Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that has gained a lot of attention for its purported health benefits. But what is glutathione, and does it actually benefit your skin?
What is glutathione?
Glutathione is a potent antioxidant found in both plants and animals. Often called the “master antioxidant,” glutathione also boosts (recycles) other antioxidants, like vitamin C and vitamin E, as well as alpha lipoic acid and CoQ10.
Glutathione is made up of three different amino acids: glutamine, glycine, and cysteine and is present in every cell in the body. And it does some heavy lifting: it prevents and delays cell damage and death, keeps our mitochondria strong so they pump out energy and protect our DNA. While we get the most antioxidants from the foods that we eat, glutathione is produced naturally all the time in our liver and has the ability to bind itself to drugs and toxins to actually assist the liver in eliminating them. Since it is good for liver detoxification, it can help improve the overall appearance of the skin.
Glutathione is a Potent Antioxidant
Many people know the chef’s trick of sprinkling a little lemon juice over fruit to keep it from turning brown. Antioxidants are like that lemon juice. By consistently “sprinkling” your body with antioxidants like glutathione, you can prevent your body from “browning” or “oxidizing” which causes damage and aging of cells. Antioxidants are the “anti-agers” of the nutrient world, working to protect your body from free radicals, and the oxidative damage they cause.
Every time you eat, breathe, or move, your body uses fuel created from the food you eat to produce energy. But just as a car releases harmful byproducts as exhaust, so too does your own body’s energy-producing efforts produce a dangerous byproduct: free radicals.
Free radicals are highly reactive forms of oxygen that are missing an electron. When they come into contact with normal molecules, they steal an electron, damaging the healthy cell and its DNA.
In fact, some estimates show that your DNA takes 10,000 oxidative hits daily. Antioxidants work to counteract the damage caused by free radicals.
Glutathione is the “master” antioxidant, directly binding to oxidative compounds that damage cell membranes, DNA, and energy production. It directly neutralizes a wide range of oxidants, including superoxide, nitric oxide, carbon radicals, hydroperoxides, peroxynitrites, and lipid peroxides.
Glutathione offers the all-important antioxidant defense like few others can.
Glutathione for Skin Lightening
Glutathione works on the skin pigment production by inhibiting tyrosinase, an enzyme involved in making melanin.
In one study, both GSH and GSSG achieved a skin lightening effect — though it takes a few weeks to develop. The effect on pigmentation is transient, so you would need to continue using glutathione to maintain the skin-whitening effect.
A scientific review of multiple studies confirmed that the use of glutathione results in skin lightening.
Glutathione has also been shown to decrease psoriasis. The glutathione levels in this clinical trial were increased by consumption of whey protein, which contains glutamylcysteine, a precursor to GSH.
The same studies also show that glutathione doesn’t just lighten skin, but it improves skin elasticity and decreases wrinkles.
Glutathione Decreases the Signs of Aging Skin
Whether concerned with acne, wrinkles, dryness, eczema, or puffy eyes, many are seeking flawless, youthful skin. Science says that glutathione is an effective answer.
Age may make you wiser, and it certainly makes a bottle of wine more flavorful, but it doesn’t do your skin any favors. As you get older, your skin starts to break down, leading to wrinkles, fine lines, dryness, discoloration, thinness, and a lot of other icky symptoms. While aging isn’t totally avoidable, you can turn back the clock and achieve a more youthful, radiant complexion with the aid of glutathione. Glutathione has been found to decrease wrinkles and increase skin elasticity.
Glutathione is one of the world’s lesser-known anti-aging secrets. It protects the skin against oxidative damage and detoxifies the skin and body, helping to reverse acne and wrinkles. Glutathione also protects skin cells from UVA and UVB rays and plays a critical role in repairing wound tissue.
Studies show taking oral glutathione 250grams/day have positive anti-aging beneficial effects on skin properties.
Glutathione Detoxifies The Body
We’re constantly bombarded with toxins in our daily lives from cigarette smoke, household cleaners, plastic food containers, pesticides, fertilizers, pollution, prescription drugs, you name it. While it might be healthier to abandon your modern lifestyle and move to an isolated forest to subsist on foraged nuts and berries, that’s not a realistic or even desirable plan for most. One of our best defenses against the toxins in the modern world is, you guessed it—glutathione.
According to studies, glutathione has multiple detoxification functions. Glutathione binds to toxins, pulls them out of the cells, and carries them to the liver where they are processed and then excreted through the kidneys, lungs, or bowels.