This page is probably only 10% of what I can write about glutathione. This substance is part of so many processes that it’s difficult to stay on topic.

Over the years as I learn more about biochemistry, metabolism, and health in general, I continue to find more and more connections to glutathione.

Glutathione is connected to pretty much everything

I’m listing a dozen or so nutrients with tight connections to glutathione because I’d like to point out how intertwined it is with our metabolism. Way too many people are hyperfocused on individual nutrients without realizing they are all part of a massive system that depends on all of these nutrients.

If we inherit a classic car, most of us know it needs more than fuel and oil to remain in proper working order. But for some reason when it comes to wellness, we assume our body can rebuild itself with 3 things as we continue to bombard ourselves with toxicity.

Glutathione and Iron

Iron metabolism, 1 iron deficiency anemia, 2 to carry adequate oxygen to our body’s tissues 3

Click for symptoms of iron dysfunction
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Chest pain, fast heartbeat or shortness of breath
  • Headache, dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Inflammation or soreness of your tongue
  • Brittle nails
  • Unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances, such as ice, dirt or starch
  • Poor appetite, especially in infants and children with iron deficiency anemia

Have you heard of the simple idea that high acidity inhibits iron transport? pH is a measurement of how many hydrogen ions are in a solution. One of our cell’s many waste products is hydrogen ions. If we are not able to keep up on the removal or mitigation of these ions, how can our iron levels remain in balance?

Deficiency, as well as an excess of copper, have deleterious effects on iron metabolism. 4

Glutathione, Iodine & Selenium

Data suggest that protein synthesis is needed for selenium repletion to exert control on glutathione peroxidase activity 5

More about selenium dysfunction

Selenium is critical in many processes. It may be connected to an overload in iron 6

But the reason I’m including all of this on a page about glutathione is because selenium’s involvement in all of this is most likely due to glutathione peroxidase’s production being dependant on selenium. If glutathione does not have the required building blocks, or something along the line is missing and halting glutathione’s signal to be generated, everything involved is limited in some way. If selenium is in low supply or we are not able to make the SEPP carrier protein, glutathione generation suffers. But without iodine to generate enough thyroid hormones, copper, superoxide, and dozens of other nutrients, selenium may have not have anything to do.

More about selenium at my page

Low Selenium

  • Anemia
  • Blindness, Cataracts
  • Scoliosis
  • Fibromyalgia, Cystic Fibrosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • ALS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s
  • HIV (AIDS)
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Heart palpitations & irregular heartbeat
  • Cirrhosis, Pancreatitis
  • Infertility, Miscarriages
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Elevated RT3
  • Hashimoto’s
  • Thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies

Elevated Selenium

  • Anemia
  • Conception issues
  • Garlic breath
  • Metallic taste
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Brittle nails
  • Pain
  • Cirrhosis
  • Muscle spasms

Iodine deficiency may produce oxidant stress on the thyroid gland, increasing the requirement for selenium to maintain selenoenzyme activity 7

Zinc and Copper are required to reduce superoxides into h2o2 where selenium and thyroid hormones recharge glutathione. 8 Then molybdenum reduces the sulfites generated in this process into sulfates so they can be removed from our body. 9

Glutathione and Copper

Depleting glutathione reduces copper uptake by 50% in some cells 10

More nutrients connected to glutathione

Glutathione and B2

B2 is crucial to oxygen-based energy production as well as recycling glutathione back into its active form after it is used each time 11

Glutathione and Zinc

Evidence that a decrease in zinc availability impairs glutathione metabolism in human neuroblastoma cells and rat fetal brain 12

Glutathione and B12

Glutathione inhibits the reduction of hydroxocob(III)alamin(B12) by the formation of the 1:1 complex glutathionylcobalamin – The interaction between glutathione and vitamin B12 could protect against diseases related to vitamin B12 depletion. 13 In other words, glutathione is able to protect B12 so it is not destroyed by toxins. B12 is a huge player in metabolism.

Glutathione and Magnesium

Magnesium exerts antioxidant activity and influences glutathione redox 14

Glutathione and Dopamine and Serotonin

Glutathione can improve the efficiency of dopamine in the brain and also increase the sensitivity to dopamine and serotonin 15

Similar to how our cells require a proper amount of sugar, or we lose consciousness and go into a coma, 16 we need a certain amount of glutathione or the majority of our cells are not able to continue carrying out their function. If we don’t have what it takes to antioxidize, we can’t oxidize. Without being able to oxidize properly, we’re not able to run at optimal performance.

More than 100,000 studies have been published related to the physiologic effects of glutathione. In broad terms, these studies have found glutathione to protect against oxidative stress, detoxify chemicals and toxins, boost immune function, and support healthy aging.

Oral Availability of GLUTATHIONE –

I think a neat way to look at glutathione is like the engine cylinder that contains the internal combustion or the oven wall that helps cook food.

