Glutathione is a type of antioxidant made naturally by the human body. However, it is also available in the form of a supplement and is claimed to help treat or prevent several conditions, such as glaucoma, heart disease, and asthma. Although studies have shown that glutathione may not be well absorbed when taken by mouth, it may be effective for some uses when administered intravenously.
What Is Glutathione?Glutathione is a molecule made up of amino acids. It is naturally made by the human body, and it is also available as a dietary supplement. People claim these supplements are useful for treating and/or preventing a variety of conditions, including (but not limited to):
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Alzheimer's disease
- Parkinson's disease
- Lung diseases
- Chemotherapy toxicity.
People also claim that they are useful for slowing the aging process and for whitening the skin.
(Click Glutathione Benefits for more information on what this molecule is used for.)
How Does Glutathione Work?Glutathione works as an antioxidant, helping to prevent free radical damage to cells. It is also important for making DNA, proteins, and other substances in the body. It helps to metabolize toxins and carcinogens (cancer-causing compounds) and is important for immune function. The body can make its own glutathione in the liver, and some foods (fruits, vegetables, and meats) contain it. However, studies seem to suggest that it may not be well absorbed when taken by mouth (either as food or as a dietary supplement).