Heal Yourself At Home
side bar
GSE Glutathione - King of the Antioxidants

Glutathione (GSH)

–“King of the Antioxidants”

Glutathione (GSH) is the PRIMARY antioxidant and detoxifier in cell's cytoplasm

Produced inside EVERY cell - although non-essential (meaning it does not have to be in diet), this crucially important antioxidant is synthesized “in-house”from L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid and glycine, with cysteine being the rate limiting factor for its production, since it is not available in many foods

Glutathione provides a “Bulls-eye”for oxidation by radicals – glutathione is a reducing agent (i.e. it donates electrons).The cysteinein thistripeptide (glutamyl-cysteinyl-glycine)provides the biological activity of GSH as a highly reactive free sulphydryl group (SH or thiol group) that neutralizes radicals in a 1-electron oxidation-reduction transfer. The reduced form (GS-SG) is regenerated in a redox cycle involving gluthathione reductase, using NADPH as an electron donor.

GSH+ROSNeutralizedROS+GS-SG (oxidized GSH)

(Glutathione disulfide)

E.g. 2GSH + H2O2 →GS–SG + 2H2O


Glutathione Reductase

Recycles other antioxidants in the body -reduces oxidized Vitamin C and Vitamin E to their unoxidized states;

Dehydroascorbate + 2GSHGSSG + Ascorbate

Helps red blood cells carry oxygen - and keep their shape, enhancing their delivery to vital organs; also prevents formation of methemoglobin, an altered form of hemaglobin produced by heme iron-oxidation,unable to carry oxygen,;

Needed for protein synthesis, nucleic acid synthesis / DNA repair and cellular function –by aiding amino acid transport across cellular membranes;

Immune system enhancer - Needed for creation / maintenance of T-Cell lymphocytes –the body's frontline defense against infection.

Detoxifies toxins in the body -including heavy metals, cigarette smoke, fuel exhaust, etc.. (Phase I and II detoxification reactions);

Potent anti-cancer /anti-viral agent

Involved in maintaining brain function

Not ingested directly, glutathione is produced in the body

Glutathione can NOT be ingested directly - it is manufactured inside your cells from its precursor amino acids, glycine, glutamate and cysteine. Glycine and glutamate are readily available (both in foods and produced in body), but cysteine is a rate-limiting ingredient for glutathione production.

Glutathione production requires the trace mineral selenium

Most oral glutathione supplements have been shown to be poorly absorbed - and ironically, may interfere with your body's own ability to produce glutathione in the long-term;

Cysteine is a difficult amino for the body to obtain

Cysteine is a SULFUR-containing amino acid - that contributes to the sulfhydryl group (SH)in the glutathione (GSH) molecule;

Sulfur – Healing Mineral

Good food sources of cysteineinclude:

–   Highest levels in RAW milk products, RAW eggs, and UNDERCOOKED meat - but less in PASTEURIZEDdairy products.


–   Also found in smaller quantities in UNCOOKED, fresh fruits and vegetables - highest sources of precursor amino acids are spinach, potatoes, asparagus, avocado, squash, okra, cauliflower, broccoli, walnuts, garlic, and tomatoes;

✔  Cooking destroys some bioacitivity of cysteine - In food, cysteine is bound into protein molecules by amide (peptide) bonds. High temperatures during cooking can break down these bonds and destroy bioactivity of cysteine, but, to a large extent,cysteine does survivecooking.

Giovanelli J (1987) "Sulfur amino acids of plants: an overview." In: "Sulfur and Sulfur Amino Acids," Methods in Enzymology, vol. 143; eds. Jakoby W, Griffith O; Academic Press, Orlando, Florida; pp. 419-426.

Clemente A, Sanchez-Vioque R, Vioque J, Bautista J, Millan F (1998) "Effect of cooking on protein quality of chickpea (Cicer arietinum) seeds." Food Chemistry, vol. 62, pp. 1-6.

Chau C-F, Cheung P C-K, Wong Y-S (1997) "Effects of cooking on content of amino acids and antinutrients in three Chinese indigenous legume seeds." Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, vol. 75, pp. 447-452.

Some cysteine in foods may not survive digestive journey - and even if it does, it has difficulty entering cells

–   Harsh stomach acids can destroy bonds in cysteine consumed in plant or meat sources

–   Free cysteine that survives the trip into the bloodstream cannot enter the cells –it needs to be part of a larger molecule


”Cysteine has trouble surviving the trip from your mouth to your cells unless it's part of a larger molecule or protein.”

- Dr. Jimmy Gutman “Glutathione. Your Key To Health”

–   Mice fed dietary (free) cysteine showed no positive immunological response

Drs. Bounous andBatist, “Immunoenhancing property of dietary whey protein in mice: role of glutathione”, Clinical and Investigative Medicine

–   Cysteine can be made fromthe essential amino acid methionine(not produced by the body, so must be obtained from diet)by the methylation pathway – E.g. methionine is in meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, quinoa, buckwheat, sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, and to a lesser degree dry spirulina.

Gene deficiency may be at the root of low glutathione levels

Certain genes produce enzymes that allow the body to create and recycle glutathione in the body E.g. GSTM1, GSTP1 .

These genes are in short supply in about 1/3 of the population, who are more apt to suffer chronic disease - since these genes were not needed in the pre-industrial era, they probably evolved out of production in our body, but today, we are bombarded with chemical and electromagnetic pollution, which rapidly depletes our mediocre glutathione supplies.

Families with genetic tendencies for lower amounts of glutathione production tend to have certain problems E.g. schizophrenia, alcoholism, bipolar disease, depression, attention deficit disorder, constipation, and autism.

