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Understanding what raising glutathione actually means is very important and will help you

approach the multitude of options, currently available to you, with additional knowledge.

Glutathione does not behave like many other substances we are so used to, such as vitamins or
flavonoid antioxidants, for example.

First of all, it is because your body produces glutathione intracellularly on its own; secondly,
contrary to the common belief, when it comes to glutathione, more of it (circulating in the
bloodstream) does not necessarily mean better, and raising glutathione does not mean optimizing
it. I will explain why.


The intracellular glutathione system is extremely tightly regulated. In fact, every individual cell
regulates its own glutathione production depending on its health state and the levels of oxidative
stress in or outside the cell. In fact, it is oxidative stress that serves as a trigger for increased
intracellular glutathione production.

As you may already know, glutathione is produced only intracellularly, out of three amino acid
precursors: glutamate, glycine and cysteine.

The first reaction to happen is the joining of glutamate and cysteine by the enzyme glutamate-
cysteine ligase or GCL (formerly known as gamma-glutamyl-cysteine synthetase) to form

The activity of this enzyme, and thus the glutathione synthesis, can be arrested by glutathione
itself in the process called feedback inhibition of GCL. The cell “sees” that the circulating
glutathione levels are too high, that is when the ratio of active to oxidized glutathione
(GSH/GSSG ratio) in the bloodstream is too high too, indicative of very low oxidative stress.
High GSH/GSSG ratio is, of course, very desirable to keep the redox status balanced, to protect
the extracellular environment and the red and white blood cells.

But, as I said above, it is the certain level of oxidative stress and subsequent glutathione
depletion that serve as a trigger for increased glutathione production. It is not exactly known how
much oxidative stress it would take to activate GCL and glutathione production. But a
perpetually high level of circulating glutathione and a high GSH/GSSG ratio, not in response to
oxidative stress, may throw off this tightly regulated process, because the cells may not receive
the signal to activate GCL to start producing glutathione, even in the presence of sufficient
precursors. And that may pose a problem for the cells, especially in the liver.

Liver is the organ with the highest concentration of glutathione, with the most rapid turnover of
glutathione, and the only organ that exports most of its glutathione into plasma and bile. Export
also occurs only when extracellular redox balance needs to be maintained, or if there is an
increased need for cysteine somewhere (either to make glutathione, or proteins, or amino acid
taurine, or to donate sulfur).

Liver cells have the enzyme gamma-glutamyl-transpeptidase (GGT) on their surface that breaks
down exported glutathione in the cycle called gamma-glutamyl cycle, releasing cysteine that can
be re-absorbed and used for new GSH synthesis both in the liver and in many other organs and
tissues of the body where it is carried off to.

It is not clear how much extracellular glutathione GGT can handle. Any extra free glutathione
circulating in the bloodstream, not processed by GGT, will oxidize quickly to GSSG throwing
the GSH/GSSG ratio off balance if the export of active GSH from the cells does not catch up,
and it may not, if GCL is not activated like it should be. Dysregulation of natural intracellular
glutathione synthesis in the liver would eventually have an impact on glutathione levels
throughout the body.

Intracellular processes that may get affected by suppressed GCL are detoxification of pathogens
and toxic compounds, protection of nutrients entering the cell, and most importantly proper gene
expression, protection of DNA, and the energy-producing mitochondria from toxins and
oxidative damage.

Another crucial endogenous (produced by the body) antioxidant that depends on certain levels of
oxidative stress to activate its production is superoxide dismutase (SOD) that neutralizes highly
reactive superoxide oxidants, and thus protects glutathione levels from depletion.

That said, raising glutathione should be oriented towards optimizing intracellular

production in line with the way these extremely complex and intertwined processes were
designed to function, working with the body, rather than focusing solely on flooding the
bloodstream with free glutathione which may upset the checks and balances of the natural
glutathione production.

With this in mind, when we talk about raising glutathione we should use the term
“optimizing glutathione” which is different from raising plasma glutathione levels.

As we age and lose the ability to produce glutathione in sufficient quantities to counteract the
accumulation of threats, optimizing glutathione would ideally include:

 provision of the sufficient amounts of precursor amino acids, especially cysteine, which
is the first limiting factor in GSH production (the other one being GCL).
 stimulation of the enzymes involved in glutathione production and its recycling.
 stimulation of the enzymes that are part of the glutathione detoxification/antioxidant
system, all through the proven dietary and/or supplemental means.

