Total Glutathione

Optimal Result: 373 - 838 uM.

Total Glutathione in Whole Blood - Glutathione is a tripeptide formed by a peptide linkage between the amine group of cysteine linked to glycine and the carboxyl group of the glutamate side-chain.

It is an abundant cellular reducing agent, whose major biological function is mitigating oxidative damage to biological macromolecules.


Glutathione is an antioxidant, a type of chemical which helps to boost your immune system as well as prevent and reverse cellular damage. Unlike most antioxidants which come from the food you eat, glutathione is naturally produced by the body in the liver. Glutathione plays a number of roles in overall health including boosting the immune system, helping to break down nutrients in food, and protecting against chronic diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinsons, diabetes, some types of cancer, and heart disease. Glutathione levels tend to decrease naturally with age as well as due to health conditions such as liver disease, insomnia, and chronic stress. 

- Glutathione is composed of cysteine, glutamine & glycine. Glutathione is a source of sulfate and plays a key role in antioxidant activity and detoxification of toxins.

- Glutathione is the most abundant and important intracellular antioxidant.

- Glutathione in erythrocytes is an indicator of intracellular Glutathione status, the overall health of cells and of the ability to endure toxic challenges. 

- Glutathione is involved in many biological processes including detoxification of xenobiotics, removal of oxygen-reactive species, regulation of the redox state of cells and the oxidative state of important protein sulfhydryl groups, and regulation of immune function.

What does it mean if your Total Glutathione result is too low?

Glutathione is also important in the metabolism and excretion of xenobiotic compounds. Glutathione is consumed to maintain cells in a reduced condition. Consequently, glutathione levels in patient samples are expected to be diminished in disease states where oxygen reactive species are involved, such as rheumatoid arthritis and atherosclerosis. Low glutathione levels have been linked to reduced dopamine production in neurons, which suggests a relationship to dopamine based neurological disorders such as parkinson's disease.

Low GSH contributes to oxidative stress and is thus a risk factor for many chronic diseases.

Deficiency may result in:

- oxidative stress & damage,

- impaired detoxification,

- altered immunity,

- macular degeneration

- and increased risk of chronic illness.

Low levels of GSH have been reported in:

- cardiovascular disease,

- cancer,


- autism,

- alcoholism

- and debilitating neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzhiemer's and Parkinson's.

It has also been associated with chronic retention of potential toxic elements such as:

- mercury,

- lead,

- arsenic,

- cadmium,

- manganese

- and iron,

- as well as chemicals and some drugs.

Intracellular GSH biosynthesis and intracellular levels can be upregulated as a protective mechanism.

Glutathione levels tend to decrease naturally with age as well as due to health conditions such as liver disease, insomnia, and chronic stress. 

What does it mean if your Total Glutathione result is too high?

GSH requirement is increased with high-fat diets, cigarette smoke, cystinuria, chronic alcoholism, chronic acetaminophen use, infection, inflammation and toxic exposure.

Some factors that result in increased biosynthesis and "high normal" GSH levels include, but are not limited to, moderate alcohol consumption, smoking, regular physical exercise and acute exposure to toxic metals. Under such conditions it is essential to provide the body with the key nutrients involved in GSH synthesis in order to sustain functionally appropriate levels of GSH. Magnesium and potassium are required for both energy-dependent enzymatic steps in GSH synthesis, and cysteine is the rate limiting amino acid. Nutritional products that have been documented to increase erythrocyte GSH/GSH biosynthesis include α-lipoic acid, curcumin, oral liposomal GSH, nebulized GSH, and to a lesser extent, N-acetyl-L-cysteine.

Assessing and supporting appropriately high levels of GSH is important for protecting cells and promoting overall health and longevity, and contributes significantly to safe and effective metal detoxification.

High levels of glutathione have also been linked to chemotherapy resistance in cancer treatments.

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