Glutathione is an interesting antioxidant found in every cell. Most call it the master antioxidant. Like Vitamin C and E, glutathione is important for keeping our cellular health in check. It neutralize free radicals, which can build up in cells and cause damage and because glutathione exists within the cells, it is in a prime position to neutralize free radicals. It also has potentially widespread health benefits because it can be found in all types of cells, including the cells of the immune system, whose job is to fight disease.
Glutahione is produced by our bodies. As we age, the level of glutathione we produced drastically depletes, hence we need to supplement. A good diet high in fresh fruits, vegetables and freshly prepared meats are most likely taking good quantities of glutathione. On the other hand, those with poor diets may get too little.
How Should Glutathione Be Taken?
Glutathione is probably not well absorbed into the body when taken orally.There are several ways to get in into ones system. One practical solution is to take the precursors -- that is, the molecules the body needs to make glutathione -- rather than glutathione itself. While there is no solid proof this works, the consensus among experts is that that doing so will increase the amount of glutathione in the cells.
One such example is Dr. Stephen Langer's Bioactive Whey Protein:
"The best way to boost glutathione is by giving the body the quality protein and biochemical precursors it needs to make its own. In order to produce glutathione, the body must receive native-form proteins that are not structurally altered (undenatured), not contaminated (organic) and that remain biologically active (bioactive). Swanson Ultra Certified Organic Undenatured Bioactive Whey Protein meets these criteria."
One other intake method is intravenous administration. This method requires the assistance of a doctor or healthcare professional.
Only qualified healthcare practitioners (doctors or licensed IV Therapist) should administer glutathione iv to patients:
1. Prepare sterile area. Healthcare practitioners should also sanitize and wear proper clinic attire.
2. Dilute the appropriate dosage of glutathione in 5cc to 10cc of sterile normal saline (may be more, depending on dosage).
3. Break vitamin C ampoule and infuse with the diluted glutathione.
4. Inject through a 25-gauge butterfly catheter intravenously over a 15 to 20 minute period.
5. IV's are usually administered anywhere between 1 to 2 times a week or depending on a physicians recommendation.
Animal and laboratory studies have demonstrated that glutathione has the potential to fight almost any disease, particularly those associated with aging, since free radical damage is the cause of many of the diseases of old age.
Theoretically, there are many very strong arguments in favor of a therapeutic use of glutathione. The amount of research on glutathione as a supplement is very limited.
Nevertheless, people have tried glutathione for the treatment of a whole host of conditions, including cancer, high blood pressure, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, cataracts, and male infertility.
What Are the Risks?
Overall, taking glutathione or its precursors in reasonable amounts appears to be quite safe, although it should be avoided in people with milk protein allergies and in those who have received an organ transplant.
For intravenous glutathione, FDA has warned about the possibilities of the use of “high doses” of glutathione which may lead not only to skin rashes but also to potentially fatal skin diseases like Steven Johnsons Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis. There is no concrete evidence or study stating such.
When asked if glutathione iv can cause Steven Johnsons Syndrome, Dr. Steven Bowers replies:
&quot;Not to my knowledge. The most common drugs associated with stevens-johnson are sulfonamides. There are numerous other drugs that are associated with it, but not glutathione.&quot;
According to another online source, nearly all cases of SJS are caused by a reaction to a drug, most often sulfa antibiotics; barbiturates; anticonvulsants, such as phenytoin and carbamazepine; certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); or allopurinol. Some cases are caused by a bacterial infection. Occasionally, a cause cannot be identified. The disorder occurs in all age groups but is more common among older people, probably because older people tend to use more drugs. The disorder is also more likely to occur in people with AIDS.
Not to be taken by people with liver dysfunction. Do note that taking high dose glutathione has been linked to the Herxheimer Effect. More about this in the next few blogs.
Glutathione for skin lightening is not FDA approved. No compounded product is FDA approved in the narrow sense of the definition, but Glutathione is in the GRAS (generally regarded as safe) category. It is only approved for use in treating cancer. There is no high quality peer review, published medical literature to substantiate the use of compound medications. It is considered as mesotherapy, and as such, experimental. However, there are many anecdotal reports indicating that it works.