Armed with the building blocks, cofactors and other important enzyme stimulating
nutrients, each cell will produce its own glutathione as it was designed to, as much as the
cell needs, and at a pace tailored to its specific needs.
This feedback inhibition phenomenon actually makes a lot of sense. Imagine if a group of cells
or even one particular organ decided to produce a thousand times more glutathione than it needs.
The limited amino acid, vitamin and nutrient resources will run out leaving other cells and
organs in grave danger of malnutrition and glutathione depletion.

Return to How To Raise Glutathione – pros and cons of most known options for raising
glutathione (and I should add - optimizing glutathione).


1. Regulation of gamma-glutamyl-cysteine synthetase by nonallosteric feedback inhibition by

glutathione. Richman PG, Meister A. J Biol Chem. 1975 Feb 25;250(4):1422-6.

2. Cornell University. Division of Nutritional Sciences.

3. Glutathione synthesis. Lu SC. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013 May; 1830(5): 3143–3153.

4. "Glutathione (GSH). Your Body's Most Powerful Protector" by Dr. Jimmy Gutman.

5. "Breakthrough In Cell-Defense" by Dr. Allan Somersall, with Dr. Gustavo Bounous.

fter my husband and I learned about glutathione (GSH) the next logical question was how to
raise glutathione levels, and most importantly how to do it safely, naturally and with long-term
effect. What we learned has benefited our health and our family greatly. Wisdom comes from
answers, and answers are only obtained by asking questions, so ask lots of questions. The better
the question, the greater the wisdom gained from the answer. When you have found the answer
to how to raise Glutathione, you will have gained some invaluable wisdom into how to live a
healthier life.

People who are in good health can benefit from raising glutathione, too. These days we are
exposed as never before to environmental toxins and newly emerging drug-resistant bacteria.
When people lose healthcare benefits and disease prevention becomes urgent, it is essential to
learn how to raise glutathione effectively. The more we learn how to raise glutathione and
implement what we learn, the fewer visits we make to the doctor and the more control we take
over our health.

It took time and a lot of questions before my husband and I both understood that glutathione was
the hope and the answer that doctors could not give us. Once we realized this, it was time to find
out how to raise glutathione levels. What we learned on our journey is presented on this page.
So, let's get started.
Before you proceed with exploring all the options below, read our page Raising glutathione:
what does it mean exactly?

Substances promoting glutathione production can be divided into three categories: natural
products, cofactors of glutathione production and pharmaceutical drugs.


Oral Glutathione - if our bodies depend on glutathione for so many important protective
functions, what can be easier than eating it? But before you run to a health food store you should
know that most of the research done with it shows that oral Glutathione breaks down and
oxidizes in the digestive system and only some of it reaches the cells. One study showed an
increase in plasma GSH after administering dietary glutathione to rats with chemically inhibited
glutathione synthesis; however, no increase in liver was observed where it is most needed since
liver is the largest and most important detoxifying organ.

Before 2013 all studies with oral glutathione showed that the bioavailability
(usefulness) of this supplement is very low, and in this form it cannot seriously affect
immune health.

Read the abstracts of the older studies confirming ineffectiveness of raising Glutathione
with oral or dietary GSH.

In a more recent 2011 study “Effects of oral glutathione supplementation on systemic oxidative
stress biomarkers in human volunteers” published in the Journal of Alternative and
Complementary Medicine researchers from Bastyr University Research Institute, Kenmore, WA,
examined the effect of oral glutathione supplementation on biomarkers of systemic oxidative
stress in 40 healthy adult volunteers. This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled
clinical trial. There were no differences in oxidative stress biomarkers between treatment groups
at baseline. One group of volunteers took 500 mg of oral glutathione supplement twice daily for
4 weeks, another group received placebo. At the end of the study total reduced glutathione
(GSH), oxidized glutathione (GSSG), and the ratio of GSH to GSSG (indicator of oxidative
stress) remained unchanged in both groups compared to the results obtained before
supplementation. It was concluded that no significant changes were observed in biomarkers of
oxidative stress, including glutathione status, in this clinical trial of oral glutathione
supplementation in healthy adults.
UPDATE on oral GSH: A very recent study (2013) with 54 healthy adults registered for the first
time a 30-35% increase in GSH levels after 6 months of supplementing with oral glutathione at
1,000mg/day - the same dose as what was used in the 2011 study above, only for a longer period
of time. The GSH levels returned back to baseline one month after the end of the trial
("Enhanced Glutathione Levels in Blood and Buccal Cells by Oral Glutathione
Supplementation".Richie JP, Nichenametla S et al. The FASEB Journal. April 2013;27:862.32).
These new results with oral GSH do sound interesting, however one of the concerns is that
people with health issues that require immediate attention cannot wait six months for their
glutathione levels to go up. And will the oral GSH brands other than the one used in this isolated
study (Setria) produce the same results?

