L-Glutathione and its Potential Benefits in the Liver, Brain, and Skin

by | Jan 6, 2023 | Research

L-Glutathione is a tripeptide made from the amino acids glycine, cysteine, and glutamine. It is naturally found in animals, plants, fungi, and bacteria. In animals, it may be produced by the liver and act against oxidative stress from heavy metals, free radicals, reactive oxygen species, peroxides. It may also be essential in tissue building and repair, protein synthesis, and immune system function. Reduced levels of Glutathione are suggested to play a role in autoimmune diseases, metabolic conditions such as insulin resistance, and many more conditions.

L-Glutathione and the Liver

L-Glutathione peptide shows potential as an antioxidant that may potentially play a significant defensive role in protecting the liver against oxidative stress and injury. According to animal research, low L-Glutathione levels may lead to spontaneous liver pathologies characteristic of various stages of liver injury.[1] According to one study in ethanol-exposed research models, L-Glutathione exposure following cessation of ethanol ingestion appeared to improve liver enzyme levels, such as AST and ALT.[2] Researchers also suggest improvement in other hepatic tests, such as bilirubin, GOT, GPT, and GT.[3] L-Glutathione may also combat the disease-associated reduction in intracellular Glutathione levels.


L-Glutathione and the Peripheral Nervous System

Neurotoxicity, manifested by peripheral neuropathies, is a widely researched and includes polyneuropathy. It is widespread in research that involve the study of platinum-based antineoplastic compounds or “platins.” Studies suggest that L-Glutathione may have protective effects on peripheral nerves and prevent the occurrence of neurotoxicity.

One study in peptide action following cisplatin exposure noted that “after the 15th week, four of 24 assessable [cases] in the GSH (L-Glutathione) … suffered from neurotoxicity versus 16 of 18 in the placebo.”[4]

Other studies also suggest that L-Glutathione may reduce neurotoxicity during oxaliplatin and carboplatin exposure.[5,6]  Besides the fact that L-Glutathione may protect the nervous tissue thanks to its potential antioxidative and radical-scavenging characteristics, studies suggest that it also may activate the so-called nerve growth factor (NGF).[7]


L-Glutathione and Skin

L-Glutathione may have anti-melanogenic characteristics. According to laboratory experiments, L-Glutathione is tightly related to melanogenesis and exerts anti-melanogenic potential[8] These mechanisms may induce a shift towards pheomelanin synthesis rather than eumelanin production. Pheomelanin is a lighter form of melanin with a yellow–red color compared to the darker eumelanin, which is brown–black.

Furthermore, this research indicates that L-Gluthathione’s antioxidant potential, as well as its interference with the intracellular trafficking of melanogenic enzymes, may contribute to alleged anti-melanin effects.[9,10]


L-Glutathione and Parkinson’s Disease

Research reveals that oxidative stress in the nervous system may play a role in the pathophysiology and progression of Parkinson’s disease.[12] One of the antioxidants significantly reduced in research models of Parkinson’s brains was Glutathione, which may lead to increased oxidative toxicity. Glutathione deficiency has been posited as an early event in the progression of Parkinson’s disease.[13] Therefore, scientists are investigating the potential of L-Glutathione for improving some of the aspects of Parkinson’s disease.

According to the meta-analysis in a study analyzed by Wang et al., there is “a statistically significant difference between the GSH and control groups, in terms of the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) III.”[14] The researchers reported that the pooled data show L-Glutathione may mildly improve motor scores in models of Parkinson’s disease.


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