Gamma-Glutamylcysteinylglycine, Gamma-L-Glutamyl-L-Cysteinylglycine, Gamma-L-Glutamyl-L-Cystéinylglycine, Glutathion, Glutatión, L-Gamma-Glutamyl-L-Cysteinyl-Glycine, L-Gamma-Glutamyl-L-Cystéinyl-Glycine, L-Glutathion, L-Glutathione, GSH, N-(N-L-gamma-Glutamyl-L-cysteinyl)glycine.
Glutathione is a substance made from the amino acids glycine, cysteine, and glutamic acid. It is produced naturally by the liver and involved in many processes in the body, including tissue building and repair, making chemicals and proteins needed in the body, and for the immune system.
People take glutathione by mouth for treating cataracts and glaucoma, preventing aging, treating or preventing alcoholism, asthma, cancer, heart disease (atherosclerosis and high cholesterol), hepatitis, liver disease, diseases that weaken the body's defense system (including AIDS and chronic fatigue syndrome), memory loss, Alzheimer's disease, osteoarthritis, and Parkinson's disease. Glutathione is also used for maintaining the body's defense system (immune system) and fighting metal and drug poisoning.
Glutathione is breathed in (inhaled) for treating lung diseases, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and lung disease in people with HIV disease.
Healthcare providers give glutathione as a shot (by injection into the muscle) for preventing poisonous side effects of cancer treatment (chemotherapy) and for treating the inability to father a child (male infertility).
Healthcare providers also give glutathione intravenously (by injection into the vein, by IV) for preventing "tired blood" (anemia) in kidney patients undergoing hemodialysis treatment, preventing kidney problems after heart bypass surgery, treating Parkinson's disease, improving blood flow and decreasing clotting in individuals with "hardening of the arteries" (atherosclerosis), treating diabetes, and preventing toxic side effects of chemotherapy.
How does it work?
Glutathione is involved in many processes in the body, including tissue building and repair, making chemicals and proteins needed in the body, and for the immune system.
Possibly Effective for...
- Chemotherapy side effects. Administering glutathione intravenously (by IV) seems to help prevent chemotherapy side effects.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Alzheimer's disease.
- Anemia in people on hemodialysis.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome.
- "Hardening of the arteries" (atherosclerosis)..
- Heart disease.
- High cholesterol levels.
- Infertility in men.
- Liver problems.
- Lung diseases.
- Memory loss.
- Parkinson's disease.
- Preventing aging.
- Treating or preventing alcoholism.
- Other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Glutathione is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth, by inhalation, or by injection into the muscle or into the veins. There isn't a lot of information available about the possible side effects of glutathione. It might cause rash when applied to the skin, or irritability in children when taken by mouth or applied to the skin.
Asthma: Do not inhale glutathione if you have asthma. It can increase some asthma symptoms.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
BY INJECTION INTO THE VEIN OR MUSCLE:
- For chemotherapy side effects: Doses of 1.5 to 3 grams/m² of glutathione have been given in a 15-20 minute time period right before chemotherapy treatments. Also, 1.5 grams/m² of glutathione has been given over 15 minutes prior to chemotherapy plus 600 mg of glutathione injected into the muscle on days 2 to 5.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Allen J, Bradley RD. Effects of oral glutathione supplementation on systemic oxidative stress biomarkers in human volunteers. J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Sep;17(9):827-33. View abstract.
Amano J, Suzuki A, Sunamori M. Salutary effect of reduced glutathione on renal function in coronary artery bypass operation. J Am Coll Surg 1994;179:714-20. View abstract.
Amores-Sanchez MI, Medina MA. Glutamine, as a precursor of glutathione, and oxidative stress. Mol Genet Metab 1999;67:100-5. View abstract.
Anderson ME. Glutathione: an overview of biosynthesis and modulation. Chem Biol Interact 1998;24;111-112:1-14.
Antioxidant lozenge could help ward off flu. www.reutershealth.com (Accessed 19 April 2000).
Aw TY, Wierzbicka G, Jones DP. Oral glutathione increases tissue glutathione in vivo. Chem Biol Interact 1991;80:89-97. View abstract.
Bains JS, Shaw CA. Neurodegenerative disorders in humans: the role of glutathione in oxidative stress-mediated neuronal death. Brain Res Brain Res Rev 1997;25:335-58. View abstract.
Borok Z, Buhl R, Grimes GJ, et al. Effect of glutathione aerosol on oxidant-antioxidant imbalance in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Lancet 1991;338:215-6. View abstract.