More human trials with oral glutathione are needed to duplicate these results and
completely resolve the controversy surrounding this form of glutathione supplementation.

For more details on oral GSH, additional comments on this latest 2013 study and other updates
on the oral glutathione research visit our page Oral Glutathione.

Additional information on the safety of oral glutathione - Glutathione Side Effects.

Liposomal (lipoceutical) glutathione – this form of oral glutathione differs from GSH in pill
form. In this case GSH molecule is encapsulated in water inside a fat ball that is so small that it
cannot be seen with a naked eye. The digestive system is “tricked” into interpreting it as a fat cell
and does not digest and break it down as it would do with GSH pills, thus allowing it to enter the
bloodstream. There are studies on cell culture (in a tube) and rodents proving that liposomal
glutathione is in fact effective in maintaining GSH levels under the conditions of exposure to
dangerous toxins or induced disease. Cell culture studies cannot be applied to human physiology,
and rodents also absorb oral GSH pills quite well, so no wonder they would absorb liposomal
GSH. One study on humans - with autistic children - showed that the oral liposomal group
(compared to the transdermal group) exhibited increases in plasma reduced glutathione, but not
whole-blood glutathione levels following supplementation; both groups also showed increases in
plasma sulfate and cysteine which was attributed to the actual breakdown of glutathione (A
clinical trial of glutathione supplementation in autism spectrum disorders. Kern JK et al. Med
Sci Monit. 2011 Dec;17(12):CR677-82). Another problem with this method of raising GSH is
determining which brand will work since they all lack specific human trials and base
advertising on general tube/rodent research only. Secondly, liposomes degrade quickly,
within a few months of the date of manufacture. A product that has not been made a couple of
weeks prior to the purchase may not be effective. And lastly, liposomes are usually made out of
soy lecithin raising the question of safety since almost all soy is GMO nowadays, and also there
may be an allergy concern for some people. The only brand I am aware of that uses sunflower
lecithin instead of soy and claims to be non-GMO is Optimal Liposomal Glutathione by Seeking
Health /affiliate link/. If you're planning to give liposomal GSH a try I would recommend this

Foods - Cyanohydroxybutene and sulforaphane, phytochemicals found in

broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, and chrolophyll in
parsley contribute to raising Glutathione levels. Some spices - for instance, turmeric, cinnamon
and cardamom - have compounds that can assist in restoring healthy levels of GSH and boost the
activity of GSH enzymes. Beets have been shown to positively affect the activity of GSH
enzymes as well. However, research on these phytochemical compounds' role in Glutathione
production is limited to animal studies and cell culture studies. Glutathione molecule is present
in fruit, vegetables and meats. But most of the dietary Glutathione, just like oral Glutathione
supplements, gets broken down in the digestive tract and cannot effectively raise cellular
glutathione levels. Although including foods with high glutathione content into your diet is of
course beneficial. For more information about foods with glutathione visit our page Glutathione
Foods. For more information on broccoli phytochemicals visit our page Health Benefits of

Methionine – an essential amino acid present in many foods and required for production of
cysteine which is one of the three building blocks for Glutathione. Methionine is available from
health food stores, too. Of great concern is the fact that methionine is also a precursor of
homocysteine identified as a high risk factor in atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries).

Lipoic acid (alpha lipoic acid) - a disulfide compound with several functions: it acts as an
antioxidant, it neutralizes several toxins including heavy metals lead and cadmium, it acts as a
co-enzyme for recycling other antioxidants including Glutathione and also vitamins C and E.
Lipoic acid is produced in the body but also available as a supplement. It plays an important role
in converting Glutathione back and forth from its oxidized form to its reduced or non-oxidized
form (GSH). This ability of lipoic acid to enhance Glutathione function leads to improved levels
of GSH in cases of Glutathione deficiencies – most known diseases show Glutathione
deficiencies especially in their chronic state. Recommended dosages of supplemental lipoic acid
are 100 to 200 mg/day.

