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Glutathione Absorption: Oral Intake Challenges and Solutions

Article Summary:

  • Ease of delivery, in the long run, makes oral intake — over intravenous, intramuscular, intranasal, and nebulized modes — the preferred option for a glutathione supplement. 
  • Although glutathione supplementation is well-tolerated, the limited absorption of an oral supplement can reduce its efficacy. 
  • Targeted delivery of encapsulated glutathione molecules in nano-sized particles at desired points in the gastrointestinal tract enhances the absorption and subsequent bioavailability of glutathione in the body.  

Glutathione — a tripeptide compound comprised of three amino acids (cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine), is produced in the liver and exists in every cell in the body in reduced (GSH) and oxidized (glutathione disulfide, or GSSG) states. Known as the body’s “master antioxidant,” glutathione acts as a free radical scavenger and detoxifying agent; depleted levels indicate oxidative stress — an imbalance between oxidant (harmful) and antioxidant agents in the body. 

Glutathione levels can decline as the result of several factors, including age, poor lifestyle and diet, and pathological conditions. Incorporating a healthy diet along with a glutathione nutritional supplement can enhance internal glutathione production.* Below, we discuss the major challenges to absorbing glutathione via oral intake and how Tesseract’s unique supplement formulation ensures optimized glutathione absorption in the body.      

Factors Behind Poor Glutathione Absorption Via Oral Intake 

Glutathione is present in millimolar concentrations in the cell. The intracellular glutathione concentrations range between 0.5 to 15 mM. However, its relative distribution among cellular compartments remains elusive as oxidized glutathione (GSSH) rapidly recycles back to reduced glutathione (GSH) in key cell organelles. 

Glutathione supplementation is well-tolerated with no adverse side effects and can be delivered in several ways, including intravenous, intramuscular, nebulized, intranasal, and oral modes, although oral glutathione supplementation is commonly preferred. However, clinical evidence demonstrating a rise in blood or intracellular glutathione levels from ingesting an oral supplement is limited. Using S-Actetyl-Glutathione as an oral supplement makes it easier to quantify intracellular glutathione.   

Let’s take a closer look at the limiting factors in the body’s absorption of an oral glutathione supplement, including its rapid metabolism and excretion.  

  • Rapid Glutathione Metabolism
    Studies1 indicate that oral glutathione is primarily absorbed in the upper jejunum — the second part of the small intestine. Under the action of the enzyme γ-glutamyltransferase, glutathione undergoes rapid metabolism in the gastrointestinal tract. Further, a significant amount of the enzyme gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) in the human GI tract recycles GSH precursors. The rapid glutathione metabolism and the recycling of GSH precursors limit its intact absorption from an oral supplement.   
  • Excretion of Circulating Glutathione
    Extracellular glutathione conjugates formed in the liver are excreted intact in bile or are converted to water-soluble mercapturic acids in the kidneys to be excreted in urine. 

These challenges to oral glutathione absorption are best addressed with a supplement formulation that enhances the absorption and subsequent bioavailability of glutathione molecules.    

A Glutathione Oral Supplement for Enhanced Absorption  

SafeCell®, a proprietary formulation developed by Tesseract Medical Research, contains S-Actetyl-Glutathione which makes it easier to quantify intracellular glutathione. This Tesseract supplement formulation utilizes the revolutionary CyLoc® - DexKey® nutrient delivery technology to achieve targeted delivery and enhanced absorption of acetyl glutathione molecules in the gastrointestinal tract. The CyLoc® technology encases each glutathione molecule in a dextrin fiber delivery cage to maintain the integrity of the molecules until they reach the desired point of delivery in the body. The DexKey® technology accompanies each encased CyLoc® molecule and breaks the dextrin fiber cage at the desired release points.  

With the unprecedented absorption of acetylated glutathione, SafeCell® promotes the optimal function of other antioxidants, modulates oxidative stress, and supports the body’s natural detoxification pathways, resulting in optimal cellular and neurological functions.*   

Tesseract Medical Research is a pioneer in developing supplement formulations with enhanced palatability and optimized absorption to accomplish ‘micro-dosing’ — creating powerful and rapid physiological responses with lower amounts of active ingredients. Contact us to learn more about how to maximize glutathione absorption in the body with our breakthrough ‘master antioxidant’ supplement.

Works Cited:

1 Hagen TM, Wierzbicka GT, Bowman BB, et al. Am J Physiol. 1990 Oct;259(4 Pt 1):G530-5. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.

2 Witschi A, Reddy S, Stofer B, Lauterburg BH. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1992;43(6):667-9. doi: 10.1007/BF02284971.

Al Czap, Founder | Tesseract

Al Czap has more than four decades of professional experience in preventative medicine. He founded Thorne Research in 1984 (sold in 2010) and he published Alternative Medicine Review for 17 years beginning in 1996. AMR was a highly acclaimed, peer-reviewed, and indexed medical journal. Al was the first to recognize the need for hypoallergenic ingredients and to devise methods of manufacture for and delivery of hypoallergenic products to underserved patient populations. His work has greatly impacted those with impaired immune and digestive systems and compromised health due to environmental exposures.

The advanced formulations based on our revolutionary, patented, and patent-pending technology are only available through Tesseract. No other medical, pharmaceutical, or supplement company is licensed to utilize our proprietary technology.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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