The Mother of Antioxidants
Recent research shows that acne sufferers have higher levels of oxidative stress (ie free radical activity) both internally in their bodies and also topically on their skin.
Topically, this causes the sebum to become comedogenic and hospitable to acne bacteria.
Internally, this causes inflammation and systemic stress that affects the way our body processes toxins.
Glutathione is a major and important antioxidant manufactured in the liver and also found in certain foods.
A recent acne study found that acne sufferers had significantly decreased levels of glutathione in the skin than non-acne sufferers. Even more interesting was that the amount of glutathione in the skin correlated to the severity of the acne. Mild acne had only mild glutathione deficiency; severe acne had severe glutathione deficiency.
Can taking Glutathione help heal your acne?
Glutathione is nicknamed “the mother of all antioxidants” and it is a powerful detoxifier, liver supporter and extremely powerful free radical neutralizer. Glutathione is also anti-inflammatory as it blocks the production of most inflammatory cytokines in the body.
Internally, liver support, optimized detoxification, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory action are all crucial to preventing acne. The incredible antioxidant powers of Glutathione also make it anti-aging. Glutathione has been shown to help with anxiety and depression which incidentally, are also linked to acne (acne sufferers have statistically significant higher rates of depression, anxiety and stress) – if you’re curious about this, research the “brain-skin axis.” Lastly, it can help with gut issues and inflammation, yet another health issue that has been linked to acne.
Glutathione has also been directly linked to skin lightening, so much so that some med spas are now offering it as a (controversial) intravenous treatment.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that an internal glutathione supplement does help clear the skin; cases have been reported on acne message boards.
How to take Glutathione?
Glutathione is made in the body from 3 amino acids: glutamate, cysteine, and glycine. Once it has been USED in the body, it is broken down by an enzyme called GGT.
However, if you take a glutathione supplement, it has to pass the liver before it reaches your bloodstream. The liver can contain high amounts of GGT, which will break down glutathione before your body can use it. As a result, some oral forms of glutathione will not achieve the desired effects.
In order to get the most absorption from oral Glutathione, make sure to look for forms that are liposomal, sublingual (drops), orobuccal (slowly dissolving tablet or lozenge), inhaled (glutathione is used in asthma inhalers!), or Methyl glutathione.
It has been shown that taking Vitamin C with Glutathione increases absorption as well, but be sure to still use one of the above forms.
Suggested dosages range from 250 mg 3x/day to 500 mg 1-2x/day.
Always, always check with your doctor before starting a new supplement or if you have any questions or concerns.
Glutathione in food
If you’re over taking expensive supplements for acne, I get it. You can also increase glutathione through consuming certain foods (in general look for foods high in sulfur, selenium, cysteine and methionine, ie the building blocks of glutathione):
- Garlic + onions
- Brassica veggies (Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, bok choy)
- Animal organ meats like liver
- Animal protein (inc. seafood)
- Grass-fed dairy
Will you experience purging with Glutathione?
Because Glutathione is detoxifying, you may experience the skin getting worse before it gets better. This is simply toxins that were stagnant in the body and skin finally getting pushed out. Purging typically lasts 2 weeks – 3 months.
If you try/have tried Glutathione, let us know about it in the comments!