Glutamine - free amino acid found in the body in abundance. It is common in blood, muscles
and the brain. Glutamine is very closely related to glutamic acid (glutamate) – second most
important Glutathione precursor after cysteine. Glutamine and glutamate have the ability to
metabolize into one another which means glutamine supplies the body with glutamate – that is an
important function. The studies have shown that when taken orally or intravenously glutamine
raises glutathione concentrations. Glutamine is crucial to the metabolism and maintenance of
muscles. It serves as a primary nutrient for the cells of the GI tract lining; supports liver
metabolism and function; can boost the immune system – all due to its ability to promote
Glutathione production. One study led by Dr. Rouse of University of Arkansas showed that
glutamine as a supplement was able to lower glutathione levels in tumors making them more
susceptible to chemotherapy while raising glutathione in healthy cells making them more
resistant to such harsh cancer treatments. Glutamine is abundant in plants and meats but gets
easily destroyed by cooking. Good sources are fresh parsley, spinach and sushi with uncooked
fish (make sure the restaurant is reputable and serves quality fish). Glutamine supplements vary
in dosages from 500 mg to 5,000 mg. They come in pill or powder form, and are often labeled
"L-glutamine". Supplemental glutamine can lead to gastrointestinal side effects. Elderly and
patients with kidney and liver diseases should be very cautious when taking this supplement.
Supplemental glutamine can also become excitotoxic if converted to MSG in the body. The use
of supplemental glutamine, especially long-term, should be monitored by a doctor.
Melatonin – a hormone known to regulate sleep and waking cycles,
produced by the pineal gland in the brain. Melatonin is released into the
blood at night time and its production is affected greatly by light. Melatonin is also a powerful
antioxidant and plays a role in stimulating other antioxidants as well. Melatonin has been
shown to effectively raise GSH levels in many tissues including those of the brain, liver,
muscle and blood serum. The only known viable natural source of melatonin is sour (tart)
cherries, especially the Montmorency variety, which contain substantial amounts of melatonin,
enough to produce a positive effect in the body and without any side effects unlike the synthetic

Milk Thistle - a plant used by herbalists for many centuries to treat various liver disorders as it
seems to stimulate the growth and regeneration of injured liver cells. The active component of
milk thistle called silymarin prevents lipid peroxidation of GSH and maintains its levels.
Recommended dosages vary quite a bit from 50 to 500 milligrams three times a day. Toxic
reactions can develop with overdose: cramps, gas and diarrhea. Milk thistle should not be used
without a professional medical advice.

Cysteine - an amino acid that is required for the production of Glutathione directly in the cells -
that's where Glutathione is most needed and produced by the body itself. Cysteine is usually the
limiting factor in the production of Glutathione because of its shortages. Cysteine can be found at
health food stores as a supplement but consumed this way it can promote hypercysteinemia
(homocysteinemia) and potential toxicity. It is also present in many fruits, vegetables, meats and
eggs bonded with other amino acids to form proteins, however, it gets destroyed by cooking.
Most cysteine from raw produce does not survive the trip from the stomach to cells either. The
cysteine that does survive is quickly eaten up by the bacteria in our intestinal tract - all living
organisms use cysteine, so it is useful in that it helps our flora to stay healthy.

MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) - this naturally occurring compound is a donor of organic

sulfur, a non-metal mineral present in all our cells and essential to life. Most of the sulfur in
human bodies is in the form of sulfur-containing amino acids cysteine and methionine; however,
MSM acts as a source of additional sulfur for numerous processes in the body and plays an
important role in sulfur metabolism. Sulfur is needed for manufacturing of alpha-lipoic acid and
vitamin B1, both are important glutathione cofactors. MSM has been shown to promote the
synthesis of glutathione and to upregulate the activity of glutathione enzymes in the presence of
elevated oxidative stress in animal studies. One human trial showed considerably higher plasma
glutathione levels in MSM supplemented group after strenuous exercise.

