What is Acetyl-Glutathione?

Glutathione is a tripeptide composed of three amino acids: cysteine, glycine, and glutamic acid (or glutamate). Often called the “master antioxidant,” glutathione is naturally produced in the human body. Its most concentrated levels are found in the pancreas, kidneys, and liver, but it is present in every cell in every organ. It is the most protective antioxidant our bodies make.

Why Acetyl-Glutathione?

Glutathione provides detoxification and antioxidant protection, plus it boosts the action and recycling of other antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, alpha-lipoic acid, and CoQ10. One important role it has is to protect the mitochondria power-plants in our cells. It also supports cysteine storage, DNA construction, immune function, production of sperm cells, cell growth and death, cell communication, enzyme function, and other vital activities.

Glutathione is not absorbed well from foods and, taken as an oral supplement, plain glutathione is almost entirely destroyed by digestive enzymes in the stomach and small intestines. However, binding the acetyl molecule to glutathione produces a chemical that survives well in the digestive tract. Taking acetyl-glutathione has been shown to boost levels of glutathione in the body and may help improve and preserve health in a number of ways.

Benefits of Acetyl-Glutathione

There have been many studies on the benefits of acetyl-glutathione supplementation.,. Low glutathione levels are associated with chronic diseases and aging.Oxidative damage is the cause or effect of almost every chronic or progressive disease.. Glutathione is a very strong antioxidant, with high concentrations in every cell of the healthy body. Restoring levels to a healthy range helps the body protect itself and do its own healing work. Here are examples of how acetyl-glutathione can benefit health: :


Balancing glutathione levels is critical in ridding the body of toxins. Strengthening the glutathione system improves all three phases of the body’s natural detoxification. Glutathione neutralizes the free radicals produced by Phase I liver metabolism. It is part of the Phase II reactions that make toxins water-soluble so they can be transported and eliminated by the kidneys in Phase III. Glutathione is also critical in transporting mercuryout of cells and the brain, preventing damage to important body systems.

Aging Defense

The less glutathione in your body, the more cellular breakdown and apoptosis (cell death) occurs.  Cell damage can lower resistance to disease, decrease energy, even contribute to wrinkles and hyperpigmentation in the skin. Acetyl-glutathione may  slow or reverse these effects.

Energy Production

When mitochondria are attacked and damaged by oxidative molecules, they slow down and make less adenosine triphosphate (ATP), in turn slowing down the functioning of the entire cell. The patient can feel fatigued, lack of mental focus, brain fog, aches, and pains. This condition is called “mitochondrial dysfunction” and occurs when glutathione levels fall too low. Autoimmune diseases like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Addison’s, and Crohn’s all involve mitochondrial dysfunction that may be improved by raising glutathione levels.

Brain Health

Neurons in our brain become damaged as we age, leaving us with brains that don’t function quite as well as they used to. The process is unavoidable, but glutathione plays a role in protecting these neurons possibly slowing or even reversing  some of the damage. Certain brain disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s show high levels of oxidative stress and low levels of active glutathione.

Cardiovascular Health

Heart disease starts with plaque buildup in the arteries. Our natural glutathione inactivates the various free radicals and chemicals that lipid oxidize cholesterol particles in the blood leading to plaque formation. In this way, it may lower the risk of heart attacks.


Research shows that glutathione preps white blood cells to produce more infection-fighting substances like interleukins-2 and -12 and interferon-gamma, giving it an important role in combating both bacterial and viral infections. Multiple studies have shown that glutathione boosts immunity. It can be used to benefit immunocompromised patients and those with chronic diseases such as AIDS, hepatitis, and Lyme fight off infection.


Chronic inflammation is present in virtually every chronic illness. Research has found that glutathione’s influence on our white blood cells  ensures the inflammatory response  is strong when needed and subsides when it’s no longer useful. Boosting glutathione levels may bring chronic inflammation under control. In a disease like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), healthy glutathione levels could protect lung tissue from inflammation, reduce long-term damage, and maintain  proper lung function.

How Belmar Can Help

If you’re a clinician interested in prescribing compound medications to your patients, contact us for information on how to get started and to access all of our clinical resources. If you are new to compounding, you may find our page on How to Write a Compounding Prescription helpful. You can also visit our Treatment Options page to find a formulary and learn more about all the medication solutions available from Belmar.