Is it OK to take Glutathione Orally?


Glutathione is known as the master antioxdant. Glutathione plays an important role in protecting cells and tissue from oxidants and other toxins and supports a healthy immune response.

Glutathione levels have been shown to decrease with age. It has been theorized that decreasing plasma glutathione could contribute to the aging process and the occurrence of aging-related conditions. Conditions which have been associated with glutathione depletion include neurodegenerative diseases, pulmonary diseases, liver diseases, immune disorders, and cardiovascular diseases.

This has prompted some to seek glutathione supplementation as a potential way to prevent these conditions.

Oral Glutathione:

There is a popular belief that glutathione is ineffective when taken orally, due to it being broken down by the digestive system. “Researchers suggest that GSH is poorly absorbed by oral route mainly due to the action of an intestinal enzyme, the γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) which degrades GSH”[1]. A belief that was tested in a study of various methods of glutathione administration.

Study Finds Superior Delivery System

Volunteers in the study were assigned to take oral glutathione (GSH), oral N-acetylcysteine (NAC) – a known precursor to glutathione, or sublingual GSH. In addition to measuring glutathione levels in each group, other biomarkers of oxidative stress were also measured to show the other impacts of supplementation.

“Compared to the oral GSH group, an increase of total and reduced GSH levels in plasma was observed in the sublingual GSH group” [1]. The results of the sublingual glutathione group also showed that total triglycerides and total cholesterol had decreased. Although not statistically significant, this is not something that was observed in the other groups.

“Overall, our results demonstrate the significant superiority of a new sublingual form of GSH over the oral form, both in terms of bioavailability and positive effects on oxidative stress. Compared to NAC, better effects of the sublingual form of GSH were also observed” [1].


1. Schmitt, B., Vicenzi, M., Garrel, C., & Denis, F. M. (2015). Effects of N-acetylcysteine, oral glutathione (GSH) and a novel sublingual form of GSH on oxidative stress markers: A comparative crossover study. Redox biology6, 198–205. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.redox.2015.07.012

Taylor Froiland is the president of Legere Pharmaceuticals in Scottsdale, Arizona and serves on the Board of Directors for RK Logistics Group. He also owns and operates Medmetrics Compounding Pharmacy in Chandler, Arizona, specializing in various pharmaceutical services. Taylor holds a PharmD and has expertise in compounding, medicinal chemistry, and quality control.
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