When our body begins to metabolize medication and supplements, different organs process the ingredients before they are finally released into the bloodstream. While the process may sound straightforward, different drugs dissolve at different rates, different formulas, and dosages break down differently – and, everybody’s body metabolizes medication uniquely. These are just a few of the many complexities behind the nature of drug absorption and metabolism.
The vast majority of medications or supplements are taken orally and are broken down within the gastrointestinal tract. Once the medication arrives, it is broken down by stomach acids before it passes through the liver and then enters the bloodstream. Certain medications may stay in the bloodstream longer – it all depends on the dosage and drug family consumed.
There are several factors at play when determining the overall time required for medication to fully digest. The following factors all impact an individual’s sensitivity to and absorption of medication:
• Time of day taken
• Level of physical activity
• Level of stress
• Content of stomach and PH level
• Presence of other medications.
Gastric acids may prevent or slow the breakdown of certain medications. Additionally, when a medication is metabolized in the liver, its potency will decrease along with its effectiveness before the medicine reaches the bloodstream.
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant found in every cell in the body. It is made of three types of molecules known as amino acids. Amino acids combine in different patterns to make all of the proteins in the body.
One unique thing about glutathione is that the body is able to make it in the liver, which is not true of most antioxidants.
Glutathione has many important functions, including:
• making DNA, the building blocks of proteins and cells
• supporting immune function
• forming sperm cells
• breaking down some free radicals
• helping certain enzymes function
• regenerating vitamins C and E
• transporting mercury out of the brain
• helping the liver and gallbladder deal with fats
• assisting regular cell death (a process known as apoptosis)
Researchers have found links between low levels of glutathione and some diseases. It is possible to increase glutathione levels through oral or intravenous (IV) supplementation.
Another option is to take supplements that activate the natural glutathione production in the body. These supplements include:
• milk thistle
• N-acetyl cysteine
• superoxide dismutase
Reducing toxin exposure and increasing the intake of healthful foods are also excellent ways to naturally increase glutathione levels.
How should I use Glutathione Supplements?
There is not enough scientific evidence to determine the proper dose of Glutathione. Some suggest that supplementing with N-acetylcysteine (NAC, or whey) may be more effective. Various doses have been studied in research investigating specific medical conditions. The proper dose for you may depend on several factors, including your age, sex, and medical history.
In some cases, healthcare professionals administer glutathione through the use of an IV to treat atherosclerosis, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and side effects of chemotherapy.
The recommended dose of glutathione is as follows:
Oral: 60 to 500 mg per day
Inhalation: 600 mg twice a day through inhalation
Intravenous injection: 1.5 g/m² IV on days 2 to 5 of chemotherapy before administration of the chemotherapy drugs
In general, the standard glutathione dosage per day is 20-40mg per kilogram of body weight for 3 to 6 months. If you’re considering the use of glutathione for a condition, make sure to consult your healthcare provider before starting your supplement regimen. Self-treating a chronic condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. Taking glutathione long-term has been linked to lower zinc levels. Inhaled glutathione may trigger asthma attacks in people who have asthma.
How many days does it take for glutathione to work?
Generally, it takes about 3 weeks (21days) before you can start seeing the benefits of glutathione. For those using glutathione as a skin-brightening agent, visible results on light-medium brown skin take about 1-3 months, dark brown skin, 3-6 months, and very dark skin takes about 6-12 months.
However, how quickly you see the benefits and improvements in your skin will depend on how consistently you follow up with your treatments, your general health, and your metabolism.
How to take glutathione effectively
The best time to take glutathione to maximize its benefits and minimize side effects is at night 2-3 hours after the last meal for better absorption. This can also help you sleep better because it has repeatedly been found in multiple studies that people with higher levels of glutathione are better able to easily fall asleep, wake up on time, and feel refreshed in the morning. Glutathione is essential to helping the body detoxify itself while sleeping, which helps ensure its optimal function.
Can you overdose on glutathione?
Yes, you can overdose on glutathione even though the lethal dose (LD50) benchmark indicates that it is non-toxic. Taking glutathione long-term has been linked to lower zinc levels. Inhaled glutathione may trigger asthma attacks in people who have asthma. Symptoms may include wheezing. Glutathione is generally a safe ingredient for use as a dietary supplement.
How Long Does Glutathione Stay In Your System?
Glutathione can be administered orally, by inhalation, or by intravenous or intramuscular injection. There are several factors that come into play when estimating how long glutathione will stay in your system because every patient has physiology unique to them. Here are some major factors you should consider when trying to understand how long glutathione will stay in your body:
• Age: Typically, the younger you are, the more efficient your body functions are. The more efficient your body functions, the faster glutathione will be removed from your system.
• Amount: The higher the dose of glutathione you have been taking, the longer Glutathione will take to be removed from your system.
• Genetics: Genes predispose people to different metabolic functions, which is a key factor in how your body processes medications like glutathione, for this reason, your genetic makeup comes into play when estimating how long glutathione will remain in your system.
• Kidney and liver functions: The liver and kidneys eliminate everything you ingest, and glutathione is no exception. If your liver or kidneys are damaged, it will most likely take longer for your body to remove the glutathione from your system.
• Metabolism: Your metabolism determines how quickly you process foods, liquids, and drugs such as glutathione. If your metabolism is slow, it will take longer for your body to process and eliminate glutathione from its system than for someone with a fast metabolism.
• Usage frequency: The longer you have been taking glutathione, the longer it will remain in your system. For example, it will take longer for someone who has taken glutathione for several years to remove Glutathione from the body than someone who has only been taking glutathione for a few months.
Glutathione has an average half-life of 1–2 days. Generally, about 94 to 97% of a drug will have been eliminated after 4 to 5 half-lives. Thus, it follows that after 4 to 5 half-lives, the plasma concentrations of a given drug will be below a clinically relevant concentration and thus will be considered eliminated.
This means that glutathione will clear out of a person’s system within 10 days (approximately 240 hours). Glutathione conjugates formed in the liver are excreted intact in bile or they are converted to mercapturic acids in the kidneys, which are highly water-soluble and excreted in your urine. Glutathione reductase is responsible for maintaining the supply of reduced glutathione.
Can glutathione be detected in a drug test?
Yes, although glutathione is not usually screened for in drug tests, it can be detected in drug tests that specifically include it as part of the panel of drugs being tested. GSH-Glo Assay is a luminescent-based assay for the detection and quantification of glutathione in cells or in various biological samples. A change in GSH levels is important when assessing toxicological responses and an indicator of oxidative stress, potentially leading to apoptosis or cell death.
What happens when you stop using glutathione?
When you stop taking or using glutathione, you are likely to lose the enhanced tissue repair, detoxification, and immune-boosting effects it provides. Your skin color may or may not return to its original state and there is a tendency for you to be darker if you expose yourself to sunlight and other harsh environmental elements.
Is glutathione a banned substance?
No, glutathione is not a prohibited substance in sports even though it has performance-boosting effects. For athletes and those who often partake in exercise, glutathione and glutathione precursors is an essential nutrient.