Cascinu S, Cordella L, Del Ferro E, et al. Neuroprotective effect of reduced glutathione on cisplatin-based chemotherapy in advanced gastric cancer: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Clin Oncol 1995;13:26-32. View abstract.
Cascinu S, Frontini L, Comella G, et al. Intensive weekly chemotherapy is not effective in advanced pancreatic cancer patients: a report from the Italian Group for the Study of Dig. Tract Cancer (GISCAD). Br J Cancer 1999;79(3-4):491-4. View abstract.
Cascinu S, Labianca R, Alessandroni P, et al. Intensive weekly chemotherapy for advanced gastric cancer using fluorouracil, cisplatin, epi-doxorubicin, 6S-leucovorin, glutathione, and filgrastim: a report from the Italian Group for the Study of Digestive Tract Cancer. J Clin Oncol 1997;15:3313-9. View abstract.
Ciuchi E, Odetti P, Prando R. The effect of acute glutathione treatment on sorbitol level in erythrocytes from diabetic patients. Diabetes Metab 1997;23:58-60. View abstract.
Cook GC, Sherlock S. Results of a controlled clinical trial of glutathione in cases of hepatic cirrhosis. Gut 1965;6:472-6. View abstract.
De Mattia G, Bravi MC, Laurenti O, et al. Influence of reduced glutathione infusion on glucose metabolism in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Metabolism 1998;47:993-7. View abstract.
Di Re F, Bohm S, Oriana S, et al. High-dose cisplatin and cyclophosphamide with glutathione in the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer. Ann Oncol 1993;4:55-61. View abstract.
Droge W, Holm E. Role of cysteine and glutathione in HIV infection and other diseases associated with muscle wasting and immunological dysfunction. FASEB J 1997;11:1077-89. View abstract.
Flagg EW, Coates RJ, Jones DP, et al. Dietary glutathione intake and the risk of oral and pharyngeal cancer. Am J Epidemiol 1994;139:453-65. View abstract.
Graziano F, Cardarelli N, Marcellini M, et al. A pilot clinical trial of postoperative intensive weekly chemotherapy using cisplatin, epi-doxorubicin, 5-fluorouracil, 6S-leucovorin, glutathione and filgrastim in patients with resected gastric cancer. Tumori 1998;84:368-71. View abstract.
Hagen TM, Wierzbicka GT, Bowman BB, et al. Fate of dietary glutathione: disposition in the gastrointestinal tract. Am J Physiol 1990;259(4 Pt 1):G530-5. View abstract.
Herzenberg LA, De Rosa SC, Dubs JG, et al. Glutathione deficiency is associated with impaired survival in HIV disease. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1997;94:1967-72. View abstract.
Holroyd KJ, Buhl R, Borok Z, et al. Correction of glutathione deficiency in the lower respiratory tract of HIV seropositive individuals by glutathione aerosol treatment. Thorax 1993;48:985-9. View abstract.
Hong SY, Gil HW, Yang JO, Lee EY, Kim HK, Kim SH, Chung YH, Hwang SK, Lee ZW. Pharmacokinetics of glutathione and its metabolites in normal subjects. J Korean Med Sci. 2005 Oct;20(5):721-6. View abstract.
Jenner P, Olanow CW. Understanding cell death in Parkinson's disease. Ann Neurol 1998;44(3 Suppl 1):S72-84. View abstract.
Jenner P. Oxidative mechanisms in nigral cell death in Parkinson's disease. Mov Disord 1998;(13 Suppl)1:24-34. View abstract.
Kern JK, Geier DA, Adams JB, Garver CR, Audhya T, Geier MR. A clinical trial of glutathione supplementation in autism spectrum disorders. Med Sci Monit. 2011 Dec;17(12):CR677-82. View abstract.
Knapen MF, Mulder TP, Van Rooij IA, et al. Low whole blood glutathione levels in pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia or the hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelets syndrome. Obstet Gynecol 1998;92:1012-5. View abstract.
Knapen MF, Peters WH, Mulder TP, et al. Glutathione and glutathione-related enzymes in decidua and placenta of controls and women with pre-eclampsia. Placenta 1999;20:541-6. View abstract.
Lenzi A, Culasso F, Gandini L, Placebo-controlled, double-blind, cross-over trial of glutathione therapy in male infertility. Hum Reprod 1993;8:1657-62. View abstract.
