What is Glutathione?

Glutathione (GSH) is an important antioxidant in plants, animals, fungi, and some bacteria and archaea, preventing damage to important cellular components caused by reactive oxygen species such as free radicals, peroxides, lipid peroxides and heavy metals. It is a tripeptide with a gamma peptide linkage between the carboxyl group of the glutamate side-chain and the amine group of cysteine (which is attached by normal peptide linkage to a glycine).

Thiol groups are reducing agents, existing at a concentration around 5 mM in animal cells. Glutathione reduces disulfide bonds formed within cytoplasmic proteins to cysteines by serving as an electron donor. In the process, glutathione is converted to its oxidized form, glutathione disulfide (GSSG), also called L-(–)-glutathione.

Once oxidized, glutathione can be reduced back by glutathione reductase, using NADPH as an electron donor. The ratio of reduced glutathione to oxidized glutathione within cells is often used as a measure of cellular toxicity.

Glutathione exists in both reduced (GSH) and oxidized (GSSG) states. In the reduced state, the thiol group of cysteine is able to donate a reducing equivalent (H++ e−) to other unstable molecules, such as reactive oxygen species. In donating an electron, glutathione itself becomes reactive, but readily reacts with another reactive glutathione to form glutathione disulfide (GSSG). Such a reaction is probable due to the relatively high concentration of glutathione in cells (up to 5 mM in the liver).

Generally, interactions between GSH and other molecules with higher relative electrophilicity deplete GSH levels within the cell. An exception to this case involves the sensitivity of GSH to the electrophilic compound’s relative concentration. In high concentrations, the organic molecule Diethyl maleate fully depleted GSH levels in cells. However, in low concentrations, a minor decease in cellular GSH levels was followed by a two-fold increase.

GSH can be regenerated from GSSG by the enzyme glutathione reductase (GSR): NADPH reduces FAD present in GSR to produce a transient FADH-anion. This anion then quickly breaks a disulfide bond (Cys58 – Cys63) and leads to Cys63’s nucleophilically attacking the nearest sulfide unit in the GSSG molecule (promoted by His467), which creates a mixed disulfide bond (GS-Cys58) and a GS-anion. His467 of GSR then protonates the GS-anion to form the first GSH. Next, Cys63 nucleophilically attacks the sulfide of Cys58, releasing a GS-anion, which, in turn, picks up a solvent proton and is released from the enzyme, thereby creating the second GSH. So, for every GSSG and NADPH, two reduced GSH molecules are gained, which can again act as antioxidants scavenging reactive oxygen species in the cell.

In healthy cells and tissue, more than 90% of the total glutathione pool is in the reduced form (GSH) and less than 10% exists in the disulfide form (GSSG). An increased GSSG-to-GSH ratio is considered indicative of oxidative stress.

Glutathione has multiple functions

  • It is the major endogenous antioxidant produced by the cells, participating directly in the neutralization of free radicals and reactive oxygen compounds, as well as maintaining exogenous antioxidants such as vitamins C and E in their reduced (active) forms.
  • Regulation of the nitric oxide cycle is critical for life, but can be problematic if unregulated.
  • It is used in metabolic and biochemical reactions such as DNA synthesis and repair, protein synthesis, prostaglandin synthesis, amino acid transport, and enzyme activation. Thus, every system in the body can be affected by the state of the glutathione system, especially the immune system, the nervous system, the gastrointestinal system, and the lungs.
  • It has a vital function in iron metabolism. Yeast cells depleted of or containing toxic levels of GSH show an intense iron starvation-like response and impairment of the activity of extramitochondrial ISC enzymes, followed by death.

About Glutathione

23 Responses to What is Glutathione?

  1. Nathan B says:

    I’m writing my first fictional book and wondering whether it’s too short. Is 60000+ enough? If not, how many words do I need to publish a decent book.

  2. bkcjwhite says:

    Makes me want to hear more!

  3. NaturalNutrition says:

    Looks like you’re really into nutrition. Omega 3 is an important supplement. You’ve provided some good information. It’s great to see some one else really contribute. Well Done

  4. audiocreator says:

    He should be pale by now if he was taking it.

