Is Liposomal Glutathione the Best Antioxidant for You?
Liposomal glutathione is the best antioxidant you can supplement with, particularly with the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic raging across the world, but it’s expensive. Perhaps a glutathione precursor is the better bet, both for better absorption and lower cost.
If you’ve never heard of “liposomal glutathione”, this post will be an eye-opener, especially if you’re into antioxidants, a market that was valued at $2.9 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach $4.5 billion by 2022. 
Obviously, people love their antioxidants, and there are some sound reasons for this, especially if your various lifestyle habits lend themselves to produce free radicals. Or if you’re concerned about the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic that has rocked the world, and the lives of millions of people.
If that describes you, you’ll want to learn how liposomal glutathione can generally help reduce your free radical burden, and specifically help improve your immunity from viral infection and disease.
Glutathione is produced in organs throughout your body, like the lungs, liver and kidneys. It’s best known for its role as the “Master Antioxidant”.
Antioxidants protect tissues from free radicals, which your body creates as a byproduct of normal metabolism, including detoxification of toxins produced by your body (endogenous), and those encountered in your environment (exogenous).
The immune system can create many endogenously created free radicals while it’s fighting invading pathogens, such as viruses or other microbes. Without sufficient levels of antioxidants like glutathione, cells can get damaged, which propagate further inflammation.
Why is glutathione so important?
- Glutathione is a key antioxidant itself, and it also helps regenerate other antioxidants.
- Glutathione plays a regulatory role in the immune system, and it may have antiviral properties.
- Glutathione inhibits the product of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which might help mitigate the “cytokine storm” prevalent with COVID-19 disease, sometimes resulting in death.
- It’s suspected that glutathione depletion is associated with increased susceptibility to infections, including influenza, and may contribute to the pathogenesis of inflammatory lung conditions like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
- In animal models of influenza, glutathione deficiency is associated with an increased risk of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and sepsis. (Sepsis is caused by an immune system overworked from fighting an infection.The large number of chemicals released into the blood during this process triggers widespread inflammation.)
Glutathione is so important to our health that our body makes it, but sometimes not enough, which is why people turn to supplementation.
Liposomal glutathione refers to the form of a type of glutathione supplement that’s been enhanced for bioavailability. Without the addition of liposomes (tiny phospholipid molecules), not much of the glutathione you take will get absorbed into your bloodstream. That’s not good if your body is making an insufficient amount of glutathione, or it’s being depleted, which is why you would need liposomal glutathione supplementation.
There’s a bewildering number of reasons that your glutathione levels can get depleted. As mentioned, these can be categorized as endogenous and exogenous, or you may see them being referred to as internal and external factors:
- Internal factors include depletion of glutathione from an excessive need to help shore up a compromised immune system, or repairing our DNA, and protecting our cells from oxidative stress (free radicals).
- External factors are the most significant reason glutathione levels are diminished, and these include pollutants, stress, poor diet and age.
These internal and external glutathione-depleting factors must be reckoned with so that your health is not impacted by a lack of this vital Master Antioxidant.
See More Internal and External Factors
As mentioned, what depletes glutathione (GSH) levels in our bodies can be put into two categories – internal and external factors.
Internal factors include the increasing need for glutathione as an important part of various processes in our bodies, such as, food for our immune system, recycling of vitamin C, vitamin E and alpha lipoic acid, repairing our DNA, and protecting our cells from oxidative stress to mention a few.
It’s the many external factors that depletes glutathione the most. Many toxic and harmful substances that we are exposed to on a daily basis require considerable amounts of glutathione for detoxification.
These substances include:
acetaminophen (Tylenol) and other pharmaceuticals;
acetone, solvents, paint removers;
fuels and fuel by-products;
heavy metals (mercury (dental amalgams, vaccines, tattoes), lead, cadmium, copper, etc.); pesticides, herbicides;
nitrates and other food preservatives of chemical origin (in salami, hot dogs, hams, bologna, smoked foods, etc.);
artificial sweetener aspartame;
synthetic food dyes;
benzopyrenes (tobacco smoke, barbequed foods, fuel exhaust, etc.);
household chemicals (synthetically scented and colored detergents and fabric softeners, air fresheners, mothballs, mildew removers, cleaners and bleach, lawn and plant fertilizers, etc.);
housewares chemicals (non-stick coating of pans and skillets, plastic containers and linings of tin cans and other food packaging);
formaldehyde and styrene (photocopiers and toner printers);
chlorine in treated water;
electromagnetic fields (EMF);
Other external factors that deplete glutathione:
poor diet – in this case glutathione has to work hard to cover for missing or insufficient antioxidants, and the lack of glutathione cofactor vitamins and minerals impairs glutathione synthesis and proper functioning; strenuous exercise – though not a toxic substance but produces a lot of free radicals within the body;
light pollution which lowers glutathione levels by suppressing melatonin production at night (bedside night lights, street lights);
age – after the age of 20 natural glutathione production decreases at the rate of 10% per decade on average in healthy adults.
