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Glutathione Boosters

Glutathione (GSH) is a tripeptide antioxidant that helps protect cells from free radicals & peroxides. It is found almost exclusively in the reduced form, since the enzyme that reverts it from the oxidized form (glutathione reductase) is active & becomes induced upon oxidative stress. Cellular toxicity is often measured by the ratio of reduced glutathione (GSH) to oxidized glutathione (GSSG). This means that the more reduced glutathione that is present in the body, the higher the oxidative stress.

Glutathione is not an essential nutrient & it is synthesized in the body from the amino acids L-Cysteine, L-Glutamic Acid & Glycine. Since Cysteine is not found in high levels in food, the synthesis of glutathione by the cells is limited. (Essential nutrients are those that must be obtained from food & are not produced in the body.) The most important synthesis of glutathione takes place in the liver.

Glutathione has many functions, of which a few are: 

  •         Neutralizing free radicals & reactive oxygen compounds, while maintaining antioxidants like vitamin C & E in their active forms
  •          It can detoxify foreign compounds (xenobiotics) & carcinogens
  •          It is essential for full immune system function
  •        It plays a major role in DNA synthesis & repair, protein synthesis, amino acid transport & enzyme activation. Every system in the body is affected by the state of the glutathione system, especially the immune system, the nervous system, the gastrointestinal system & the lungs.          

Oral supplementation with glutathione is ineffective because it is not well absorbed across the GI tract.

SAMe will raise plasma & liver glutathione concentrations, but supplement costs might deter this route. N-acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) has been shown to raise glutathione levels within the cells & is the primary supplement used for glutathione boosting. Alpha Lipoic Acid also has been shown to restore intercellular glutathione, along with milk thistle.

So, based on what we know about Glutathione, what supplements are available & used to boost Glutathione in the body? The primary supplements are:

  •         NAC (N-acetyl-Cysteine) – derived from L-Cysteine & is considered the active form. Best cost
  •          Hydrolyzed Whey – a specialized form with a high potential to raise Glutathione (Thorne Research)
  •          L-Cysteine – limited use by itself. Better in combo with L-Glutamic Acid & Glycine        
  •          Glutathione Blends (amino acid combinations of l-Cysteine, l-Glutamic Acid & Glycine) – limited use
  •         Pycnogenol (50-60 mg taken twice a day) – a botanical with glutathione raising properties
  •          Miscellaneous Support – Alpha Lipoic Acid & SamE also seem to enhance Glutathione

In reviewing the product catalogs from companies that formulate supplements exclusively for physicians & medical centers, the main supplement for boosting glutathione is NAC. Studies on using NAC have focused on doses of 400-600 mg twice a day & most companies produce supplements in the range of 500-900 mg per tab/cap.  You will see from the products below that NAC sells for between $.25-.51 per 1,000 mg

 TOTAL HEALTH stocks the following products for Glutathione Boosting:

  • PURE – NAC (600mg) - 90 or 180 cap size ($27.70 & $47.50).         Cost per 1,000mg of NAC is $.44 - $.51
  • Jarrow Formulas - NAC Sustain (600 mg) - 100 tab size ($25.95).   Cost per 1,000mg of NAC is $.43
  • PURE – NAC (900mg) – 120 or 240 cap size ($41.00 & $71.10).         Cost per 1,000mg of NAC is $.33 - $.38
  • Protocol for Life Balance - NAC  (1,000mg) - 120 tabs size ($30).    Cost per 1,000mg of NAC is $.25


It could be beneficial to add Alpha Lipoic Acid, or Milk Thistle (liver support) to your NAC regimen & various strengths are available as individual supplements. Combo formulas like LIVERX (60 vcaps @ 29.95) contain 60 servings of NAC (400mg) with 100 mg of Alpha Lipoic & BioSorb Silymarin at a cost of $1.25 per 1,000mg NAC. In comparison, MaxGXL (sold thru MLM) has 56 servings @ 375mg NAC at a cost of $3.29 per 1,000mg NAC.


To order or for additional information, call Jeff at (919) 781-9994 or jeff@totalhealthnutritioncenter.com

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any products mentioned above are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.