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Question: Do glutathione supplements work to prevent aging or for other conditions?
Answer: Although glutathione plays an important role in the body as an antioxidant, supplementing with glutathione has not been shown to slow aging or help with conditions associated with reduced levels of glutathione, such as cancer, cataracts, diabetes, and HIV infection.
Glutathione is a protein normally made in the body from three amino acids: cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine. We get small amounts of glutathione from foods, and this is normally broken back down to amino acids by enzymes in the digestive tract.
As discussed in the Glutathionearticle on ConsumerLab.com, taking a very large (3,000 mg) single dose was not shown to raise glutathione levels in the body. However, a study in which large amounts of glutathione were given daily for six months did show an increase in glutathione levels. Taking large amounts of the amino acids of which glutathione is comprised, such as cysteine, or whey protein (which is high in cysteine), may also raise glutathione levels, as may taking other antioxidants, such as vitamin C or lipoic acid, which spare glutathione from being used in the body.
Nevertheless, there are no studies showing a clinical benefit on any disease or medical condition from taking glutathione supplements. For more information, see the Glutathione article on ConsumerLab.com.