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Glutathione: All You Need to Know

What is Glutathione?|Glutathione Benefits|Precautions and Warnings|Side Effects|Interactions|Dosage

What is Glutathione?

Glutathione benefits are plenty and the number of available brands, products, and cosmetics containing it are seemingly endless.

While skin lightening is the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions “gluta”, that is just a side effect of its detoxifying action.

Not interested in changing your natural complexion? The powerful antioxidant properties of glutathione alone are enough to give it a try, especially if you are constantly under stress and want to bring your glow back.

What is glutathione?

glutathione benefits

Glutathione is an antioxidant tripeptide that is made up of three amino acids: cysteine, glycine, and glutamate.

It is considered the most important and abundant intracellular antioxidant.

Glutathione is naturally produced in the liver where it plays a significant role in detoxification of the body.

Supplementation is not typically needed, however, may be recommended for people who would like to boost their immunity or for cosmetic reasons.

Where to get glutathione

Do you want to obtain the different glutathione benefits? Well, gluta products are easily accessible as oral and topical products.

These can be purchased without a prescription in most drug stores.

The intravenous dosage form is not typically available in drug stores but it is fairly easy to find and purchase online and at beauty or aesthetic clinics.

Be wary of purchasing glutathione products online from unauthorized sellers as these may be adulterated, ineffective, and possibly harmful.

In the same line, inquire with the aesthetic clinic regarding the type and dosage of the gluta drip you will be given.

Avoid glutathione injectable solutions that look suspicious, are a so-called “in-house formula” or the product has not been approved for sale and use in the Philippines.

While IV dosage forms can be purchased without a prescription or license online, it is best to have the glutathione administered by a licensed health professional such as a nurse or doctor.

Improper injection protocols can result in pain, malabsorption, bruising, and possible infection.

Glutathione Benefits

Glutathione benefits include:

  • Enhancing detoxification
  • Reducing signs of ageing from oxidative stress
  • Regulating immune system function
  • Maintaining reduction and oxidation balance
  • Skin lightening
  • Use as a biomarker

glutathione benefits

How should I take glutathione?

Glutathione is available as an oral capsule, drink powder and liquid, and intravenous (IV) injection. It can also be found as an ingredient in cosmetics such as soaps, lotions, and serums.

Protective sunscreens (SPF 15 or above) or clothing should be used while taking glutathione to prevent tanning, sunburn, and UV damage.

Oral glutathione versus IV glutathione

The best way to get glutathione benefits is through IV injections.

It is poorly absorbed through oral and topical routes. Glutathione injections should be administered by a licensed healthcare practitioner such as a specialty nurse or a doctor.

glutathione benefits

How do I store glutathione?

This drug should be stored at room temperature (<30°C) and be protected from light and moisture. Do not allow this product to freeze.

Always check the label before using this product. For safety, keep out of the reach of children and pets.

Do not use if the printed expiration date has passed, the product seal has been broken, or the product has changed in color, odor, or consistency.

Do not dispose of this product by pouring it down the drain, toilet, or into the environment.

Ask your pharmacist regarding the proper way and location of disposal.

Precautions and Warnings

Supplements, including glutathione, are generally safe to take at any time.

There are not enough studies and data on glutathione side effects, though it is thought to be safe even in high doses.

What should I know before using glutathione?

Most people produce enough glutathione in the liver by eating balanced meals. Only take vitamin and food supplements if you are directed to do so by your doctor.

Before using glutathione to get its benefits, inform your doctor if:

  • You have ever had an allergic reaction to glutathione or other supplements.
  • You have a history of allergy to other medications, food, or other substances.
  • You are taking other medications.
  • You have underlying health conditions.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are not enough studies or data done with glutathione to determine if it is safe or potentially harmful to pregnant mothers or babies in the womb.

However, increased antioxidants are generally beneficial during pregnancy.

Glutathione should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefits justify the potential risks to the baby, as determined by your doctor.

This drug may be excreted in breast milk. Glutathione should be used while breastfeeding only if the potential benefits justify the potential risks to the child, as determined by your doctor.

Side Effects

All drugs have the potential to cause side effects, even with normal use. Many side effects are dose-related and will resolve when it is adjusted or at the end of therapy.

glutathione benefits

Potential glutathione side effects include:

  • Injection site irritation or burning (IV form)
  • Gastric irritation
  • Skin lightening

You may experience some, none, or other side effects not mentioned above.

If you have any concerns about a side effect or it becomes bothersome, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

This drug may interact with other medications.

To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and inform your doctor and pharmacist.

If you experience an adverse drug interaction, stop taking this drug and continue taking your other medication.

Inform your doctor immediately to reevaluate your treatment plan. Your dose may need to be adjusted, substituted with another drug, or discontinue using the drug.

Does food or alcohol interact with glutathione?

The absorption rate is slightly decreased with food, however, taking it with a meal prevents gastrointestinal distress.

The IV glutathione injection is not affected by food. Alcohol may lower the amount of glutathione levels in the blood. Avoid alcohol consumption or increase your dose of glutathione.

Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns regarding food-drug interactions.

What health conditions may interact with glutathione?

This drug should be taken with caution if you have any of the following conditions or risk factors:

  • Allergy to any ingredients in the preparation

Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns regarding specific health conditions.

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using glutathione.

What is the dose of glutathione for an adult?

The recommended dose of glutathione in any form has not been established.

But the typical dosing of glutathione is once a day for oral dosage forms, one to two times a week for IV injections, and as desired for topical products.

The best time to take glutathione is at bedtime and 1-2 hours before meals or 2-3 hours after a meal for optimal absorption and effect.

Consult with your doctor regarding the best glutathione dose and regimen for you.

What is the dose of glutathione for a child?

There is no established dose for pediatric patients. Your child’s pediatrician will prescribe an appropriate dose if it is needed.

How is glutathione available?

This drug is commonly available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Capsules: 250 mg, 500 mg, 1000 mg
  • IV solution: 600 mg, 1.2 g, 1.5 g, 2 g
  • Soap
  • Lotion, cream, serum
  • Drink (mixed)

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

Overdose using glutathione has not been recorded.

Cases of severe adverse events while using glutathione are mainly attributed to poor or unknown quality of the product and unsanitary or improper gluta drip and glutathione injection.

In case of an emergency or adverse reactions, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

Missing a dose will not harm your health, however, if skin lightening is desired the effect may not be noticeable when doses are missed.

Double dosing may be allowed, if approved by a doctor.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

https://www.mims.com/philippines/drug/info/gluta-white-gluta-white%20500?type=full

Dermatologists warn public on dangers of glutathione for skin whitening https://specialty.mims.com/topic/dermatologists-warn-public-on-dangers-of-glutathione-for-skin-whitening Accessed November 2, 2020

Glutathione! https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684116/ Accessed November 2, 2020

Efficacy of glutathione for the treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: an open-label, single-arm, multicenter, pilot study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5549431/ Accessed November 2, 2020

Systemic Glutathione as a Skin-Whitening Agent in Adult https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7196133/ Accessed November 2, 2020

A Review of Dietary (Phyto)Nutrients for Glutathione Support https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770193/ Accessed November 2, 2020

Direct correlation of glutathione and ascorbate and their dependence on age and season in human lymphocytes https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/71/5/1194/4729285 Accessed November 2, 2020

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Written by Stephanie Nicole Nera, RPh, PharmD Updated Mar 26
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