There isn’t debate about whether there is a benefit to having high levels of reduced glutathione in the body. The question is how to get it there.
Read the article below about the debate on different techniques to administer glutathione. Original article from the Denver Neuropathic Clinic.
Direct supplementation with glutathione is complicated. Proponents have strong feelings on how it should be done. Some say it can be absorbed orally and advocate oral dosing. Others say oral dosing doesn’t work and it must be given IV. The chemotherapy studies showing decreased side effects administered glutathione through an intravenous saline solution just prior to chemotherapy. The work with Parkinson’s also used IV dosing. One study which argues against oral administration, gave test subjects a single large 3 gram dose of glutathione and saw no increase in plasma levels. Enzymes in the digestive process apparently destroy the glutathione. On the other hand, there are studies which used oral glutathione with benefit. In one a 5 gram/day dose of glutathione slowed the progression of liver cancer.
Can we explain the differences in results? Those who say oral dosing is effective are specific on how to take it: on an empty stomach followed by a full glass of water. This may explain the varying results: some studies may have administered it on an empty stomach and others with food. The study which gave 3 gram single doses were using hepatitis patients as test subjects. Perhaps they were so depleted in glutathione they quickly used up the first dose and would have needed repeated doses to raise their levels.
One group has attempted to overcome the challenge of administering oral glutathione and increased its effectiveness by combining it with anthocyanins. These bioflavinoids form the dark red and purple color found in certain plants such as blueberries, elderberry and beets. Apparently anthocyanins possess the ability to regenerate glutathione from oxidized glutathione even in the presence of oxidizing agents, free radicals, and toxic exposure. This combination is sold as Recancostat by Tyler Encapsulations.
Another method of glutathione administration is to inhale it. Glutathione prepared in sterile saline solution is turned into a cool mist using a nebulizer of the sort used to treat asthma, and inhaled. Good results have been reported using this method to treat emphysema. This method of administration has been suggested for treating lung tumors. It is unclear whether this raises plasma levels or just has a localized effect on the lung tissue.
Although there are conflicting opinions, a few things are clear. It is good to have high levels of reduced glutathione in the body. They slow aging and prevent all sorts of disease. In a person who has either Parkinson’s, cancer, or other conditions linked with oxidative stress, it’s sensible to increase glutathione levels. Increasing levels of Vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, cysteine, glutamine and glycine may be enough to do this.
In urgent situations, when one desires the highest possible levels, supplementing with reduced glutathione itself may be the right choice. If undergoing chemotherapy with the platinum drugs, or if one has Parkinson’s, IV administration appears to be the preferred, or at least best documented, method. If taking glutathione orally, it should be taken on an empty stomach followed with water.
If you believe the anthocyanin theory, use Recancostat. If unwilling to pay the premium price that Recancostat sells for, theoretically a similar effect might be achieved by taking a supplement high in anthocyanins at the same time: for example bilberry, or elderberry extract or even beet juice.