Glutathione is a powerful and versatile antioxidant that can fight inflammation, scavenge free radicals, and capture toxins like heavy metals.
It’s a key ingredient to many detox diets thanks to these health-promoting abilities, and it’s quite popular for boosting your ability to recover from the oxidative stress of exercise, and it’s been investigated as an anti-aging immune system booster as well.
If fighting oxidative damage, improving exercise recovery, and augmenting your immune system are what you’re looking for, read on: we’ve ranked the ten best glutathione supplements on the market.
Last updated: January 3, 2023
Glutathione supplements considered: 26
Hours of research: 40
Experts reviewed: 10
Scientific papers referenced: 16
1. Jarrow Formulas Reduced Glutathione
Jarrow Formulas makes a 500 mg glutathione supplement that’s contained in a vegetable cellulose capsule. It’s pretty simply designed and at a high enough dose to be effective, all without any unnecessary additives.
It’s an all-around strong source of glutathione regardless of the purpose you need it for.
2. aSquared Nutrition Reduced Glutathione
aSquared Nutrition has a high dose and super-minimal glutathione supplement. It uses animal-sourced glycerin (sorry, vegetarians) and rice flour as its only ingredients other than glutathione.
With 500 mg of glutathione per capsule, it’s got plenty of potency for use as an antioxidant.
3. Pure Encapsulations Reduced Glutathione
Pure Encapsulations has a simple low dose glutathione supplement. Each capsule, made of vegetable-derived cellulose, contains just 100 mg of glutathione.
This won’t be the right call if you want a high dose, but if the usual 500 mg dosage is far too much for you, Pure Encapsulations is the way to go.
The fact that there are zero additional ingredients, aside from glutathione and the cellulose capsule, is great to see as well
4. Core Med Science Liposomal Glutathione Softgels
Core Med Science has a glutathione supplement that’s a big name in the detox community. Its main distinguishing factor is that its glutathione (500 mg per capsule, the usual standard) is delivered alongside 350 mg of phospholipids, which Core Med Science claims compliment the bioavailability and efficacy of the glutathione.
Thus far, there hasn’t been any research to back this up, though users do rate this supplement very highly.
5. NOW Glutathione
NOW Glutathione is a more comprehensive glutathione supplement that supplies alpha-lipoic and milk thistle extract alongside 500 mg of glutathione per cellulose capsule.
These added ingredients are supposed to enhance the antioxidant and detox capabilities of this supplement. Milk thistle extract in particular is known as a regenerative and detoxifying herbal compound, though including it in the same supplement as glutathione limits your ability to use this for the wide range of applications that is one of the strengths of glutathione.
6. Thorne Research Glutathione-SR
Thorne Research makes an extended-release formulation of glutathione that’s well-suited for people who want a steady supply of glutathione throughout the day.
The downsides? The dosage is a bit low, and altering the formulation so it has a slow, steady release demands more binders and stabilizers. But if these don’t bother you, it’s a nice option for people looking for a constant stream of glutathione.
7. We Like Vitamins Reduced Glutathione
We Like Vitamins makes a pretty basic glutathione supplement, delivering 500 mg of glutathione per capsule. It lands lower in the rankings because it uses a few unnecessary binders and fillers, like silica, without offering much in return.
8. Bulksupplements Pure Glutathione
Bulksupplements is the way to go if you are a die-hard do it yourselfer. Their plastic satchels of glutathione come as free-form powder, have zero additional ingredients, and are tested by a third party for purity.
While this is great for something like protein powder, it’s more difficult with something like glutathione, where you want precise doses.
You’ll need a very precise micro-scale to accurately measure out doses, so unless you are making large batches of pre-mixed workout shakes, a capsule-based supplement is probably going to be the easier way to go.
9. Fresh Nutrition Glutathione
Fresh Nutrition makes a super-pure glutathione supplement. The only price you pay is in dosage – per capsule, it’s only got about 165 mg of glutathione. If you are specifically in the market for a lower dose, it’s a good pick, but otherwise you should opt for something else.
