Also known as the “master antioxidant”, glutathione is naturally produced in the body and it consists of three building blocks of amino acids: l-cysteine, glutamine, and glycine.
Glutathione can be found in almost every cell of our bodies. The most potent sources of it are found in the liver, heart, lungs, brain, and kidneys. What’s interesting about it is the fact that you don’t need to consume it through food since we make it on our own.
Glutathione has the ability to renew itself and recycle other antioxidants found in your body. It manages inflammation and fights free radicals, which is why it’s not only useful for battling illnesses - but also in preventing them.
One of the most important functions of glutathione is stopping the free radicals, peroxides, and toxins from spreading in the body. By doing this, glutathione reduces oxidative stress on cells, helping them survive for longer. This is what antioxidants actually do, and glutathione is one out of many antioxidants that are beneficial for out health, including our skin.
We all know that sebum is naturally occurring in our bodies, and maintaining a healthy amount of it is actually crucial for keeping our skin clear. However, when its constituent squalene comes in contact with common environmental pollutants like smog particles or cigarette smoke, it oxidizes into squalene peroxide, which in turn blocks our pores far more than regular sebum would.
Since glutathione is an antioxidant that is found in our skin layers, it manages to act on these free radicals and stops them from spreading. All of this amounts to healthier, more resilient cells, which makes for a better skin.
Clogged pores in combination with the buildup of acne-causing bacteria is one of the major causes of acne. With that being said, you might be wondering which factors influence the clogging of the pores.
Environmental pollutants, stress and poor dietary choices can cause congestion and clogged pores. Even though the skin has the ability to get rid of toxins on its own, when the toxins become too much to bear, the skin becomes susceptible to breakouts.
Being a powerful antioxidant, glutathione helps by eliminating these unwanted substances from the skin.
If you do decide to take glutathione as an acne treatment, you may notice that your symptoms become worse before they improve, meaning your skin might initially break out due to the toxins being pushed to the surface of the skin. However, once glutathione tackles those toxins and completes their removal, you will start noticing an improvement.
This powerful antioxidant also has the ability to brighten our skin and even out the skin tone. So, not only does it treat acne directly, but it also helps reduce the number of acne scars, as well as any marks of hyperpigmentation, which is important for keeping the skin healthy in the long run.
The quickest and most effective application of glutathione in terms of reducing acne scars is through injections. By implementing glutathione injections as part of your skin care routine, your skin will become brighter, and you will notice a natural glow and increased smoothness. The usual prescribed dosage is around 3,500 mg.
Because glutathione helps repair tissue and keeps the immune system on the right track, it’s no surprise that it’s known to help with conditions such as psoriasis and other auto-immune disorders.
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes the buildup of skin cells by speeding up their life spans. Although there are a few types of psoriasis, the most common one is called plaque psoriasis and is characterized by dry, red skin lesions with scales.
A high level of glutathione can really do wonders for this condition since it reduces the oxidative stress in the cells, and it helps boost the immune system - which is crucial for healthy skin. A buildup of toxins worsens the symptoms of psoriasis, and as we’ve already discussed, glutathione plays a major role in liver detoxification.
Patients suffering from psoriasis have seen incredible results by adding glutathione-rich food into their diet, including glutathione injections as a treatment, and taking oral supplements.
If you do suffer from this condition, make sure you talk to your doctor before including any supplements.
Glutathione helps slow down the effects of aging.
Aging is the result of oxidative stress that’s caused by high amounts of free radicals and not enough antioxidants to combat them, which leads to faster aging.
As we’ve discussed before, providing the body with an abundance of antioxidants is the best way to ensure that we don’t age prematurely. This vigorous antioxidant will not only help you with the physical signs of aging such as wrinkles, gray hairs, and fine lines, but it will also protect your brain and memory.
So what are these benefits?
It can help treat liver disease by reducing the damage of the cells and detoxifying the body. Glutathione might also reduce the damage to the colon for those suffering from ulcerative colitis.
In addition, it also has the potential to protect the gastrointestinal tract of people suffering from stomach-related issues. Some studies show that there is evidence that it can help reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, as well as improve the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.
For the vast majority of people and the vast majority of situations, glutathione is perfectly safe. Being naturally produced by our bodies helps with that immensely.
However, even an excess of otherwise natural substances (like hormones, for example) can carry certain risks or cause complications.
For example, prolonged supplementation with glutathione has been linked to lower zinc levels, and just like other antioxidants, glutathione may protect cancerous cells if it gets trapped inside them. So, should you find yourself fighting that particular dragon, you should rethink supplementing with glutathione and as always, discuss it with your doctor.
Otherwise, taking moderate doses is perfectly safe for healthy individuals.
Regarding pregnancy, we still don’t know whether taking glutathione while pregnant and breastfeeding is safe or not.
So with all this said, make sure you’re transparent with your doctor regarding all the supplements you’re taking. As they say, honesty is the best policy, and seeking professional medical opinion can go a long way.
Now that we’ve covered all the benefits of raising the glutathione levels in the body, you might be wondering if there is any way to increase the levels of this particular antioxidant in our bodies.
Luckily, there are a few things we can do to ensure that we’re making the most of this acne-fighting molecule.
Even though glutathione is naturally produced within the body, adding certain foods is a safe way to increase its levels. Avocados, broccoli, cauliflower, okra, kale, cabbage, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, onions, garlic, and spinach are some of the most potent sources of glutathione.
Vitamin C can be found in lots of fruits and veggies. It’s a water-soluble vitamin that can also work as an antioxidant with a similar function to that of glutathione, which is to protect the cells from damage. Vitamin C is important for the skin in its own right, but research suggests that it might help increase the levels of glutathione since it lowers its workload by performing the same function in the body.
Similarly, vitamin C can convert oxidized glutathione back to its active form, which is how you want it to be. You can increase vitamin C levels by adding more fresh fruits in your diet, especially citrus fruits, bell peppers, kiwis and berries or by supplementing.
Choose food rich in micro-nutrients like selenium, zinc, magnesium, riboflavin, healthy protein sources and vitamin B6 to help increase glutathione production.
Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, lowers the levels of glutathione, which in turn causes more oxidative stress. High stress levels are also correlated with high levels of inflammation in the body, which can also lower the overall amount of antioxidants.
While any type of exercise does wonders for your skin and overall health, long-distance, strenuous training can potentially create more oxidative stress and cell damage. Choosing HIIT (high-intensity interval training) will not only save you time, but it will also keep your glutathione levels steady. Combine this type of cardio with strength training for optimal results.
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is associated with increased levels of oxidative stress. If you consume alcohol on a regular basis, chances are the glutathione levels in your lungs have decreased by more than 70%, which is a shocking amount. Limiting the amount of alcohol you consume is the right thing to do in order to avoid fluctuation in glutathione levels.
Glutathione, or as it is sometimes called the master antioxidant, offers the incredible ability to help the body repair itself from the inside out. Since the amount found in our bodies decreases as we age, supplementation is often recommended.
You can do this by taking oral supplements, injections, taking it in liposomal form or simply including more glutathione-rich food to your diet.
Living a healthy lifestyle is another important factor if you want to maintain healthy antioxidant levels - not to mention that it’s just the best thing for your health overall. It’s the only way to make sure that your liver is producing the optimal amount of antioxidants that are crucial for a healthy body. And with it, a healthy, young-looking skin.
This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances, and its goal is to offer a general view of the subject. In case you are suffering from a severe case of acne, you should consult with a dermatologist or a certified medical professional.