Tightening and whitening the skin is the lifelong pursuit of many girls. Why do some girls look 10 years younger than their peers, while some people are just the opposite?
We have talked about the theory of glycation before. AGEs can easily lead to aging. In addition to it, there are free radicals, which can also easily lead to aging. Free radicals like to do damage everywhere in the human body and have a great relationship with people’s aging and various diseases.
I have talked about antioxidants before, but external antioxidants may not be very effective. Today, I will introduce to you an antioxidant in the body that is the natural enemy of free radicals.
Glutathione, some people may not be unfamiliar, you may have seen it in the ingredient list of health care products and skincare products. It may really make you white, beautiful, and younger. It is glutathione.
Advertisements often advertise its antioxidant activity, and people don’t hesitate to pay a high price to buy it. What is its true effect? How should we use it? I hope this article can give you a clear answer.
Why is glutathione so important? Glutathione health benefits.
Glutathione, an antioxidant that exists in the human body, is a genuine free radical “harvester” that can reduce damage caused by oxidative stress. It is mainly composed of 3 amino acids: glutamine, cysteine, and glutamine Acid.
In cells, glutathione exists in two forms:
Reduced type (GSH) and oxidized type (GSSG)
As can be seen from the structural formula below, oxidized glutathione is actually two reducing molecules joined together at the S atom.
The ratio of GSH to GSSG determines the redox state of cells. The GSH/GSSG ratio of healthy cells in the resting-state is >100, while the ratio of cells under oxidative stress drops to 1-10.
The level of glutathione in the human body is affected by many factors, including diet, environmental toxins, stress response, etc., and its content will decrease with age.
What is glutathione good for
The important role that glutathione plays in the body is innumerable. In fact, wherever free radicals are generated, it may be the battlefield where it glows with a gun.
The functions of glutathione in the human body roughly include:
- Eliminate free radicals and reduce oxidative stress;
- Reduce inflammation and improve immune function;
- Detoxification (exogenous and endogenous);
- Maintain mitochondrial function;
- Regulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis;
- Promote the use of vitamin C and E;
- Ensure the correct expression of genes and proteins;
Many common modern diseases are more or less related to excessive depletion of glutathione. These diseases include:
- Neurological diseases (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, etc.)
- Lung diseases (asthma, acute respiratory distress syndrome, etc.)
- Immune system diseases (AIDS, autoimmune diseases)
- Cardiovascular diseases (hypertension, myocardial infarction, cholesterol oxidation)
- Chronic age-related diseases (cataract, macular degeneration, hearing impairment and glaucoma)
- Liver disease
- Cystic fibrosis
In addition, the lack of glutathione may lead to the flooding of free radicals and accelerate aging.
Oral or glutathione injection, what is the effect?
In recent years, with people’s pursuit of the external image of beauty, various whitening needles and face-lifting needles have become more and more common. As a leader in antioxidants, glutathione has become a favorite in many beauty and skincare products.
Many people may have seen from TV commercials and read in health magazines that glutathione supplements can detoxify, nourish the skin, resist oxidation, and resist aging.
Therefore, in order to supplement glutathione in the quickest and most convenient way, they bought supplements, just like vitamin tablets and pills, just take a few pills a day, which is very convenient.
However, some studies have found that oral glutathione has little effect on the body, and there may be some unknown safety hazards.
To talk about the whitening effect of glutathione, we have to mention its relationship with melanin. First of all, glutathione can indeed intervene in the process of melanin formation.
The key to the problem is that the bioavailability of foreign glutathione is extremely low after it enters the human body.
Before the start of the study, there was no difference in the biological indicators of oxidative stress between the two groups. One group of volunteers took 500 mg glutathione supplement orally twice a day for 4 consecutive weeks, and the other group took a placebo orally as a control.
After the study, it was found that the glutathione content in the two groups of members did not change significantly compared with before the test.
This shows that eating glutathione supplements will not have a significant impact on human oxidative stress and glutathione levels.
No significant changes were observed in biomarkers of oxidative stress, including glutathione status, in this clinical trial of oral glutathione supplementation in healthy adults.
In another study, 69 white men and women were tested for the concentration of glutathione in the blood before and after glutathione intake. The daily intake of glutathione was in the range of 13-109.9 mg (average 34.8mg).
The results showed a weak negative correlation. After consuming glutathione food, the concentration of glutathione in the blood may decrease.
This study may not prove anything, but at least it shows that the concentration of glutathione is the result of a combination of many factors, and it cannot be supplemented by simply eating it. The specific reason may be related to the breakdown of glutathione in the process of absorption and metabolism.