10. CCL Advanced Glutathione
CCL presents its glutathione supplement in a unique way—a spray bottle designed for oral and sublingual absorption. A serving size is twelve sprays, and the product promises better absorption and quicker bioavailability compared to tablets or capsules.
Unfortunately, the spray isn’t just a straight shot of glutathione. It’s got several different ingredients, all mixed into a proprietary blend, which makes it impossible to tell exactly how much glutathione you’re getting.
This, combined with the inherent difficulty in getting accurate and repeatable doses in spray-form supplements, hurts CCL Advanced Glutathione in the rankings.
Best glutathione overall: Jarrow Formulas Reduced Glutathione
High-dose, vegan-friendly, and super-pure—Jarrow Formulas checks all the boxes with their glutathione supplement. If you’re looking for the all-around best glutathione supplement on the market, there’s no question it’s Jarrow Formulas.
Best glutathione for skin: NOW Supplements Glutathione
NOW Supplements includes ALA (alpha lipoic acid) alongside an already high dose of glutathione to boost its ability to increase your body’s antioxidant levels, which is particularly important for improving skin health.
Best glutathione for workout recovery: Pure Encapsulations Reduced Glutathione
For optimal workout recovery, you don’t want too high of a dose—that could tamp down on your body’s natural supercompensation response. With 100 mg of glutathione per capsule, Pure Encapsulations is the ideal choice for athletes.
Best glutathione for immune function: Jarrow Formulas Reduced Glutathione
At 500 mg of glutathione per capsule, Jarrow Formulas has one of the highest dosages on the market. It’s great if you are looking for a supplement to rapidly boost your body’s glutathione levels for enhanced immune function.
Best glutathione for chronic fatigue: aSquared Nutrition Reduced Glutathione
For combating chronic fatigue, the most common strategy is a consistent and ultra-pure dose of reduced glutathione. aSquared Nutrition fits the bill perfectly, providing 500 mg of glutathione and nothing in the way of extraneous ingredients that could cause adverse responses from your body.
Best glutathione for hangovers: Thorne Research Glutathione-SR
Feeling out of it after a night out? Thorne Research Glutathione-SR is a good option, since it supplies a steady stream of antioxidant power via its sustained-release formulation of glutathione.
Who should buy glutathione?
Glutathione is useful for people with a few specific long-term health goals.
People who want to reduce oxidative damage in their body. Oxidation is one of the primary drivers of aging and chronic disease, and given the powerful ability of glutathione to combat oxidation, people looking to boost their antioxidant capabilities are one of the core sets of users of glutathione.
People who want to boost their immune system. Glutathione has been shown to exert a beneficial effect on the immune system, so it’s also a popular supplement for augmenting immune system strength.
People who want to amplify the effectiveness of a NAC or ALA supplement. These biologically active compounds are both involved in the same biochemical pathways as glutathione, so many nutrition experts suspect that taking both in conjunction might amplify the overall benefits for antioxidant levels or immune system function.
People who want to combat chronic fatigue syndrome. Glutathione has a small but growing number of people who claim that it is a useful way to reduce the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, which may be linked to a dysregulated immune system.
How we ranked
We based our glutathione rankings on the latest clinical research. We used the following evidence-based criteria to evaluate products:
Effective dosage. Glutathione has been tested in clinical trials in humans, and the approximate dosage range that appears to be effective is pretty well-characterized, so our first criteria when formulating our rankings was to ensure that all of our glutathione supplements were able to deliver a dose within the biologically active and useful range (circa 500 mg per day or more).
We screened out everything on the market which didn’t have about the right dose.
Purity and quality of ingredients. Then, we looked at supplement purity. Was the glutathione accompanied by additives, fillers, and binders? If so, we dropped these products from our list, or penalized them heavily in the rankings.
Vegetarian-friendly supplement delivery. To make sure the top glutathione supplements were acceptable to the broadest swath of the population, we rewarded companies that used plant-derived cellulose in the capsules, and penalized companies that used animal-derived gelatin.