Best Sources/methods for High Glutathione Levels

Consume sulfur-rich foods – E.g. animal foods and eggs, garlic, onions and the cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, cauliflower, watercress, etc.).

Sulfur –Healing Mineral

BEST SUPPLEMENT - Raw cow's milk whey provides cystine(two bondedcysteine molecules),glycine and glutamate for glutathione production –in this food source, the cysteine molecule remains intact during digestion and is able to get inside cells –

–   Raw milk whey contains 3 highly bioactive proteins containing large amounts of cystine:

✔ Lactoferrin and Lactalbumin immunoglobulins, critical to creating the right metabolic environment for high glutathione activity;

✔ Serum albumin - rarely in other foods, whey contains a unique cysteine residue (glutamylcysteine) that naturally occurs in bovine serum albumin. This fragile immune component of whey is highly bioactive in its affinity for converting to glutathione.

–   The cysteine in whey is in the form of cystine, which can enter cells - each cysteine molecule is bonded with another cysteine molecule by a disulfide bond or bridge –to make a paired unit, called cystine(pronounced /sis-'ta-yn/). Cystine can easily enter cells where it breaks down back into two cysteinemolecules and participates in the formation of glutathione.

These disulfide bonds are very fragile and easily denatured by heat and mechanical stress - bonds are damaged by pasteurization of milk and mechanical stress during centrifuging.


“Breast is Best”

Human breast milk contains large amounts of lactoferrin, serum albumin and alpha lactalbumin, as well as other immunoglobulins - so it is loaded with bonded cysteine. This is one of the reasons why mother's milk is such a strong immune system builder for a baby, and why it is very important to breastfeed your child. Baby formula will NOT supply bonded cysteine for building glutathione.

–   For beneficial cysteine, whey Protein should be:

✔ Cold-pressed from non-pasteurized milk, containing non-denatured proteins

✔ Derived from grass-fed cows

✔ Free of hormones, chemicals and artificial sugar;

Quality whey protein sold at www.mercola.com.

Immunocal is a prescription bioactive non-denatured whey protein (expensive)

Ensure sufficiency of selenium in diet (~200 mcg/day) - body's “in-house” production /recycling of glutathione requires this trace mineral. Excellent sources (best from food rather than supplement):

✔ 2-3 organic brazil nuts (100mcg)

✔ 4oz cod or halibut (53 mcg) / 4oz tuna (53 mcg) / 3.2 oz sardines (48 mcg) / 4 oz salmon (43 mcg)

✔ 4 oz turkey (36 mcg), 4 oz beef, chicken or lamb (31-37 mcg)

✔ 1 cup barley (36 mcg);

✔ 5oz Crimini mushrooms (23 mcg)

Ensure B6, B12 and folate for crucial methylation and transulfuration pathways in production of glutathione – these B-vitamins support SAMe, and other methyl donors, which donate a methyl group (CH3) to another molecule to make it bio-active; SAMe is also the precursor for synthesis of cysteine and glutathione in the transulfuration pathway. Take supplements in their active forms: Folate ( 5-MTHF), B6 (P5P), B12 (methylcobalamin).

SAMe –And other Methyl Donors

Exercise boosts body's glutathione levels – 30 minutes/day of aerobic exercise, as in a brisk walk

Magnesium is required for glutathione synthesis - Magnesium deficiency often results in low serum glutathione levels.

Mg - Antioxidant glutathione synthesis

Other antioxidants work together to recycle glutathione –including vitamins E (take 400-800 IU mixed tocopherol supplement) and vitamin C

MELATONIN increases glutathione production –this hormone is produced when you get a good night's sleep in total darkness


Herb milk thistle - is an excellent source of the antioxidant compound silymarin, which may help prevent glutathione depletion in your liver. Glutathione is crucial in the liver for detoxification and can become depleted by alcohol consumption and general toxic overload.

Polyphenols ellagic acid and quercetin recycle glutathione

Curcumin – increasesliver cell's (hepatocytes) production ofglutathione.

Alpha Lipoic Acid - operates as an antioxidant in both its oxidized and reduced states, and has been shown to enhance glutathione levels.

Glutathione can be introduced into the lungs and bronchial area via a nebulizer -According to a study in Alternative Medicine Review in 2000, nebulized glutathione has had remarkable success in emphysema and other lung disorders such as asthma and bronchitis; it can also be used for colds and sinus problems.

Nebulizing Glutathione

N-acetyl cysteine ( NAC) –this oral cystine supplement is sometimes taken as a precursor for cysteine and glutathione

–   However, clinical studies are contraversial - some demonstrating that NAC supplementation by itself is NOT effective in increasing cysteine levels within the cell.


NAC-induced increases in glutathione levels did occur when NAC administered in dangerously high dosages.

LEONORE A. HERZENBERG e3t al, Glutathione deficiency is associated with impaired survival in HIV disease (,March 1997) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA Vol. 94, pp. 1967–1972Link

–   High NAC supplementation can deplete zinc , copper and some trace minerals

–   Its use has been associated with some serious side effects

DISCLAIMER: The content on this website is intended for informational, and educational purposes only and not as a substitute for the medical advice, treatment or diagnosis of a licensed health professional. The author of this website is a researcher, not a health professional, and shall in no event be held liable to any party for any direct, indirect, special, incidental, punitive or other damages arising from any use of the content of this website. Any references to health benefits of specifically named products on this site are this website author's sole opinion and are not approved or supported by their manufacturers or distributors. COPYRIGHT 2009-2017