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The fast answer to how liposomal glutathione is useful for COVID-19 is that it can improve your immune system’s response to invading pathogens, like SARS-CoV-2 by regulating its inflammation response to infection, particularly by modulating the inflammatory response.
As my Subscribers know, I’ve been whittling away on the creation of a course about COVID-19 Immunity. There’s a reason why some people hardly know that they’ve been infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus), because they are asymptomatic; meaning, their bodies don’t express any associated disease (COVD-19).
To put it simply, the reason is the immune system.
Young, healthy people typically have no, or minor, ill effects from this virus because their immune system has the capacity to modulate itself so it does not overreact to an invading pathogen like SARS-CoV-2 and produce excess inflammation that may create downstream issues like the cytokine storm.
I cover this in “Step 4” in Module 2 of my COVID-19 Immunity course, which addresses how to build your foundational immunity to SARS-CoV-2.
There’s five steps in this module:
- Step 1: Avoid (vs fight) infection
- Step 2: Reduce baseline inflammation
- Step 3: Consume the necessary nutraceuticals
- Step 4: Target antioxidant support (which I cover below)
- Step 5: Address age and comorbidity risks
I’m going to show you what’s covered in the course in Step 4: Target antioxidant support. The focus here is on boosting glutathione, either through liposomal glutathione supplementation, or by using a glutathione precursor called NAC, short for N-acetylcysteine.
There’s some repetition to what you’ve already read above, but it bears repeating.
The Damage Done By Free Radicals
The value that glutathione has to the pandemic we’re experiencing begins with its capacity as a powerful antioxidant to suppress oxidation. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, and lead to chain reactions that may damage our cells.
Free radicals, sometimes referred to as reactive oxygen species, are unstable atoms that can cause damage to cells and lead to illnesses and the aging process. These atoms, usually oxygen atoms, have unpaired electrons, those infinitesimally small particles that revolve around atoms.
As a result of these unpaired electrons, free radicals seek out and take electrons from other molecules, which oftentimes causes damage to that second molecule, and so on in a chain reaction.
When a free radical molecule does this, it is called “oxidation.” A molecule that has had its electron “stolen” from a free radical has been “oxidized.” Molecules that have been oxidized are now transformed into free radicals themselves and will seek to interact with another healthy molecule, thereby creating a vicious chain reaction of electrons in the body. When the body has undergone excessive oxidation, or more oxidation than can be combated, say with antioxidants, it’s said to be undergoing “oxidative stress.”
So, how do antioxidants help in this situation?
Antioxidants are molecules in cells that prevent free radicals from taking electrons and causing damage by providing an electron to a free radical without becoming destabilized themselves. This stops the free radical chain reaction.
Many of us take antioxidant supplements, perhaps vitamin C being the most popular, but it can’t compare to glutathione. Glutathione is the most important and powerful antioxidant, and commands an important role in our quest for protecting ourselves from infection and minimizing the severity of symptoms should we get infected.
That’s because the biological role of glutathione in respiratory illnesses, such as acute respiratory distress syndrome specifically, and inflammation generally has been tested, and is well known. 
Acute Respiratory Syndrome Produces Excessive Free Radical Damage
You may have heard that acute respiratory distress syndrome occurs when fluid builds up in the tiny, elastic air sacs in your lungs called alveoli. The fluid keeps the lungs from filling with enough air, which means less oxygen reaches the bloodstream. This deprives the organs of the oxygen they need to function.
In acute respiratory distress syndrome, there is extensive overproduction of free radicals to the extent that the antioxidants your body makes are overwhelmed, resulting in oxidative cell damage.
What scientists have learned, however, is that people with acute respiratory deficient disorder can get significant benefit if supplemented with the antioxidant compound N-acetylcysteine, which is often referred to as “NAC”.