Without the engine running or the oven cooking, we have no need for the cylinder or oven walls. Maintaining anything requires resources and energy. We don’t maintain things if we have no use for them. We also can’t maintain things if we’re missing a required resource.

Without proper metabolism, we don’t have much use for glutathione and other antioxidants. If we’re not running our system and attempting to oxidize, we have no use for antioxidants. We could potentially already have plenty of antioxidants due to low demand.

We may not be able to process glutathione or have a use for it if we are not opening our cells to nutrition with balanced electrolytes, stomach acid, fat digestion, enzyme release, proper sleep, exposure to sunlight etc.

Oxygen is potent stuff

We inhale 11,000 liters of air per day in order to extract enough oxygen to run our cells. Some people can go months without food and days without water, but we’re most likely dead after only 10 minutes without oxygen.

Not only is oxygen pretty important, but we also go through a lot of it over time.

In a weird way, we are exploiting the same chemical reaction that causes rust as oxygen is given the opportunity to take electrons from metal. Our body works very hard to transport oxygen and clean up the mess that’s made as we exploit something that is capable of creating rust.

An average adult has about 25 billion Red Blood Cells(RBCs) each containing about 270 million hemoglobin with 4 iron molecules per hemoglobin. That’s 25,000,000,000 x 270,000,000 x 4 pieces of iron carrying around something that usually destroys it.

All those pieces of iron transporting oxygen which will eventually depend on antioxidation… This is a huge part of why antioxidants are so important.

This is also one more area where most people are looking at this stuff backwards. We look at oxygen saturation and iron numbers without thinking about antioxidants. But maybe our body is purposely not spending time and energy transporting oxygen that it knows it cannot eventually antioxidize?

What about taking too much?

Some people claim that taking glutathione for an extended period causes our body to make less on its own. In a sense, this is true but it is not a good way to look at the situation. If we successfully use 100 tanks of fuel in our vehicle, do we complain that the fuel depleted our oil, or are we thankful for the oil’s service and make sure to maintain it?

Glutathione is made of several important aminos that are involved in a lot of feedback mechanisms. As we supplement glutathione, we run this system and use up more of the various nutrients involved. Over time we could potentially use up too much of something and reduce our ability to create glutathione on our own till we get more of those nutrients. Instead of looking at this as an issue with the glutathione supplement, maybe we should accept that we are severely nutrient deficient.

Having enough glutathione around can potentially cause more cells to function which increases our ability to metabolize. But more metabolism means more nutrients and energy are required. If we are eating well enough and continuing to load up on nutrients including electrolytes while sleeping, hydrating, getting proper light and friendly interactions etc, we should be able to feed the new cells that are firing up.

But supplementing glutathione by itself without any of the nutrients it depends on at some point most likely won’t work well, might backfire, and can create further imbalances.

So what is the right way to take glutathione

1,500 words so far just to talk about some nutrients involved, how important it is as it mitigates an enormous amount of reactive oxygen and how successfully supplementing with it may depend on a lot of other nutrients.

What I’m trying to say is glutathione is important and involved in a lot of metabolic processes. This means supporting it may not be simple but may help us look at health in an interesting way.

Instead of wondering which forms of how much of each nutrient we need, we may want to look at this differently and almost the opposite. We seem to pretend we’re low on 1 nutrient and everything will be swell once we find it. Sure, we’re low on that 1 nutrient, but we’re also low on about 5 dozen others next in line once we replenish whatever is currently holding us up the most.

So do I supplement this stuff or…

If we have $60 and do not feel amazing on a regular basis, it may be worth trying liposomal glutathione with cofactors. This allows us to try very small amounts of glutathione to see how our body responds, and it also includes several nutrients that help us handle glutathione so we’re not bottlenecked at other nutrients.

If we are not eating well balancing our electrolytes and supporting stomach acid we may not see many benefits from even the best form of glutathione.


  1. Glutathione revisited: a vital function in iron metabolism and ancillary role in thiol-redox control –
  2. Iron deficiency anemia –
  3. Anemia –
  4. The Role of Copper in Iron Metabolism –
  5. Selenium regulation of glutathione peroxidase in human hepatoma cell line Hep3B –
  6. Selenium deficiency as a cause of overload of iron and unbalanced distribution of other minerals –
  7. Selenoenzyme expression in thyroid and liver of second-generation selenium- and iodine-deficient rats –
  8. The role of copper, molybdenum, selenium, and zinc in nutrition and health –
  10. Cellular glutathione plays a key role in copper uptake mediated by human copper transporter 1 –
  11. Association for the Advancement of Restorative Medicine –
  12. Decreased Zinc Availability Affects Glutathione Metabolism in Neuronal Cells and in the Developing Brain –
  13. A new role for glutathione: protection of vitamin B12 from depletion by xenobiotics –
  14. Effects of magnesium supplementation on the glutathione redox system in atopic asthmatic children –
  15. Glutathione and Parkinson’s Disease –
  16. Hypoglycemia, functional brain failure, and brain death –