What are Glutathione Side Effects?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2019
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Produced by the body and found in food sources, glutathione is well known for helping to protect the body against a range of diseases and conditions. Since it can provide many health benefits, some people take supplements to boost its levels in the body. While glutathione is generally well tolerated, side effects are possible with any type of supplement. Among the possible side effects are shortness of breath, itchiness, and allergy symptoms. Though rare, chest pain and skin whitening are possible glutathione side effects as well.

Glutathione is a type of protein molecule that the body produces on its own. It is also naturally present in many of the foods people eat on a regular basis. For example, it is found in fruits and vegetables, and it is also present in significant quantities in meats that are freshly prepared. Many scientists assert that most people are likely to get enough dietary glutathione from food sources. Those who make poor nutritional choices, however, may consider taking a supplement.


In most cases, people who take glutathione don’t have to worry about adverse reactions to supplementation, but it is possible for a person to experience glutathione side effects in the form of an allergy. For example, some people may experience such symptoms as itching, rashes, or hives when taking it. Some people may notice swelling that can be attributed to an allergy as well. Additionally, such side effects as shortness of breath and chest pain may develop. If an individual experiences these glutathione side effects, he should discontinue use of the supplement and seek medical attention and advice.

Though it is rare, some people may experience glutathione side effects that affect the skin’s coloring or zinc absorption. When taken in very large doses, it is possible for glutathione to cause whitening of the skin. There have also been reports of a possible link between glutathione found in medications and zinc deficiency.

It’s worth noting that some nutritional experts assert that glutathione is not well absorbed when taken by mouth. As such, they state, supplementing with it may not increase its levels in the body or provide much real health benefit. To get around this, some people opt to supplement with precursors, which are substances that help the body to produce more glutathione. Taking glutathione through a vein is thought to be more effective, but this is not a probable choice for most people.


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Post 6

True! Some Asian women do take glutathione to achieve that whiter skin. Most Asians have brown complexion and wanted to have that fairer skin. While Americans and other nations that have whiter skin, are aiming for a darker skin. Only large doses can make your skin whiter in very short period of time like 500mg capsule or 700mg capsule taking it once to 3 times a day.

Post 5

@ddljohn-- Be careful with glutathione. I heard that nausea, stomach cramps and diarrhea are signs that there is too much glutathione in the body and that it's becoming toxic.

Post 4

@ddljohn-- My son experienced the skin whitening side effect of glutathione, but only after three glutathione IV drips in one month. So it takes a very high dose of glutathione to experience this side effect. I don't think the tablet supplements can cause it, but then again I'm not a doctor.

I heard that in Asia, some people, especially women are taking glutathione injections for fairer skin. I think that's terrible.

Post 3

I can't believe that glutathione can cause skin whitening. I had never heard of it before. Has anyone experienced this side effect? And what dose were you on?

The only side effect I've experienced from glutathione supplements is nausea. Thankfully, it only lasts a short while.

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