Leone R, Fracasso ME, Soresi E, et al. Influence of glutathione administration on the disposition of free and total platinum in patients after administration of cisplatin. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 1992;29:385-90. View abstract.
Links M, Lewis C. Chemoprotectants: a review of their clinical pharmacology and therapeutic efficacy. Drugs 1999;57:293-308. View abstract.
Locatelli MC, D'Antona A, Labianca R, et al. A phase II study of combination chemotherapy in advanced ovarian carcinoma with cisplatin and cyclophosphamide plus reduced glutathione as potential protective agent against cisplatin toxicity. Tumori 1993;79:37-9. View abstract.
Loguercio C, Di Pierro M. The role of glutathione in the gastrointestinal tract: a review. Ital J Gastroenterol Hepatol 1999;31:401-7. View abstract.
Lomaestro BM, Malone M. Glutathione in health and disease: pharmacotherapeutic issues. Ann Pharmacother 1995;29:1263-73. View abstract.
Lu SC. Regulation of hepatic glutathione synthesis: current concepts and controversies. FASEB J 1999;13:1169-83. View abstract.
Marrades RM, Roca J, Barbera JA, et al. Nebulized glutathione induces bronchoconstriction in patients with mild asthma. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 1997;156(2 Pt 1):425-30. View abstract.
Marshall KA, Reist M, Jenner P, el al. The neuronal toxicity of sulfite plus peroxynitrite is enhanced by glutathione depletion: implications for Parkinson's disease. Free Radic Biol Med 1999;27:515-20. View abstract.
Martin HL, Teismann P. Glutathione--a review on its role and significance in Parkinson's disease. FASEB J. 2009 Oct;23(10):3263-72. View abstract.
Meister A. On the discovery of glutathione. Trends Biochem Sci. 1988;13(5):185-8. View abstract.
Merad-Boudia M, Nicole A, Santiard-Baron D, et al. Mitochondrial impairment as an early event in the process of apoptosis induced by glutathione depletion in neuronal cells: relevance to Parkinson's disease. Biochem Pharmacol 1998;56:645-55. View abstract.
Parnis FX, Coleman RE, Harper PG, et al. A randomised double-blind placebo controlled clinical trial assessing the tolerability and efficacy of glutathione as an adjuvant to escalating doses of cisplatin in the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer. Eur J Cancer 1995;31A:1721. View abstract.
Pearce RK, Owen A, Daniel S, et al. Alterations in the distribution of glutathione in the substantia nigra in Parkinson's disease. J Neural Transm 1997;104:661-77. View abstract.
Plaxe S, Freddo J, Kim S, et al. Phase I trial of cisplatin in combination with glutathione. Gynecol Oncol 1994;55:82-6. View abstract.
Powers SK, Hamilton K. Antioxidants and exercise. Clin Sports Med 1999;18:525-36. View abstract.
Powers SK, Ji LL, Leeuwenburgh C. Exercise training-induced alterations in skeletal muscle antioxidant capacity: a brief review. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1999;31:987-97. View abstract.
Roum JH, Borok Z, McElvaney NG, et al. Glutathione aerosol suppresses lung epithelial surface inflammatory cell-derived oxidants in cystic fibrosis. J Appl Physiol 1999;87:438-43. View abstract.
Ruffmann R, Wendel A. GSH rescue by N-acetylcysteine. Klin Wochenschr 1991;69:857-62. View abstract.
Samiec PS, Drews-Botsch C, Flagg EW, et al. Glutathione in human plasma: decline in association with aging, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetes. Free Radic Biol Med 1998;24:699-704. View abstract.
Sechi G, Deledda MG, Bua G, et al. Reduced intravenous glutathione in the treatment of early Parkinson's disease. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 1996;20:1159-70. View abstract.
Smyth JF, Bowman A, Perren T, et al. Glutathione reduces the toxicity and improves quality of life of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer treated with cisplatin: results of a double-blind, randomised trial. Ann Oncol 1997;8:569-73. View abstract.
Usberti M, Lima G, Arisi M, et al. Effect of exogenous reduced glutathione on the survival of red blood cells in hemodialyzed patients. J Nephrol 1997;10:261-5. View abstract.
Walsh SW, Wang Y. Deficient glutathione peroxidase activity in preeclampsia is associated with increased placental production of thromboxane and lipid peroxides. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1993;169:1456-61. View abstract.
Witschi A, Reddy S, Stofer B, et al. The systemic availability of oral glutathione. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 1992;43:667-9. View abstract.