In addition, in addition to low bioavailability, the safety of human long-term intake of high-dose glutathione has not been studied, which adds another layer of safety risks. Therefore, in general, oral glutathione supplements are of little significance.
Some people may ask if taking supplements is useless, then the utilization rate of glutathione can reach 100% if it is injected directly into the bloodstream?
Unfortunately, even if it is injected directly into the blood, it will be broken down by enzymes on the cell surface, and so far, no glutathione transporter has been found.
Many glutathiones sold online may not be safe and may cause a series of problems such as infections and allergies.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a safety warning for high-dose injections of glutathione, stating that injections, including glutathione, may contain unknown harmful ingredients and have no safety guarantees and should be used with caution.
Consumers need to beware of products to lighten or whiten their complexion. These products, which include both injectable skin whitening and skin bleaching products, are potentially unsafe and ineffective, and might contain unknown harmful ingredients or contaminants.
Although the average consumer might not assume so, these products are unapproved new drugs whose sales are not condoned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA has not approved any injectable drugs for skin whitening or lightening.
The products sold by Flawless contain ingredients, including glutathione, vitamin C, collagen and even human placenta.
——Excerpted from FDA《Injectable Skin Lightening and Skin Bleaching Products May Be Unsafe》
However, a study of glutathione whitening cream seems to have some effect.
The study conducted a 10-week survey on the skin conditions of 30 healthy Filipino women, mainly observing the changes in the following parameters: skin elasticity, smoothness, stratum corneum water content, and melanin index.
It was found that the group using glutathione cream had a significantly lower melanin index than the control group, and in the later stage, the skin was smoother and had a higher water content.
If it is taken orally, injections won’t work, are there any other methods?
How to supplement glutathione?
Since the foreign glutathione is difficult to be absorbed and utilized by the body, can we only watch it slowly lose and be powerless?
First of all, we need to know that when free radicals are produced, cells will adjust the production and content of glutathione according to the level of oxidative stress inside and outside the cell. If you want to supplement glutathione, you should follow the principle of assisting the body and optimizing cell production, and involve a good diet and lifestyle.
Instead of just injecting glutathione into the blood, this may disrupt the production order of natural glutathione. With this in mind, when we talk about how to supplement glutathione, “how to optimize the production of glutathione“, maybe a more accurate statement.
What is consuming your glutathione?
Increasing the level of glutathione and minimize the loss to the maximum, is far more important than finding ways to supplement it, and it is often easier to do it.
This is like a reservoir where water is fed and discharged at the same time. If you want to increase the amount of water, you should first minimize the loss of water. Only knowing how to increase revenue and throttling can help cells efficiently produce glutathione.
Throttling is to reduce consumption. To put it bluntly, don’t let glutathione do too much work, lest you squeeze it dry.
Generally speaking, there are two main factors that consume glutathione in the body, including internal and external factors.
Intrinsic factors, such as the recycling of vitamin C and vitamin E, DNA repair, etc., these processes will consume glutathione. However, this is the normal metabolism of the human body, which may not be avoided.
The main reason for consuming glutathione is external factors. We are exposed to many toxic and harmful substances, and we need glutathione to detoxify. These substances include:
- Heavy metals
- Nitrate and preservatives;
- Artificial sweeteners;
- industry exhaust;
- Chemical supplies
- Electron radiation
- Fuel exhaust
- Air pollution
Oxidative stress related to the production of free radicals will consume glutathione. As healthy adults grow older, the annual glutathione production will naturally decrease.
Although it is impossible for us to completely avoid toxic substances in the environment, we can still reduce consumption as much as possible by changing our daily habits.
Supplement through diet
Once the “throttling” is in place, we can also help it “source” through diet.
Sulfur is an important mineral for the human body and exists in many natural plants and animals. Sulfur is an important raw material for the synthesis of glutathione. Therefore, supplementing sulfur can promote the body to synthesize more glutathione. Sulfur is mainly derived from foods rich in protein, such as beef, poultry, and fish.
Of course, if you are a vegetarian, you can also choose some vegetarian food to supplement sulfur, such as broccoli, kale, watercress, and mustard greens. Many studies have found that eating sulfur-rich foods can supplement glutathione, thereby reducing oxidative stress.
In addition, onions, garlic, and onions can also increase glutathione levels, which may be related to their sulfur compounds. To supplement sulfur, you can also consider supplementing with methyl sulfonyl methane (MSM), which helps promote the synthesis of glutathione. Consult a doctor before buying.