Raw milk (raw dairy) - this option of how to raise Glutathione belongs in the food category.
But the uniqueness of this food deserves special attention. Raw milk whey contains powerful
Glutathione precursors - lactoferrin, beta-lactalbumin and serum albumin. They are very easily
denatured by heat and mechanical stress during pasteurization and homogenization of milk. After
digestion the products of these compounds' breakdown pass readily into the bloodstream, serving
as cysteine and cysteine delivery systems, thus enabling cysteine to get into the cells for
Glutathione production. This is how our ancestors used to get their cysteine from diet before
pasteurization became mandatory. How to raise Glutathione with raw milk? There are three
problems: first, you have to have free access to a raw dairy farm; second, you have to be sure the
farm delivers safe raw milk free of pathogens; third, to raise Glutathione levels noticeably you
will have to drink at least 2 gallons of raw milk a day which is impossible to do. But adding raw
milk to the diet is still a good idea: you do get some bioavailable cysteine this way, just not in
sufficient quantities. Raw milk is also a very good food source of MSM

Find a raw milk dairy in your area.

Undenatured whey proteins - not all whey proteins are made in the same way. Whey proteins
that are manufactured from raw milk using the process of cold filtration and segmentation
(removal from other agents in milk) leave the final product undenatured or unaltered. As a result,
a cysteine molecule is actually double bonded with another cysteine molecule and is now called
cystine (note the difference in spelling). Cystine in this manner is resistant to stomach acid
breakdown and freely flows across the intestinal wall into the blood. Cystine enters the cells and
separates into two cysteine molecules - exactly where we want it to be. Another molecule present
in undenatured whey protein is glutamylcysteine which is glutamate and cysteine already joined
together - the first step in the formation of a glutathione molecule. Undenatured whey proteins
preserve the original bioactivity of cysteine and glutamylcysteine guaranteeing the highest level
of Glutathione promoting activity.

This unique quality of undenatured whey proteins was discovered as a result of research done by
Dr. Gustavo Bounous at the McGill University in Montreal, Canada, in the early 1980s. He
investigated undenatured proteins’ effect on the immune system and published very exciting

Dr. Bounous and his team went on to develop Immunocal – an

undenatured whey protein rich in bonded cysteine made under
conditions to maximize the protein’s bioactivity. It actually takes 1 gallon of raw milk to produce
one pouch of Immunocal.

Immunocal has received patents for its immuno-sustaining and glutathione-enhancing effects.
This natural supplement is a safe dependable way to raise and sustain Glutathione levels.

There are many reasons why I believe Immunocal is the best answer to how to raise Glutathione
levels. Here are a few of them:

 Immunocal is one of very few natural products listed in the Physicians’ Desk Reference
(PDR) and the Pharmacist’s Red Book - both being pharmaceutical drug references for
doctors and pharmacists;

 it is patented in the U.S. as an anti-cancer therapeutic composition;

 it is clinically proven to raise intracellular Glutathione levels by 35.5% safely and

naturally and maintain these levels;

 it is classified by the FDA as "GRAS" (generally regarded as safe) and has no adverse
side effects;

 it is one of the very few natural products that is safe for infants 10 lb. and up (not too
many foods and products are out there that can be given to newborn babies);

 and most importantly, it made a tremendous difference in managing Ray's pain and
numbness from his peripheral neuropathy, and in increasing his energy levels to where he
could resume working full days in the office again without passing out from exhaustion.
Between August 2011 and April 2012 he has been away on business trips for 10 to 14
days a month, every month. Our search for how to raise Glutathione effectively and
naturally has not ended with the discovery of Immunocal, but to date nothing we have
researched has surpassed the benefits and safety of Immunocal.

This amount of evidence is convincing enough for me to make the statement that
Immunocal is the safest and most researched product on the market for raising glutathione
levels naturally by promoting the body's own glutathione production.

Colostrum – is the liquid secreted by the milk glands of all mammals just before giving birth
and during the first hours (up to one day) after giving birth before milk comes in. Out of the
group of bonded cysteine and glutamylcysteine rich proteins found in whey (alpha-lactalbumin,
beta-lactoglobulin, serum albumin, lactoferrin and immunoglobulins) colostrum contains only
lactoferrin and immunoglobulins. There are neither animal nor human trials proving specifically
that colostrum raises glutathione levels at a certain established dose. Polypeptides derived from
colostrum (but not colostrum itself) have been shown to improve glutathione metabolism in
isolated cells (test tube studies) via modulation of intracellular levels of reactive oxygen species
(ROS), slow down aging in animals, and show some stabilizing effect in Alzheimer’s patients
(Colostrinin: an oxidative stress modulator for prevention and treatment of age-related
disorders. Boldogh I, Kruzel ML. J Alzheimers Dis. 2008 Apr;13(3):303-21.). While colostrum
does not optimize glutathione levels significantly it can be of benefit due to its many other health
promoting substances that stimulate the activation of the immune system and prevent its
overreaction, prevent attachment of microorganisms to the lining of the GI tract, participate in
the regeneration of various types of tissues, assist in the absorption of vitamins and minerals, etc.
These substances are divided into several categories: immuno-regulating substances, gut
protecting substances, the growth factors and the metabolic factors. High quality low-heat
processed colostrum that preserves fragile proteins may be a useful accompanying supplement in
a GSH raising protocol.


