Glutathione is a powerful and important antioxidant present in each and every cell in the body with the highest concentrations found in the liver. It plays a crucial role in detoxifying our cells, removing heavy metals, toxins and free radicals, all of which can damage our cells and significantly damage the quality of our cells, including skin cells. Glutathione (intravenous) is usually prescribed to treat toxicities, including side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It is also used in the treatment of such diseases as HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s, hepatitis and other diseases where glutathione is depleted. One of the side effects of glutathione is that it inhibits the production of melanin (the pigment responsible for our skin and hair color), making the skin lighter.
Glutathione has grown in popularity among people for non-medical reasons as a means of achieving a cosmetic effect of lighter complexion. Some people go to the extremes of using glutathione injections or glutathione IV (intravenous administration) to whiten their skin because these methods provide faster results of delivering glutathione into the bloodstream than oral glutathione (pills). These injections should however be recommended by only medical experts and well qualified dermatologists but a lot of people buy glutathione kits sold online which may be contaminated and unsafe to use. Some of these are simply fake glutathione aimed at gullible consumers. The standard dose of glutathione administered to patients with depleted glutathione is usually about 3500mg but most of these pills and injections sold online have much higher doses. Look at the pictures below: Glutax has 2000g of glutathione (over 500x 3500mg) and Gluta Prime has 2,000,000mg.
Flooding the bloodstream with glutathione may actually interfere with your body’s own glutathione production. The human body is programmed to self-produce its own antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione, and synthetic supplementation of these compounds actually signals your body to stop its own production – which leaves you dependent on synthetic substances.
More research is being carried out to determine the safety of prolonged high dosage of glutathione in the body. So far, there is no evidence that glutathione supplementation (oral or intravenous) is unsafe at low levels and when administered by medical experts. However, when done unprofessionally, there are so many health risks.
My advice: Consult a dermatologist/doctor before use. Our in house Cosmetic Doctor, Dr Uju Rapu, can give you more advice on the use and safety of Glutathione, head over to “Ask the Expert”.