Alpha lipoic acid
Alpha-lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant produced by human cells. It can reduce the workload of glutathione, increase the level of mitochondrial glutathione, and facilitate the transformation of glutathione from an oxidized state to a reduced state.
Alpha-lipoic acid can improve the transportation and metabolism of glucose, lower blood sugar, and help control diabetes. Like glutathione, α-lipoic acid will be consumed and utilized when it generates free radicals when it is stressed or exposed to toxic substances.
Some foods contain a small amount of alpha-lipoic acid, such as red meat, animal organs (especially liver), broccoli, tomatoes, peas, etc. However, the content of alpha-lipoic acid in foods is very low. Even high-content foods are much lower than supplements. You can also consider supplements, but if you consider supplements, you must consult a doctor before taking them.
Selenium is an essential mineral that participates in protein synthesis and other metabolic processes. It also acts together with other antioxidants, especially vitamin E. Eat more foods containing selenium to maintain or increase glutathione content.
The recommended daily intake for adults is 55 micrograms. The best dietary sources are Brazil nuts, fish, beef, chicken, and sunflower seeds.
Foods rich in glutathione
Some foods contain glutathione, such as asparagus, avocado, okra, broccoli, etc. However, the effect of eating them is the same as that of supplements. The human body will decompose and have low bioavailability.
Although these foods have little effect on cellular glutathione levels, they may still be beneficial to the body.
For example, a survey of 1830 participants showed that glutathione food may reduce the risk of oral cancer.
In addition, some other foods also help to increase glutathione levels, such as some spices, turmeric, cinnamon, and cardamom. Beet also helps to enhance the activity of glutathione.
Combine with foods high in whey protein
Cysteine is an important amino acid for the synthesis of glutathione. Whey protein is rich in cysteine, which may increase the synthesis of glutathione and reduce oxidative stress damage.
High-quality undenatured whey protein retains the original biological activity of cysteine, which can ensure the high-quality production of glutathione and is a good way to increase the level of glutathione.
Combine with foods containing vitamin C
Many fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C, such as sweet pepper, kiwi, citrus, papaya, strawberry, etc., and also in mammalian organs and fish roe. Vitamin C itself, as an antioxidant, can help cells avoid oxidative stress damage. It can also help maintain the body’s other antioxidant content, including glutathione.
Take reasonable rest and avoid excessive drinking.
As we all know, alcohol not only harms people’s health but also causes great safety hazards to society. Various incidents related to drunk driving and drunk injuries have been reported frequently. Drinking a lot of alcohol for a long time will produce alcohol dependence just like taking drugs, which makes it difficult for many people to get rid of. Alcoholism is related to many chronic diseases, such as liver cirrhosis, brain damage, and pancreatitis.
Studies have found that for people who drink heavily, the glutathione in the alveoli is reduced by 80 to 90%. This severe deficiency may be related to long-term chronic oxidative stress. Smoking and drinking may be the main causes of rapid aging. Staying away from alcohol means staying away from drugs and chronic injuries.
Good sleep and regular exercise
Needless to say, the health benefits of good sleep and exercise, should become regulars of healthy living.
Some common questions and answers about glutathione
Can glutathione really whiten skin?
Obviously, you can.
When should you take glutathione
In fact, it is not necessary to take it directly, unless recommended by a professional. Your body naturally produces glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that is important for overall health. Glutathione acts mainly in the liver. It helps prevent cell damage and repair cells damaged by exposure to oxidative free radicals.
Most healthy people do not need to take glutathione supplements because the body produces enough antioxidants on its own. However, supplementation of glutathione may be beneficial to people who lack glutathione, such as some people who suffer from diseases due to lack of glutathione.
You can improve the synthesis of glutathione through things.
How much glutathione should I take every day
Same as above. Follow the doctor’s advice.
Can I eat zinc while eating glutathione?
Yes, this study confirms that when the body lacks zinc, it affects the metabolism of glutathione.
Glutathione and vitamin c are used together to brighten the skin?
Vitamin C itself, as an antioxidant, can help cells avoid oxidative stress damage. It can also help maintain the body’s other antioxidant content, including glutathione.
Its(glutathione) skin-lightening effects result from direct as well as indirect inhibition of the tyrosinase enzyme and switching from eumelanin to phaeomelanin production. It is available in oral, parenteral, and topical forms. Although the use of intravenous glutathione injections is popular, there is no evidence to prove its efficacy.
To a certain extent, combining the two together can indeed help whitening, but key questions such as the duration of treatment, the durability of the skin brightening effect, and the maintenance plan have not yet been answered.