Vitamins - in one trial, blood GSH levels rose nearly 50% in healthy people taking 500 mg
of vitamin C per day for only two weeks. Vitamin C raises Glutathione by helping the body
manufacture it.

Vitamin E acts in a similar way as vitamin C - it recycles Glutathione and depends on it for
proper function and recycling as well.

Vitamins B6, B12, B1 and B2 are also required in the synthesis of Glutathione. B1 and B2
maintain Glutathione and its related enzymes in their active forms. B2 helps combine amino
acids into proteins, and Glutathione is one of them. B6 is crucial for the metabolism and proper
function of many amino acids, for example, for converting homocysteine into cysteine. B12 acts
as a coenzyme in the production and regulation of red blood cells.

Folate or folic acid (known as B9) - its role as Glutathione booster lies in folate’s ability to divert
cysteine preferentially towards Glutathione production rather than homocysteine production, thus
helping supply the cells with more cysteine for building intracellular Glutathione. Maximum
recommended dosage of folate is 400 mcg/day. Best dietary sources are spinach, turnip greens,
lettuce, dried beans and peas, sunflower seeds, peanuts, avocado, asparagus, fortified pastas and
cereals. When cooking veggies they should be steamed instead of boiled – less folate leaches into
the water this way.

Selenium - the trace element that functions as an antioxidant. It also participates in protein
synthesis and other metabolic processes and acts together with other antioxidants, especially
vitamin E. Selenium elevates the levels of glutathione peroxidase; the cysteine molecule
appearing in the process of digestion of plants grown in selenium-rich soil contributes to GSH
production. Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for adults is 55 mcg. Best dietary sources are
Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, oatmeal, tuna, turkey, chicken breast, beef, eggs and brown rice.

Magnesium - magnesium is necessary for proper functioning of enzyme gamma glutamyl

transpeptidase which is important in the synthesis of Glutathione. RDI is 400 mg, but optimum
daily intake is considered at 490- 700 mg. Best dietary sources are halibut, spinach, squash,
pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, toasted sesame seeds, beans, walnuts, almonds, peanuts and
Brazil nuts.

Zinc - zinc deficiency leads to low concentrations of reduced (non-oxidized) Glutathione,

especially in red blood cells. This is detrimental to Glutathione metabolism. However, high
levels of zinc may reduce Glutathione because zinc has a certain toxicity. RDI for adults is 8-11
mg. Best dietary sources are oysters, beef shanks, chicken legs, pork shoulder and tenderloin,
and Alaskan King crab. Zinc from beans, legumes and grains has very low bioavailability
compared to meat sources.

Vanadium - this element depends on Glutathione to stay in non-oxidized state and to increase
vanadium’s bioavailability. It may recycle Glutathione under certain conditions. Vanadium is not
considered a crucial cofactor and at high levels it may even deplete glutathione due to its
toxicity. Vanadium’s role in health has not been studied very well, so there is no RDA
established. Average diet provides 6-18 mcg a day. Safe upper limit is 1.8 mg (1,800 mcg).
Dietary sources are: mushrooms, shellfish, dill, parsley and black pepper.

Adequate amounts of vitamins C, E, B1, B2, B6, B12, folate, selenium, magnesium and zinc,
either from diet or with additional supplementation, are necessary for raising Glutathione levels.


