patients. Some practitioners have IVs set up in their offices to administer it right into the bloodstream. Other patients like taking capsules at home. Another very popular form of GSH is liquid Liposomal glutathione. Most often, he prescribes patients to take 500 mg.

Whether by IV or liquid form, Dr. Lynch says you should be able to feel the effects of GSH entering and working in your system almost instantly. He also says when you don’t feel the benefits of GSH, it can be helpful to take electrolytes.

Do keep in mind that some practitioners and patients have reported adverse side effects when taking a glutathione supplement. It’s best to talk to your doctor about possible interactions, side effects, or risks before you begin supplementing with glutathione.

If you are worried about glutathione supplement side effects, be sure to check out Dr. Lynch’s Fullscript webinar for some real and practical insight on all things GSH!

Ask your doctor about GSH supplements & treatments

If you have tried the majority of the natural methods listed above but still have low glutathione levels, it’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor about supplements before you begin using them for treatment.

Want to know more and are interested in GSH supplements? Schedule an appointment to talk with a trusted healthcare provider. Chances are they will be able to get a lot more specific and conduct testing to facilitate better management over your glutathione levels and symptoms going forward.

If you are a practitioner, consider signing up to Fullscript. If you are a patient, talk to your healthcare practitioner about Fullscript!

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935118300355
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26520617
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684116/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11029607
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2696075/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4410309/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684116/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17925621
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16365087
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29484396
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29053995
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21167685
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9760133
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15472007
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22401887
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4117056/
  17. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0215-enough-sleep.html
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16702336
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8200071
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17617661
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3335037
  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11673117
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21559038
  24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1574445/
  25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12499341
  26. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8317379
  27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12499341
  28. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3633300/
  29. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9422331/
  30. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11398177/
  31. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2353930
  32. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2353930
  33. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20579862/
  34. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20600218
  35. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1360480
  36. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17507544
  37. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7569285
  38. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17507544
  39. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2129149/
  40. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4735851/
  41. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28853742

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