Glutathione is an antioxidant molecule that plays a crucial role in protecting cells from oxidative stress and damage caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS). It plays an essential role in many bodily processes, including detoxification, immune system function, and cellular health. Low levels of glutathione can lead to a variety of symptoms and health problems. Glutathione is so important in maintaining healthy skin I think it's important to make sure you are getting adequate amounts in order to help the skin recover from daily stresses and slow the aging process.
In the skin, glutathione helps to prevent hyperpigmentation by regulating the activity of the tyrosinase enzyme, which is responsible for producing melanin, the pigment that gives color to the skin, hair, and eyes. Tyrosinase is a copper-containing enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of tyrosine to dopaquinone, which is then converted into melanin. Glutathione helps to inhibit the activity of tyrosinase by reducing the copper ions required for its function, thereby reducing the production of melanin in the skin.
When the levels of glutathione in the body are low, the activity of tyrosinase increases, leading to an overproduction of melanin in the skin, which can result in hyperpigmentation, or darkening of the skin. This is particularly evident in conditions such as melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and age spots. In fact, age spots on the hands used to be referred to as liver spots. And they, in fact, were correct. It was due to a malfunction or lack of glutathione.
Low levels of glutathione have been linked to a variety of health problems, including: weak immune system, fatigue, inflammation, joint pain, muscle weakness, poor memory and concentration, increased susceptibility to infections and illnesses.
It's best to address gluathione levels before starting a skincare program for alleviating hyperpigmentation otherwise it will be more difficult to eradicate.
Both oral and intravenous forms of glutathione are available, and the choice depends on the person's needs and preferences. Oral glutathione supplements can be less expensive and easier to take, but their effectiveness can be limited due to the digestive process that breaks down the glutathione molecule. Intravenous glutathione, on the other hand, bypasses the digestive system and is absorbed directly into the bloodstream, which can result in a more significant increase in glutathione levels.
The optimal dose of glutathione depends on the individual's health status and needs. There is no established safe upper limit for glutathione intake, but most supplements contain 500-1000mg of glutathione per dose. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation
There are several ways to naturally increase glutathione levels in the body. Start with making sure you're eating a diet rich in sulfur-containing foods, such as garlic, onions, broccoli, and cauliflower. In addition, consider supplements that contain N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), alpha-lipoic acid, and selenium, which are all precursors to glutathione production.
- Engaging in regular exercise
- Getting enough sleep
- Reducing stress
To help alleviate hyperpigmentation, several ingredients can be applied topically, including:
- Vitamin C: As an antioxidant, vitamin C helps to protect the skin from oxidative stress, which can contribute to hyperpigmentation. It also helps to inhibit the activity of tyrosinase, reducing the production of melanin in the skin.
- Kojic acid: Kojic acid is a natural inhibitor of tyrosinase and can help to reduce the production of melanin in the skin.
- Niacinamide: Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, can help to regulate the production of melanin in the skin, reducing hyperpigmentation.
- Retinoids: Retinoids, such as retinol, can help to increase cell turnover in the skin, reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
- Licorice extract: Licorice extract contains a compound called glabridin, which has been shown to inhibit the activity of tyrosinase, reducing the production of melanin in the skin.
It's important to note that while these ingredients can be effective in reducing hyperpigmentation, the best way to tackle the problem is to start from within. Your skin is your largest organ so it only makes sense to give the body what it needs on the inside in order to correct poor skin function. You'll obtain best results from your skin care program when glutathione levels are optimized.