Are Glutathione Supplements Safe?
Your body naturally produces Glutathione (a.k.a. GSH) from three key amino acids, i.e. cysteine, glycine, and glutamate. Glutathione is crucial for the body’s constant fight against damage from free radicals. But, are there any negative side effects? There have been over 117,000 articles written about glutathione due to the many illnesses and diseases that are associated with GSH deficiency. Research suggests that a low level of glutathione is an indication of a shorter life span.
It’s no surprise then, that so many people are interested in boosting their glutathione levels. There are a lot of options with some being effective and others being a waste of your money.
Every cell in your body produces GSH and it is critical for your immune system. It makes it easier for your body to digest drugs, helps prevent oxidative damage, aids in protein disulfide bond rearrangement, reduces peroxides, helps your leukotriene production, assists your liver in fat detoxification and helps detoxify methylglyoxal.
Glutathione additionally aids in drug resistance, promotes your T-cell function, fights cancer and protects against environmental toxins. Studies show GSH may reduce chemotherapy side effects and improve the efficiency of chemotherapy against cancer.
How to Increase Your Glutathione Levels
Supplements and specific foods can boost your GSH levels. It makes sense to be proactive and boost your glutathione levels. The best way to accomplish this is with supplements, milk thistle, whey protein, sulfur foods, N-acetyl cysteine or NAC, a-Lipoic Acid, methylation nutrients such as biotin and vitamins B6, B9 and B12, selenium, vitamins C and E and beef liver.
Glutathione Side Effects – Fact or Fiction?
You may wonder if GSH has any side effects. Keep in mind your body naturally produces GSH so it is good for your body. So the side effects are mostly good, they include anti-aging, anti-oxidation, building your immune system, energy and detoxification. You may be wishing all your medications had similar side effects at this point.
In fact, if your cells did not contain glutathione you would be dead! Glutathione is necessary for all your positive bodily functions. You can take glutathione pills or GSH in other oral forms but your digestive track will destroy the glutathione rendering it useless.
In order to produce GSH effectively your body requires either a precursor or the building blocks. The side effects are dependent on the building blocks used. The two most effective ways you can boost your GSH level are undenatured whey protein and N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC). Silymarin, L-Methionine, L-Cysteine and SAM can also be used but they are not as effective. If you have chronic health conditions or are above the age of forty you probably have a glutathione level deficiency.
N-Acetyl-Cysteine is purchased over the counter and has been used for emergency medicine for numerous years. Tylenol is the active ingredient and this is not recommended for daily use. There is an enhancer using N-acetyl-cysteine as the active ingredient. This can be taken two times each day to raise GSH levels. This should not be used if you are nursing, pregnant, allergic to mushrooms or shellfish or for children.
It is a good idea to talk to your doctor before trying to boost your GSH levels if you have any concerns or questions. The main side effects are due to the toxicity and short half-life. This included fatigue, upset stomach, skin rash and diarrhea. You need to talk to your doctor if you have bleeding issues, asthma or take blood pressure or blood thinner medication. More research is necessary to understand the effects of using NAC as a supplement.
Side Effects Using Various Glutathione Precursors and Building Blocks
Boosting your GSH level with S-Andenosyl-Methionine or SAM can cause agitation, dry mouth or gastrointestinal issues. SAM is inexpensive to manufacture but is often not a good mix with antidepressants.
The effect of L-Cysteine to raise GSH levels is negligible because it will be oxidized by your digestive track. The side effect is a toxic condition called Hypercysteinemia, which makes it useless as an antioxidant.
GSH can be raised with L-Methionine as a building block but the dosage can be toxic. This additionally presents a risk for hardening of the arteries.
Using milk thistle or Silymarin to boost your glutathione level can cause side effects including diarrhea, cramps and gas.
Nutraceutical undenatured whey protein has been studied for more than thirty years. It is capable of providing your cells with bonded cysteine so your cells can make glutathione. This should not be taken if you are allergic to milk protein. This is not the same as lactose intolerance because there is less than one percent of lactose. If you are taking immunosuppressive therapy you should talk to your doctor because this may stimulate your immune system.
This type of whey protein is called Immunocal and must be properly mixed with food or liquid to avoid cramps or gastrointestinal bloating. If you feel nauseous or sluggish you most likely have a lot of toxins in your body. Drink a lot of water and rest. This phase should be over in a few days. Your body is removing toxins from your body for detoxification.
Your body will only make as much glutathione as it needs. For this reason there has never been an Immunocal overdose reported. The bottom line is the side effects of increasing natural glutathione production within the body are enhancing your immune system, anti-oxidation, anti-aging and the most immediately obvious feeling of better health and increased energy levels.
The Side Effects and Benefits of Supplements
Excessive use of supplements can cause side effects. The main side effects concern detoxification but they are temporary. Free radicals and cell destructive toxins are always attacking your body. When you use a supplement promoting your glutathione production you can protect your body. This type of product will purify your system and help prevent your cells from aging.
The most common signs of detoxification are joint or muscle discomfort, headache, dry or sore throat and fatigue. Some people experience an overheated and feverish feeling or a mental fog. The best way to combat this is by drinking a lot of water and eating fresh foods. The dosage can also be decreased until these symptoms have passed.
Glutathione is powerful and will detoxify your body and improve your performance. As you age your body does not produce enough GSH to protect your cells. Boosting your GSH levels will help prevent cell deterioration so you can live a healthier and longer life. Your will improve your stamina, have more energy and recover faster after you exercise. There will also be less inflammation and less pain in your joints and muscles.
Once you have used GSH to detoxify you can improve your sleep patterns, strengthen your immune system and improve your mental focus and clarity. You may find your stress levels decrease once your cells have been detoxified. The cleansing of your internal organs may make you feel cold. Keep your blood flowing by remaining active and wearing warm clothing.
It is important to eat a healthy diet and exercise while boosting your GSH levels. If you start craving sugar or fat you are not giving your body enough calories. Sea salt is a good way to ensure your body receives the required levels of sodium. All these symptoms are occurring because your body is eliminating toxins and fat. This will lead to a healthier body and a lot more stamina and energy.
Stay with the process of boosting your GSH levels and you will be impressed by the final results. When you look and feel better you will be happier and lead a better life.