Glutathione for Skin: What are the Benefits?

Skin that is protected from harmful environmental stressors is healthy, smooth and beautiful. The biggest stressor that our skin faces regularly is the sun. As the summer approaches many of us will be spending hours outdoors and our skin will need protection.

Whether your time is spent watching little league baseball games, hanging at the pool or exercising outside — we will all be facing our share of UVA and UVB rays whenever we spend time outside.

Taking care of your skin should be on everyone’s radar, the skin is the body’s biggest organ that serves many important functions. Protecting the skin from the damage is essential to looking your best and preventing long-term damage. Signs of premature skin aging such as wrinkles, age spots, and decreased elasticity can be detected as early as your 20’s or 30’s.

There is a lot you can do to protect your skin, from wearing sunscreen to eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. But the body’s most powerful antioxidant, called glutathione, is another powerful protector of the skin that you may want to consider adding to your routine.

 

What Does Glutathione Do for the Skin?

Glutathione (also known as GSH), our body’s “master antioxidant” has been widely researched for its ability to provide cells with protection against numerous things including oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is damage caused by molecules called free radicals, which are triggered by exposure to UV rays from the sun. They are the reason why skin starts to look saggy and wrinkled as we age.

GSH is made up of amino acids: glutamine, cysteine, and glycine. It is the body’s most powerful antioxidant, present in every cell of the body.

It helps play a role in energy production, protects DNA, and helps the body naturally detoxify. It may play a role in longevity as well, as people who live longer tend to have higher levels of glutathione in their cells.

The ability of GSH to fight free radicals also translates to the skin. When the skin is damaged by these molecules this leads to inflammation, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. Restoring glutathione levels with a healthy diet can help keep some of these signs of skin aging at bay.

Researchers found that intracellular GSH is involved in protecting human skin cells against a wide range of solar radiation damage and suggest that while free radical scavenging is involved at the shortest wavelength, GSH is even more involved in protection against radiation at longer wavelengths.

In another study, results suggest that a significant fraction of even UVB damage can be healed by GSH inside the cells, and that a major role of GSH in human skin cells is to protect them from the sometimes damaging action of sunlight.

 

Glutathione and Skin Care

You might be surprised to learn that one of the best ways to harness glutathione benefits for skin is not to take a GSH supplement.

One of the best ways to naturally increase your levels of GSH is to provide your body with the key precursors it needs to produce it naturally. While glutathione supplements have benefits, they are poorly absorbed and don’t work as well as allowing your body to make this powerful antioxidant on its own.

Maintaining a healthy diet and making sure your daily protein intake is adequate will ensure you are optimizing your glutathione production. Including foods like; beans, nuts, meat, chicken, fish, tofu, eggs, and dairy are a few sources that will help you meet those daily needs. Whey protein concentrate is another great way to do just that! The three amino acids necessary are; cysteine, glutamine and glycine, which are plentiful in whey.

A whey protein concentrate, like our Proserum®, contains exceptionally high amounts of non-denatured cysteine, glutamine and a full range of proteins that enhance immune function.

To reap the benefits of whey protein to enhance your body’s natural glutathione, consider adding it to your daily routine. Whey can be enjoyed in smoothies, protein bars, and other recipes. For ideas, visit our recipe collection.

When selecting a whey protein, always choose high quality whey concentrate for the most benefits. Our Vital Whey is derived from cows that are grass-fed on natural pastures. It is GMO free, hormone treatment free, pesticide and chemical free and undergoes minimal processing.  Our Vital Whey comes in three delicious flavors: natural, vanilla and cocoa.

Whey is just one way to enhance glutathione production in the body. Eating a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, and quality protein gives your body the nutrition it needs to produce this powerful antioxidant. With your glutathione levels up, your body and beautiful skin will thank you!

 

References

  1. Albrecht S, Jung S, Müller R, et al. Skin type differences in sun‐induced oxidative stress. Br J Dermatol. 2019;180(3):e71-e71.
  2. Lang CA. The Impact of Glutathione on Health and Longevity. J Anti Aging Med. 2001;4(2):137-144.
  3. Tyrrell RM, Pidoux M. Endogenous glutathione protects human skin fibroblasts against the cytotoxic action of UVB, UVA and near-visible radiations. Photochem Photobiol. 1986;44(5):561-564.
  4. Tyrrell RM, Pidoux M. Correlation between endogenous glutathione content and sensitivity of cultured human skin cells to radiation at defined wavelengths in the solar ultraviolet range. Photochem Photobiol. 1988;47(3):405-412.

 

Jaime Rangel, RD

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