Your body relies on it for life, it’s found in every mammal, even some fungi and bacteria. It’s prolific and life sustaining nature proves it’s importance.
Unfortunately you might be low in Glutathione or suffer inflammation and a poor GSH/GSSG ratio, and so you supplement.
There is a lot of confusion about GSH and what makes an effective glutathione supplement. There are different types, different formulas, and a lot of different companies saying different things. So lets cut through the balogna and discuss the different types of glutathione available today.
L-Glutathione (AKA: Reduced Glutathione)
We start our list with L-Glutathione or Reduced Glutathione because it is the most commonly found, least expensive, and the true core behind other forms you will find.
So the reality is anytime you see “Glutathione” it will be reduced or l-glutathione which means it has an extra electron and is ready to neutralize free radicals. As the GSH molecules in your body bind to reactive oxygen species or ‘oxidize’ they end up as GSSG. You are looking to maintain a good (90% or better) balance of GSH to GSSG within your body.
There is some debate whether L-Glutathione alone can be effective taken orally. The theory being the enzymes in your stomach break it down before it can ever reach the blood stream and become useful. Some recent evidence suggests using newer technology and measurement technique that reduced glutathione will actually be absorbed.
Touted as the first way to orally absorb GSH besides eating foods with Glutathione.
The basic concept is to surround one molecule in a protective barrier made of a fat that keeps it safe in transport through the stomach lining and into the blood stream.
The fat in this instance is known as a phospholipid and create a natural sort of cell wall when arranged in a double layered sphere. This technique is used in other medical technologies like vaccines. and should prove an effective way to protect the sensitive glutathione molecule.
This form can cause some confusion because the supplemental facts on products that market themselves as Liposomal may actually say “L-Glutathione” or “Reduced Glutathione”. If it advertises itself as Liposomal Glutathione, it no doubt is, and what you’ll find is that it will be paired with Phosphatidylcholine, which creates the protective lipid layer.
Adding an acetyl function group to an existing molecule is something that has been done in medicine for many years. In fact “acetyl” is the difference between heroine and morphine. You have probably used an acetylated product in the form of acetysylic acid… or aspirin.
The concept is the acetyl function group makes the molecule more stable and enhances delivery through the blood stream including to the brain.
Unfortunately there are very few studies regarding acetyl-glutathione but the science behind it is strong, and anecdotal evidence would suggest this is the best glutathione form currently in supplements. It also tends to come at a higher price due to a more complicated production.
Glutathione has been around since life began, effects of GSH deficiency began being acknowledged since the 1920’s, but an effective way to supplement it is a relatively new endeavor.
Initially the only alternative to direct intravenous glutathione, was to eat foods that enhance glutathione. Technically a glutathione pre-cursor, whey protein get it’s own category because it’s so significant as one of the first and best ways to promote glutathione production in your body.
Only a few years ago, the only reliable and simple way to boost GSH was to consume a good quality non-denatured whey protein powder.
Cysteine tends to be the limiting factor in GSH production, and is found in good quality whey, making it strong healthy source of a good amino acid profile that boosts glutathione.
NAC or N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine is one of the most common pre-cursor supplements. Glutathione has a profound effect on liver detoxification. NAC is used clinically during overdose of acetaminophen glutathione enhancement in the emergency room can save your life.
As a supplement N-Acetyl-Cysteine is incredibly effective for a short boost to GSH levels, but it’s benefits have been decried by some due to it being more a brief GSH spike than a sustained increase.
The Best Glutathione To Supplement
If at the end of the day you are just looking to find out which type makes the most sense for you to boost your glutathione levels… you aren’t alone.
Our overall belief is that L-Glutathione supplements should effectively boost GSH, especially when combined in good quality formulas with synergistic ingredients.
Acetyl-Glutathione needs more research to prove it’s worth, but the concept is sound and it may be the best form of GSH if you are intending it to reach your brain.
Ultimately we also think everyone can benefit from a good quality whey protein powder. If not for upping cysteine levels and glutathione benefits, then for the overall health benefits of increasing protein intake.