Dr. Kassam The Master Antioxidant: Glutathione

The Master Antioxidant: Glutathione

Written by: Dr. Saira Kassam, ND

Antioxidants are a hot topic right now because of their immense benefit to overall health and well-being.  Our bodies make free radicals as part of our metabolism. Free radicals can also enter our system from external sources like smoking, alcohol, toxic chemicals and environmental pollutants. These free radicals can cause havoc on the body by causing oxidative damage and destroying cells which can then lead to an increased risk for cancer and other chronic diseases.  Antioxidants work to bind up these toxins and facilitate their excretion from the body.

Glutathione is a very important antioxidant as is often referred to as the “Master Antioxidant”. Glutathione is a compound that the body can naturally produce and recycle. Every cell in the body requires it to function, so it is in high demand!  Glutathione is made of 3 amino acids: Cysteine, Glutamate and Glycine. Many people are actually quite deficient in Glutathione because of factors like ageing, stress, toxin exposure and regular antibiotic use. Low levels of Glutathione can contribute to oxidative stress which plays a key role in ageing and the development of diseases like cancer, respiratory conditions, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's, Liver disease and Macular degeneration. 


Why do you need Glutathione?

  • It helps the liver detoxify by pushing toxins out which balances out the free radical damage. 
  • It helps to enhance the immune system 
  • Prevents against ageing (Who doesn't want this!)
  • It is a key factor in helping the body fight off various diseases by killing free radicals
  • It helps in both male and female fertility by improving egg and sperm quality

How can you increase your levels of Glutathione?

  • The best way to enhance Glutathione production in the body is to boost the level of nutrients needed for its production through a whole foods diet
    • Cruciferous vegetables that are rich in sulfur --> Cauliflower, bok choy, kale, cabbage, leafy greens, onions
    • Foods that are high in Selenium and B vitamins also support the body’s natural glutathione levels --> Fish, meat, eggs, brazil nuts, beets, spinach and lentils
    • Milk Thistle is a herb that benefits the liver through raising glutathione levels

A word on Glutathione supplements

  • Glutathione levels can be raised in the body by either directly supplementing with glutathione itself or indirectly by providing the body with certain precursor nutrients through diet or supplementation so that the body can manufacture glutathione on its own
  • Glutathione orally is not recommended as it is easily degraded in the gut and poorly absorbed. So in order to gain the best benefit from oral glutathione, it is important to either supplement with the precursors to glutathione: Cysteine, L-glutamine and L-Glycine or Liposomal Glutathione. Liposomal glutathione gets absorbed directly through mucous membranes of the body and does not rely on the absorption through the gut
  • Alternatively, the best way to bypass the digestive tract is through Intravenous supplementation of glutathione. This is the quickest way to increase glutathione stores rapidly


Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that is essential for optimal health and disease prevention. Increasing its levels in the body helps with energy levels, reduces toxin accumulation, aids in disease prevention, improves fertility and plays a role in anti-aging.  As a result of its poor absorption, ensure to supplement with the correct form to maximize its benefit on the body! Ask your Naturopathic Doctor if Glutathione supplementation may be right for you! 





The advice in this article is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the care of a Naturopathic physician.