Glutathione

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What other names is Glutathione known by?

Gamma-Glutamylcysteinylglycine, Gamma-L-Glutamyl-L-Cysteinylglycine, Gamma-L-Glutamyl-L-Cystéinylglycine, Glutathion, Glutatión, L-Gamma-Glutamyl-L-Cysteinyl-Glycine, L-Gamma-Glutamyl-L-Cystéinyl-Glycine, L-Glutathion, L-Glutathione, GSH, N-(N-L-gamma-Glutamyl-L-cysteinyl)glycine.

What is Glutathione?

Glutathione is a substance made from the amino acids glycine, cysteine, and glutamic acid. It is produced naturally by the liver and involved in many processes in the body, including tissue building and repair, making chemicals and proteins needed in the body, and for the immune system.

People take glutathione by mouth for treating cataracts and glaucoma, preventing aging, treating or preventing alcoholism, asthma, cancer, heart disease (atherosclerosis and high cholesterol), hepatitis, liver disease, diseases that weaken the body's defense system (including AIDS and chronic fatigue syndrome), memory loss, Alzheimer's disease, osteoarthritis, and Parkinson's disease. Glutathione is also used for maintaining the body's defense system (immune system) and fighting metal and drug poisoning.

Glutathione is breathed in (inhaled) for treating lung diseases, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and lung disease in people with HIV disease.

Healthcare providers give glutathione as a shot (by injection into the muscle) for preventing poisonous side effects of cancer treatment (chemotherapy) and for treating the inability to father a child (male infertility).

Healthcare providers also give glutathione intravenously (by injection into the vein, by IV) for preventing "tired blood" (anemia) in kidney patients undergoing hemodialysis treatment, preventing kidney problems after heart bypass surgery, treating Parkinson's disease, improving blood flow and decreasing clotting in individuals with "hardening of the arteries" (atherosclerosis), treating diabetes, and preventing toxic side effects of chemotherapy.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Chemotherapy side effects. Administering glutathione intravenously (by IV) seems to help prevent chemotherapy side effects.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate glutathione for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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How does Glutathione work?

Glutathione is involved in many processes in the body, including tissue building and repair, making chemicals and proteins needed in the body, and for the immune system.

Are there safety concerns?

Glutathione is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth, by inhalation, or by injection into the muscle or into the veins. There isn't a lot of information available about the possible side effects of glutathione. It might cause rash when applied to the skin, or irritability in children when taken by mouth or applied to the skin.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking glutathione if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Asthma: Do not inhale glutathione if you have asthma. It can increase some asthma symptoms.

Dosing considerations for Glutathione.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY INJECTION INTO THE VEIN OR MUSCLE:
  • For chemotherapy side effects: Doses of 1.5 to 3 grams/m² of glutathione have been given in a 15-20 minute time period right before chemotherapy treatments. Also, 1.5 grams/m² of glutathione has been given over 15 minutes prior to chemotherapy plus 600 mg of glutathione injected into the muscle on days 2 to 5.
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Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

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