Glutathione (GSH) is a protein synthesized by every cell in a human organism. This protein is made of three different amino acids: glucine, glutamate and cysteine, and can be found in two forms, either as monomer (reduced glutathione) or dimmer (oxidized glutathione).
Reduced GSH is normally active form, while oxidized GSH needs to be converted to an active form with the help of reductase enzyme.
Glutathione is very important to our body, since all his roles are major. It is the essential endogenous antioxidant in the human organism. It is directly responsible for the fight against the free radicals and peroxides in the body, preventing potential cell damage. Also, GSH is indirectly involved as the antioxidant, providing the active form of anti-oxidant vitamins C and E.
This protein also protects the body from many other medical conditions, because it is responsible for the detoxification of heavy metals, toxins and carcinogens. Indirectly, helping the immune system and empowering it, GSH is additional protector of our body.
GSH supplements are advised for the patients suffering from heart problems and elevated blood cholesterol.
Glutathione can affect the skin, causing the whitening effects. Because of that, there are numerous cosmetic and other products containing GSH, including some creams, soaps, facial washes, etc. Glutathione can also be found as tablets or whitening injections, and sometimes they are combined with vitamins C and/or E.
Manufacturers advertise these products as the flawless skin solutions. As the matter of fact glutathione works also as the inhibitor of the skin pigment (melanin), and because of the effects it has to the oxidative stress in many countries, it is advertised to be efficient for the treatment of the skin that had darkened or has blemishes. These products seem to be very popular in Asia (and among Asian-Americans, also), since their culture glorifies the perfect white skin tone.
Skin whitening can be actually achieved only after the use of large doses of GSH. These large doses then affect the skin, causing the skin whitening and that is so much wanted glutathione whitening. Depending on the skin tone, the GSH can be used from 2 months to more than a year, in order to achieve glutathione whitening. Medium skin tone need approximately 2 to 4 months of regular glutathione use to show some results of skin whitening, while people with very dark or black skin tone need to use these products for more than a year and a half.
In most cases, manufacturers don’t label the potential side effects after the use of these large doses of glutathione, but there are some.
Your skin might become thick and there might be some dark spots on the body, after the use of GSH-containing products. This skin problem is also known as ochronosis. Some people might be allergic or sensitive to these products, which can also be a problem.
Glutathione tablets or other oral GSH products could interact with some medications and cause further medical problems.
Be aware that GSH products should not be used by pregnant women or breastfeeding moms, at least not without the proper consultation with their doctors.