Why Do We Need Liposomal Glutathione?

GSH liposomal glutathione supplement What is liposomal glutathione?

Glutathione is a tripeptide made up of the amino acids: cysteine, glycine, and glutamic acid.  It is known as the master antioxidant in the body.  It has two forms: one is in an oxidized state, and the other is in a reduced state. The reduced form (GSH) is the active state and can neutralize free radicals in the body.

Liposomal glutathione refers to glutathione that has undergone a special process that encapsulates the glutathione molecule inside of a lipid.  Doing this protects the glutathione molecule and dramatically improves absorption. Natural glutathione is primarily produced by our cells, though as we age, our bodies produce less and less. While a small amount of glutathione is available in certain foods, such as spinach, avocado, and asparagus, a high-quality, clinically researched liposomal glutathione supplement is the best way to increase glutathione within the body.

What are the benefits of liposomal glutathione?

Known as the master antioxidant, glutathione is the body’s primary mechanism for neutralizing free radicals. An imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants can cause oxidative stress.  Maintaining a healthy level of antioxidants is important in supporting many healthy body functions, such as cellular energy production, cognitive function, immune function, and detoxification.  Glutathione also helps by recycling other antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E.  Since glutathione contains cysteine, it also plays a role in transporting this amino acid throughout the body for different metabolic functions.

Supporting a healthy detoxification process of both endogenous and environmental toxins is another critical function of glutathione in the body. Because of its role in detoxification, high concentrations of glutathione naturally exist in the liver. Hepatocytes can have as much as ten times the amount of reduced or active glutathione (GSH) than other cells.1 Our lungs also have a high amount of glutathione. Epithelial cells in the lining of the lung secrete glutathione which helps with gas exchange.2

Our mitochondria, the “powerhouse of the cell,” produce cellular energy called ATP.  Glutathione, in its role as an antioxidant, supports healthy mitochondrial function.Therefore, glutathione has a role in supporting healthy cellular energy production in the body.

One of the other functions of glutathione is its role in promoting healthy natural killer cell function.4 It also has a role in supporting T cell function.4  By increasing T cells, it increases the production of cytokines that support the immune system.  A recently published research study demonstrated that liposomal glutathione had a profound effect on natural killer cell function (the front line of the immune system)5.

Key benefits of glutathione*

A powerful antioxidant

Glutathione, the “master antioxidant,” can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals and oxidative stress.

Supports immune function*

Glutathione plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy immune system, and by supplementing with it, individuals may experience an improvement in overall immune function.*

Detoxifies the liver*

Glutathione is essential for liver detoxification, and by increasing its levels in the body, it can help to support the liver’s ability to remove toxins and impurities.

May improve skin health*

Glutathione is known to be beneficial for skin health, and by supplementing with it, individuals may see an improvement in the appearance and health of their skin.

Supports healthy cytokine activity*

Glutathione has properties that help support our cytokines, which are essential to a healthy immune system.

May boost brain function*

Glutathione is important for brain function. Our brains are known to be very “glutathione-hungry,” so supplementing can promote cognitive function and memory.

Promotes cardiovascular health*

Research has shown that glutathione helps to support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

May improve athletic performance*

Glutathione plays a role in supporting muscle recovery and boosting endurance.

Who Needs Glutathione?

Due to its critical role in the body, glutathione is an essential nutrient for all of us.  The stress of daily life, exposure to environmental toxins, physical overexertion, physical & mental stress, as well as an overworked and underperforming immune system all elevate oxidative stress, increasing the need for maintaining healthy levels of antioxidants such as glutathione. Glutathione levels also decrease as we age, with the largest decline taking place in the brain.The liver and lungs also require significant glutathione to perform in a healthy manner.

Why take the liposomal form of glutathione?