  5. onegahighbp says:

    follow me to watch the movie about high blood pressure treatment device

  6. prittiebridge says:

    i would like to ask what brand did you use? thanks

  7. GeeMichels says:

    He used the L’MAJ Beverly Hills brand. They called it Vita Pills

  8. criticknowsbest says:

    Check out this new You Tube video about Glutathione’s top product available You Tube video search : Jack Mosley Max International

  9. gt5323b says:

    Contact me directly to get your MonaVie UPS shipped to your doorstep. Local Delivery also available in LA and OC. 323-809-8697

  10. jnaoos says:

    Does all glutathione capsules have the same benefits?? is it safe to take it, even just by trying ? need to know asap..

  11. 1big1foot1 says:

    be careful. glutathion is a concern for those with low levels glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD). Health people should be careful when consuming suplements like this. just because you body needs something and it has a positive effect, doesn’t mean that more is better. so many people do more harm to their body in the long term taking things they don’t need.

  12. daddysquirrel says:

    Take “NAC” (n-acetyl-L-cysteine). Take a 500 mg capsule once or twice per day. ANY brand will do. NAC is a precursor to glutathione, and it is what EVERY alternative doctor recommends.

    Stay away from MLM/network marketing/pyramid type companies (like the one in this video). They charge outrageous prices and make ridiculous claims for products you can but at the Vitamin Shoppe for HALF the price.

    Remember: “NAC”. A company called Jarrow makes it, but any brand will do. Vitamin Shoppe.

  13. weakbody says:

    The NAC is not the only ingredient in the the glutathione accelerator. If that were the case, the scientist would not have spent years developing it and testing it to determine the right synergistic combination of ingredients. Rather, he would have just given the cancer, hiv, etc. patients straight NAC — and of course, he didn’t because that is only a small piece of the formula and functionality. Thanks for the comment.

  14. daddysquirrel says:

    I’m guessing you are a distributor in an MLM company that sells a glutathione product. If you are making money, great. But so many people get sucked into these companies just to consume the products. They don’t/can’t/don’t know how to build a downline. THESE people are getting ripped-off. A good denatured whey protein and/or NAC will do the trick. These “consumers” should NOT buy ANY products from an MLM company. Remember pycnogenol MLM companies selling pycnogenol at $50 per month? Rip-off!!

  15. daddysquirrel says:

    Correction: of course I meant “UNdenatured whey protein. And have you ever heard of Protandim? Outrageously priced, and simply a mixture of ingredients that one can buy at a fraction of the cost elsewhere. There IS a novel approach to glutathione delivery. It’s called “liposomal glutathione.” It looks “real”, and it doesn’t have the MLM hype (miracles, like the ones in those christian revival tent meetings). MLM is NOT a legitimate business model. Too many people get ripped off.

  16. daddysquirrel says:

    There is no EXACT synergistic combination of ingredients. Lipoic acid, selenium and cysteine are all known to boost glutathione. There are other compounds as well. BUT these compounds will cost you DOUBLE or TRIPLE if purchased from a network marketing company. I know. I’ve been involved with Mark Yarnell and many other MLM gurus, who then jump to another “sizzle” opportunity to build another downline. I wonder if these guys continue to take these MIRACULOUS products from their FORMER companies?

  17. jazyskowski says:

    Protandim(R) is clinically proven to increase Glutathione production 300%, in addition to increasing Catalase, SOD and almost 2 dozen other antioxident enzymes that our cells naturally produced when we were 20 years old and younger! Check out my videos for more info on this true scientific breakthrough!

  18. litebug12345 says:

    I’ve been taking Levodyn for about a year. I’ve noticed that my blood pressure has gone down and stabilized, and I no longer have to take chemicals which had negative side effects. Levodyn just makes me feel better. I have recommended this product to people and my brother is now taking it with similar positive results.

  19. islamrapesthemind says:


  20. islamrapesthemind says:


  21. ragdump says:

    That’s what I thought before I was given a box to try,it has made a differance

  22. islamrapesthemind says:

    all u need to do is take n acetyl cysteine. and u can get glutathione from vitacost

  23. aleemiles says:

    If you are taking MaxGXL you need to contact me right away. There is only one product that has the science behind it and the cost refunded by medical insurance in the US. daddysquirrel you just sound bitter with mlm and were probably useless at it and now want to bad mouth mlm.

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