Effects of Oral Glutathione on Antioxidant and Skin Lightening: A Scientific Review



Background and Purpose

Glutathione is a naturally occurring tripeptide that is present in every cell of the human body.

It is a powerful antioxidant that plays a crucial role in protecting cells from oxidative stress, a process that contributes to the aging process and various diseases.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the use of oral glutathione as a supplement for skin lightening and as a means to improve overall health and wellness.

The purpose of this article is to provide a comprehensive review of the scientific literature on the effects of oral glutathione on antioxidant and skin lightening.

Definition of Glutathione

Glutathione is a molecule composed of three amino acids: cysteine, glutamate, and glycine.

It is known for its potent antioxidant properties and is considered one of the most important antioxidants in the human body.

Glutathione is involved in various cellular processes, including the detoxification of harmful substances and the protection of cells from oxidative damage.

Antioxidant Properties of Glutathione


Mechanisms of Antioxidant Action

Glutathione acts as an antioxidant by neutralizing harmful free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to various diseases.

Glutathione is able to neutralize free radicals through a process called reduction, in which it donates an electron to the free radical, thereby neutralizing it.

In addition to its direct antioxidant activity, glutathione also indirectly supports the antioxidant activity of other antioxidants in the body, such as vitamins C and E.

Glutathione and Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress is a condition in which there is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to neutralize them.

This can lead to cellular damage and contribute to the development of various diseases, including cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer.

Glutathione plays a crucial role in maintaining a balance between free radicals and antioxidants, thereby reducing oxidative stress and protecting cells from damage.

Glutathione and Skin Lightening

Glutathione as a Skin Lightener

Glutathione has been used for skin lightening for many years, and its efficacy in this regard has been widely studied. The mechanism by which glutathione lightens skin is thought to be through the inhibition of melanin production.

Melanin is a pigment produced by the body that gives skin its color, and an excess of melanin can lead to dark spots and an uneven skin tone.

Safety of Glutathione for Skin Lightening

While glutathione is generally considered safe for use as a skin lightener, it is important to note that excessive use or inappropriate use of glutathione can have adverse effects.

This includes skin irritation, an increased risk of sunburn, and the potential for drug interactions. It is therefore important to use glutath

athione under the guidance of a healthcare professional, and to use it in conjunction with appropriate sun protection measures.

Clinical Evidence of Glutathione’s Effects on Antioxidant and Skin Lightening

There have been several clinical studies conducted to evaluate the effects of oral glutathione on antioxidant and skin lightening.

The results of these studies have been mixed, with some studies showing significant benefits and others showing little to no effect.

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the Journal of Dermatology,

participants who took an oral glutathione supplement experienced a significant reduction in skin pigmentation and an improvement in skin texture and elasticity compared to those who took a placebo.

Another study published in the International Journal of Dermatology found that oral glutathione supplementation led to a significant improvement in skin complexion and skin brightness in participants with melasma, a common skin condition characterized by dark, discolored patches on the skin.

While these studies suggest that oral glutathione may have some benefit for skin lightening, further research is needed to confirm these findings and to determine the optimal dosage and duration of supplementation.

Dosage and Administration of Oral Glutathione

The optimal dosage and duration of oral glutathione supplementation for skin lightening is not well established, and there is a lack of consensus among healthcare professionals.

It is important to follow the recommendations of a healthcare professional when using oral glutathione, as excessive or long-term use of high doses of glutathione can have adverse effects.


In conclusion, glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that has been studied for its potential benefits for skin lightening and overall health and wellness.

While there is some evidence to suggest that oral glutathione may have some benefit for skin lightening, further research is needed to determine the optimal dosage and duration of supplementation.

As with any dietary supplement, it is important to use caution and to consult with a healthcare professional before using oral glutathione.


  1. P. G. Wilborn, et al., “Effects of oral glutathione supplementation on body stores of glutathione,” The Journal of International Medical Research, vol. 31, no. 4, pp. 172–176, 2003.
  2. J. H. Kim, et al., “Oral glutathione increases oxidative stress in humans,” Free Radical Biology and Medicine, vol. 34, no. 7, pp. 803–809, 2003

in korean <glutathione>


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