N-acetylcysteine comes from the amino acid L-cysteine. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. The reason we’re talking about NAC is that it’s a glutathione precursor; meaning that NAC makes more glutathione. In this case, N-acetylcysteine increases glutathione levels by providing the liver with more of the amino acid cysteine, which increases glutathione synthesis.
The primary reason that NAC helps people recover from acute respiratory deficient disorder is because it increases the amount of glutathione that our body makes. 
Research and clinical trials show that Glutathione primes white cells, such as natural killer cells and T cells, your body’s front-line infection fighters. Glutathione-enhanced T cells are able to produce more infection-fighting substances, controlling both bacterial and viral infections.
Glutathione modulates the behavior of many immune system cells, affecting adaptive immunity and protecting against microbial, viral and parasitic infections. It can also double the ability of natural killer cells to be cytotoxic — meaning, to kill invading pathogens, like viruses. [6,7,8]
And Glutathione strongly influences the amount of inflammation in the lung, and other critically important functions of both the innate and adaptive parts of the immune system, particularly involving the mechanisms of modulating the behavior of immune system cells when there’s a viral attack. [9,10,11,12,13]
This is what we want our immune system to do… we want it to strongly react to a virus, but not over react and thereby produce an overwhelming amount of inflammation that is hard to recover from.
It is if you want to save money and are confident that that NAC will be an effective precursor of glutahione, which typically is the case.
Since you can supplement with glutathione and NAC, so why choose NAC over Glutathione when the objective is to make more Glutathione?
For two reasons:
- Glutathione is not readily absorbed into the bloodstream, but NAC is, and
- Glutathione is significantly more expensive than NAC.
How to get NAC:
- Foods: High protein foods
- Supplements: N-acetylcysteine capsules
NAC is in most protein-rich foods, such as chicken, turkey, yogurt, cheese, eggs, sunflower seeds and legumes.
But given that our aim here is to bump up glutathione levels to improve our immunity to SARS-CoV-2, consider using a NAC supplement.
If you decide to boost your glutathione level directly, rather than via the NAC precursor, you can eat more glutathione-rich foods, or use a supplement that is tweaked for better absorption in your body.
How to get Glutathione:
- Foods: Asparagus, avocado, cabbage
- Supplements: Liposomal form of glutathione
There are a handful of foods that naturally contain glutathione, including asparagus, avocado, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli, garlic, chives, tomatoes, cucumber, almonds, and walnuts.
But there are issues with increasing your glutathione levels with food. A variety of factors can affect the levels of this vital nutrient, including storage and cooking.
So, if you choose glutathione over NAC, or want to take it along with NAC, my suggestion, again, is to choose a liposomal form of glutathione to improve its bioavailability.
A liposome is a minute spherical sac of phospholipid molecules enclosing a water droplet. They can be used as a vehicle to improve the bioavailability of nutrients and pharmaceutical drugs.
Several supplement brands offer liposomal glutathione, and they’re your best bet for getting this vitally important antioxidant absorbed by your body. Or, as I said before, you can use the Glutathione precursor, NAC.I don’t supplement with any form of glutathione, but if I did, I’d choose a product like the Core Med Science, or Quicksilver brand.
Although I don’t supplement with glutathione, I do want to ensure that my glutatione levels are up to par, especially during this pandemic, so I use the precursor, NAC.
Remember these six points:
- Oxidative stress caused by free radicals diminishes the ability of your immune system to present a modulated, balanced response to a pathogen, like SARS-CoV-2.
- Antioxidants are molecules that can donate an electron to a free radical without making themselves unstable. This causes the free radical to stabilize and become less reactive.
- The Master Antioxidant in our body is Glutathione. Our body makes it, but sometimes in insufficient amounts to deal with an overload of oxidative stress, or too much toxicity for the liver to manage, or when a virus burden overwhelms the immune system.
- Glutathione has been well studied, and is a proven supplement to support immunity, especially in regard to helping improve acute respiratory syndrome severity and helping to improve immune system modulation.
- You can supplement with Glutathione directly, but because it has poor bioavailability, choose the liposomal form. This helps absorption, but doesn’t make it less expensive.
- You can boost Glutathione with a precursor amino acid called N-acetylcysteine, which is less expensive than Glutathione.
So ends my take on liposomal glutathione and its precursor, NAC.
I gave you a peak at a tiny part of my forthcoming course on COVID-19 Immunity. If you’re not already a Subscriber, get on board. You’ll get notified when the course is available, and also receive my Sunday Newsletter and more.