Glutathione is an antioxidant produced in cells. It’s comprised largely of three amino acids: glutamine, glycine, and cysteine.
Glutathione levels in the body may be reduced by a number of factors, including poor nutrition, environmental toxins, and stress. Its levels also decline with age.
Oxidative stress occurs when there’s an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to fight them off. Too-high levels of oxidative stress may be a precursor to multiple diseases. These include diabetes, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis. Glutathione helps stave off the impact of oxidative stress, which may, in turn, reduce disease.
As people age, they produce less glutathione. Researchers at Baylor School of Medicine used a combination of animal and human studies to explore the role of glutathione in weight management and insulin resistance in older individuals. Study findings indicated that low glutathione levels were associated with less fat burning and higher rates of fat storing in the body. Older subjects had cysteine and glycine added to their diets to increase glutathione levels, which spiked within two weeks, improving insulin resistance and fat burning.