Multiple options exist for supplementing glutathione.  These range from IV (intravenous) glutathione to different oral forms of glutathione to transdermal. Some integrative practitioners use IV glutathione which can increase glutathione levels for a short time, but since the IVs are not done daily, it is difficult to keep glutathione levels elevated.  Clinical research using IV glutathione has shown good elevation in levels, but when the IV treatments stopped, glutathione decreased back to baseline levels.11

Initial research with oral glutathione, not in the liposomal form, did not show elevated glutathione levels or decreases in oxidative stress markers.12 Glutathione easily changes from the reduced (the active form) to the oxidized form, so the thought was that it did not remain in the reduced form during absorption from the digestive tract.  Studies with transdermal forms did not show elevations of reduced glutathione either.13  Oral liposomal glutathione, on the other hand, has been shown in multiple studies to increase reduced glutathione in the blood.5,13  The most common concern with oral glutathione is whether it is actually absorbed intracellularly (within the cell).

Peer-reviewed published clinical research on liposomal glutathione

The peer-reviewed, published study showed increased intracellular absorption, improved oxidative stress markers, and improved natural killer cell function5. Penn State University conducted an 8-week human study to assess changes in intracellular glutathione absorption (not just plasma levels).  Researchers also looked at natural killer cell function and oxidative stress markers.

The study showed significant increases in intracellular glutathione levels after just 2 weeks of use, as well as demonstrating its ability to support healthy NK cell function and oxidative stress levels.*¹


Are there any risks to taking liposomal glutathione?

Glutathione is a natural substance that your body makes and has been shown to be safe.  Some people may experience stomach upset with higher doses.  Because of genetics, some people with certain genetic snips may have sensitivities to it and may need to begin with very small doses.


Glutathione is a critical antioxidant in our body and has multiple functions ranging from supporting mitochondrial health to immune support.  Oxidative stress caused by physical/emotional stress, strenuous exercise, exposure to environmental toxins, and immune stress can all cause an increase in free radicals, which may cause oxidative stress and deplete glutathione. Due to the importance of glutathione and the substantial variances in quality and efficacy between available forms, it is important for patients to work with an integrative practitioner who may provide guidance on getting the most from your glutathione supplement.  Taking a high-quality, clinically researched liposomal glutathione can increase glutathione levels in the body and help support your overall health.


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  2. Cantin A et al. Glutathione and Inflammatory Disorders of the lungs. 1991. 169:123-138.
  3. Forman HJ, Zhang H, Rinna A. Glutathione: overview of its protective roles, measurement, and biosynthesis. Mol Aspects Med. 2009;30(1-2):1-12.
  4. Guerra C. et al. Glutathione and adaptive immune responses against mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in healthy and HIV infected individuals.  PLOS One. 2011.
  5. Sinha R. Et al. Oral supplementation with liposomal glutathione elevates body stores of glutathione and markers of immune function. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition advance online publication, 30 August 2017.
  6. Peacock BN, Gherezghiher TB, Hilario JD, Kellermann GH. New insights into Lyme disease. Redox Biology. 2015;5:66-70.
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  8. Kern JK. et al. A clinical trial of glutathione supplementation in autism spectrum disorders. Med Sci Monit. 2011;17(12):CR677-CR682.
  9. Yuan L. et al. Glutathione in liver disease and hepatotoxicity. Aspects of Med. 2009. 29-41.
  10. Ghezzi P. et al. Role of glutathione in immunity and inflammation in the lung. Int J Gen Med. 2011;4:105–113.
  11. Hauser RA. Et al. Randomized, double-blind, pilot evaluation of intravenous glutathione in Parkinson’s disease. Mov Disord. 2009 May 15;24(7):979-83.
  12. Allen J, Bradley RD. Effects of oral glutathione supplementation on systemic oxidative stress biomarkers in human volunteers. J Altern Complement Med. 2011;17(9):827-833. doi:10.1089/acm.2010.0716
  13. Kern JK. et al. A clinical trial of glutathione supplementation in autism spectrum disorders. Med Sci Monit. 2011; 17(12): CR677–CR682