What Depletes Glutathione?

What depletes glutathione (GSH) levels in our bodies can be put into two categories - internal and external factors.

Internal factors include the increasing need for glutathione as an important part of various processes in our bodies, such as, food for our immune system, recycling of vitamin C, vitamin E and alpha lipoic acid, repairing our DNA, and protecting our cells from oxidative stress to mention a few.

Many external factors is what depletes glutathione the most.

Many toxic and harmful substances that we are exposed to on a daily basis require considerable amounts of glutathione for detoxification.

Some of these substances are listed below:

  • acetaminophen (Tylenol) and other pharmaceuticals;
  • acetone, solvents, paint removers;
  • fuels and fuel by-products;
  • heavy metals (mercury (dental amalgams, vaccines, tattoes), lead, cadmium, copper, etc.);
  • pesticides, herbicides;
  • nitrates and other food preservatives of chemical origin (in salami, hot dogs, hams, bologna, smoked foods, etc.);
  • artificial sweetener aspartame;
  • synthetic food dyes;
  • benzopyrenes (tobacco smoke, barbequed foods, fuel exhaust, etc.);
  • alcohol;
  • household chemicals (synthetically scented and colored detergents and fabric softeners, air fresheners, mothballs, mildew removers, cleaners and bleach, lawn and plant fertilizers, etc.);
  • housewares chemicals (non-stick coating of pans and skillets, plastic containers and linings of tin cans and other food packaging);
  • formaldehyde and styrene (photocopiers and toner printers);
  • chlorine in treated water;
  • medical X-rays;
  • UV radiation;
  • electromagnetic fields (EMF);
  • industrial pollutants.

Other external factors that deplete glutathione:

  • poor diet - in this case glutathione has to work hard to cover for missing or insufficient antioxidants, and the lack of glutathione cofactor vitamins and minerals impairs glutathione synthesis and proper functioning;
  • strenuous exercise - though not a toxic substance but produces a lot of free radicals within the body;
  • chronic stress;
  • anxiety;
  • depression;
  • light pollution which lowers glutathione levels by suppressing melatonin production at night (bedside night lights, street lights);
  • age - after the age of 20 natural glutathione production decreases at the rate of 10% per decade on average in healthy adults.

This list of what depletes glutathione in your body, though incomplete, is quite remarkable.

We cannot completely avoid all of these substances. But we can minimize our exposure in most instances by making simple changes to our daily habits.

There are two ways to do that:

1. To strive to reduce exposure to as many of the above toxins as possible. For tips on what simple changes you could make in your daily life visit our page Ways to Boost Your Immune System.

2. To raise glutathione to its optimum levels in order to maintain an adequate immune response. To learn about most known ways to raise your glutathione levels and their pros and cons visit our page How To Raise Glutathione.

Further reading:

What is glutathione deficiency?

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