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Benefits of Acetyl Glutathione (GSH)

What is acetyl glutathione?

Glutathione as we know is your body’s primary antioxidant for limiting cell and mitochondrial damage from free radicals. Glutathione is a tri-peptide of glutamine, cysteine and glycine and is produced and used in every cell in your body.

Unfortunately, the benefits can only come if your body has sufficient GSH stores, and your body not only produces less glutathione as you age, the molecule is also depleted if are dealing with any health issues, exposed to any toxins, pollution, some medications, even some unhealthy foods.

The answer is to supplement glutathione, but there has been some debate over the bio-availability of glutathione.

S-Acetyl glutathione is a variation on the widely available reduced, or L-glutathione.

Acetylation in bio-chemistry and pharmacology means attaching an acetyl functional group containing a methyl group single-bonded to a carbonyl. In the case of GSH it is typically attached to the reactive Sulfur atom.

Benefits of an acetyl group

Adding an acetyl function group to create S-acetyl-l-glutathione should protect the GSH molecule through the gut, and allow it to permeate the selective blood-brain barrier. An added benefit is the extra methyl group can theoretically bind to DNA providing DNA methylation benefits.

You’ve seen the process of acetylation many times, possibly the most common is acetylsalicylic acid commonly known as aspirin. Salicylic acid is a natural anti-inflammatory and providing the acetyl group increases it’s natural effectiveness, and assists the drug in reaching the brain more quickly than it otherwise would.


If you are looking to supplement GSH, then ACETYL-Glutathione is definitely the best choice. It’s more expensive than L-glutathione, but the anecdotal evidence is strong and the theory behind it is well founded.

The studies that do exist on S-Acetyl-l-Glutathione show good benefits in health.

  1. it’s been shown to normalize intracellular glutathione content in cultured fibroblasts from patients with a glutathione synthetase deficiency.

  2. It’s been shown to selectively induce apoptosis (cell death) in human lymphoma cancer cells.

  3. S-acetylglutathione in animal models has shown in vitro and in vivo benefits as an antiviral agent using tests that involve herpes simplex type one virus infection.

So ultimately our answer is… we think… YES Acetyl-glutathione works.

Detoxification and energy production

Glutathione is your body’s primary antioxidant, but being amino acid based it falls into the enzyme antioxidant category. This is important because this type of antioxidant can actually help stop free radical damage before it starts to create a chain of damage.

Mitochondria are our cell’s energy powerhouses or furnaces and are responsible for cellular energy and these organelles are found in every cell. Your mitochondria pump out energy and create ‘waste’ in the form of reactive oxygen species. Glutathione mops up the waste, more specifically mitochondrial glutathione that is created only in the liver.

By boosting GSH with acetyl glutathione in the liver it provides the resources needed to maintain levels of mitochondrial GSH, thus keeping a high energy production at a cellular level.

Glutathione can chelate certain metals and therefore can help remove heavy metals like mercury, which has been linked to conditions with an inhibited MTHFR or methylation pathway like Autism.

Acetyl glutathione should be absorbed easily and be able to cross the blood brain barrier, meaning it could provide detoxification, protection, and heavy metal chelation in the brain at a level other glutathione supplements may not provide.

Supplement acetyl glutathione

If you want to supplement glutathione, then Acetyl-Glutathione based supplements seem to be among the best at the moment. The theory behind acetylation and what we know about GSH means the process should maximize health benefits of glutathione.

Everything in the body is about balance and synergy, absorption, and antioxidant recycling. We recommend you combine the Acetyl-Glutathione with Ubiquinol (active CoQ10), Selenium, Curcumin, Zinc Picolinate, Quercetin, Vitamin C (ONLY L-Ascorbic Acid NOT D-Ascorbic Acid) and E, as well as active B6 (Pyridoxine 5’ Phosphate), B12 (methylcobalamin) and Folic Acid (methylfolate). The extra methyl donors will help those people with MTHFR or methylation problems, but keep Glutathione levels healthy and optimal.

We believe that Acetyl-glutathione presently represents the best glutathione supplement in oral form available today.

For more information and to buy ABSORBABLE ACETYLATED GLUTATHIONE please visit www.GlutathionePharmacist.com where you can purchase LabNaturals Acetyl Glutathione.

Susan Merenstein Pharmacist/Owner

Murray Avenue Apothecary and LabNaturals, Inc.



Mari M, 2009, Mitochondrial Glutathione, A key survival antioxidant – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19558212

Locigno R, 2002, S-acetyl-glutathione selectively induces apoptosis in human lymphoma cells through a GSH-independent mechanism. – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11743644

Okun JG, 2004, S-Acetylglutathione normalizes intracellular glutathione content in cultured fibroblasts from patients with glutathione synthetase deficiency. – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15617191

Vogel JU, 2005, Effects of S-acetylglutathione in cell and animal model of herpes simplex virus type 1 infection. – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14624358

Wu G, 2004, Glutathione metabolism and its implications for health. – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14988435?dopt=Abstract

Quadrilatero J. 2004, N-Acetyl-l-cysteine prevents exercise-induced intestinal lymphocyte apoptosis by maintaining intracellular glutathione levels and reducing mitochondrial membrane depolarization -http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006291X04010605