Intravenous (IV) glutathione – this method of glutathione administration belongs in the

drugs category because it is a pharmaceutical formulation and can be administered only at a
hospital, clinic or a doctor’s office. This method is reserved exclusively for the cases of severe
glutathione deficiency, such as during cancer treatments, HIV/AIDS treatments, in deficiencies
arising from a person’s inability to efficiently produce glutathione on his/her own due to genetic
mutations, or other causes. Glutathione IV has an extremely short half-life in bloodstream – only
an average of 14 minutes. Degradation of IV glutathione administered at a dose of 2,000 mg (2
g) does lead to the accumulation of cysteine that becomes available to cells. At the same time
urinary excretion of glutathione and cysteine increase 300- and 10-fold respectively 90 minutes
after administration. (High-dose intravenous glutathione in man. Pharmacokinetics and effects
on cyst(e)ine in plasma and urine. Aebi S, Assereto R et al. Eur J Clin Invest. 1991
Feb;21(1):103-10). Depending on the medical condition, IVs need to be administered regularly -
daily or weekly.

NAC – N-acetyl-cysteine - is a potent glutathione precursor that is the most commonly used
GSH boosting agent in studies on both animals and humans because it is readily available, cheap
and acts fast. It has been available as a drug (Mucomist, Parvolex etc.) and also can be found on
the shelves of health food stores marketed as a glutathione booster.

Some people taking NAC report rash, wheezing, nausea, vomiting, cramps and diarrhea. NAC is
also widely used in hospital emergency rooms, usually intravenously, on patients suffering from
severe acetaminophen toxicity due to Tylenol overdose in order to quickly spike their glutathione
levels and save their lives. These measures often lead to above-mentioned side effects,
sometimes resulting in death from complications if there are underlying health conditions such as

Also, raising GSH levels with NAC has only temporary effect lasting mere hours which requires
taking it often to maintain glutathione throughout the day which is hard on the body. With NAC
the rapidly increased glutathione levels often drop below the normal levels.

A recent randomized and placebo-controlled study (2013) linked NAC supplements with
hindered muscle performance and increased recovery time for several days after athletic exercise
(Thiol-based antioxidant supplementation alters human skeletal muscle signaling and attenuates
its inflammatory response and recovery after intense eccentric exercise. Michailidis Y. et al.
Am. J Clin Nutr. 2013 Jul;98(1):233-45. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.049163. Epub 2013 May 29.).

My advice is to stay away from NAC supplements or any supplements containing NAC as
an ingredient.

SAMe – S-adenosyl-methionine - is a form of methionine already partially converted into

cysteine, it can be useful in the treatment of cirrhosis and cholestasis and is becoming popular as
a mood stabilizing medication. Although available as a supplement in the US, SAMe is a drug
and cannot be used as a safe and natural method of raising glutathione.

OTC & OTZ – these are synthetic cysteine delivery systems. These drugs are not readily
available to doctors or the general public.


Glutathione is depleted by a very large number of substances. Some can be avoided, some
cannot. Understanding what depletes Glutathione and reducing your exposure to these
"offenders" makes your efforts in raising Glutathione levels more effective.

Knowing how to raise Glutathione is very important, but it is also wise to know what depletes

Some of the most important points of this research are:

 Elevated levels of glutathione promote long healthy lives that are more resistant to
diseases. All clinical studies reviewed showed that raising glutathione to its optimal
levels is of great benefit to the human body.

 While there are many options of how to raise Glutathione, the most effective, with hardly
any side effects, appear to be undenatured whey protein with bonded cysteine
(Immunocal as the only one with the proven efficacy in humans), melatonin in its natural
state in tart cherry concentrate, alpha lipoic acid, milk thistle and MSM.

 Immunocal supplies cysteine - the most essential of the three glutathione precursors; it
also maintains elevated glutathione levels, while natural melatonin, alpha lipoic acid,
MSM and milk thistle act more as enhancers of glutathione synthesis and function.

 Glutamine can be converted into glutamate, the second most important glutathione
precursor, and thus it plays a significant role in glutathione metabolism.
 High quality undenatured colostrum may be a beneficial accompanying supplement in a
GSH raising protocol

 All cofactors of glutathione production (vitamins C and E, B1, B2, B6, B12, folate (B9),
selenium, magnesium and zinc) are necessary in sufficient quantities. Their deficiencies
are detrimental to glutathione metabolism.

 It is just as important to know how not to deplete glutathione as it is to know how to raise
Hopefully, you now have some answers to the question of how to raise glutathione. Specifically,
you should have some answers on how to raise glutathione levels with natural products, with
cofactors and with drugs, and also pros and cons of each of these options. You should have also
gained some wisdom concerning how to raise glutathione, and wisdom is more valuable than