Powerful antioxidant combos. We also kept an eye out for products which included potentially helpful glutathione precursors like NAC or ALA.
While our primary concern was still the delivery of effective and pure glutathione in supplemental form, some nutritionists argue that including these kinds of precursors, or other biologically active compounds like phospholipids, can enhance the bioavailability of glutathione or increase its absorption.
The inclusion of these additional ingredients is what allowed Viva Naturals Glutathione and Welessentials Reduced Glutathione to score so well.
Versatile for a range of supplementation strategies. If you want to follow clinical studies to date, which only use glutathione, we have several brands in our rankings that are well-suited for this application.
On the other hand, if you want to try these more cutting edge glutathione supplementation strategies that combine NAC and ALA with glutathione, several products in our top ten are good fits for this application as well.
Q: What does glutathione do to your skin?
A: Glutathione has achieved rapid popularity as a way to lighten skin, with the thought that melanin in skin will undergo structural changes in response to the increased antioxidant activity of glutathione.
Unfortunately, according to a review of the latest medical research published in the journal Dermatology Practical & Conceptual, there are no high-quality studies suggesting that glutathione can actually lighten skin to a significant degree (7).
While glutathione supplements and creams appear to be safe, some people turn to injections or IV drips of glutathione, which have been associated with several dangerous side effects, so this method of application is discouraged barring future research.
Q: What are the uses of glutathione?
A: Glutathione is primarily used either to boost your body’s antioxidant capabilities or to bolster your immune system. On the antioxidant front, glutathione acts as a potent scavenger of free-radicals, which cause oxidative damage to your cells.
Reducing oxidative damage. In keeping with this function, glutathione has been successfully used to reduce oxidative damage in athletes after challenging workouts.
Boosting immune function. When it comes to immune system function, some research in rats suggests that glutathione could help keep the immune system functioning well in spite of aging, which can degrade the ability of the immune system to function properly.
Fighting chronic fatigue. Glutathione also shows some potential in emerging research as a way to reduce the severity of chronic fatigue syndrome, which may be linked to both oxidative stress and to immune system function (or dysfunction).
Reducing gut inflammation. Finally, new animal research also suggests that glutathione might play a role in keeping harmful bacteria in check in your stomach and intestines, cutting down on inflammatory reactions to helicobacter bacteria.
Q: How should you choose the best glutathione supplement?
A: First, you should aim for a glutathione supplement with at least a few hundred milligrams of pure glutathione, hopefully in a pure, simple supplement without any unnecessary ingredients or fillers.
Some research suggests that you may want to take glutathione alongside NAC, alpha-lipoic acid, or phospholipids to enhance the biological activity of glutathione. If you want to follow this strategy, make sure your supplement also delivers these key antioxidants as well.
Q: How can you take glutathione effectively?
A: As more scientific research emerges, it’s starting to look like taking glutathione may require supplementation of glutathione alongside alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) or N-acetylcysteine (NAC).
The glutathione dosage itself is important too, but one large study that used 500 mg of pure glutathione per day did not find a significant effect on whole-body antioxidant levels.
To this end, adding either a separate NAC and ALA supplement to your routine, or choosing one of the more sophisticated glutathione supplements with ALA or NAC added alongside glutathione, might be more effective.
Some supplement manufacturers claim that phospholipids (the same kind you’ll find in krill oil) can enhance the absorption of glutathione as well, though this claim hasn’t been directly assessed with independent scientific research.
Q: What is liposomal glutathione?
A: Liposomal glutathione is a blend of regular glutathione alongside a (usually proprietary) mixture of phospholipids, which are fat molecules that make up the cell walls of plants and animals.
These phospholipids should help enhance the absorption of glutathione, since glutathione is both fat and water soluble.
Q: What is reduced glutathione?
A: Glutathione can come in two forms, reduced or oxidized. In your body, glutathione exists in the reduced state prior to performing its oxidation-fighting duties; after stopping oxidizing chain reactions, glutathione itself becomes oxidized.
This is not a problem, though, because your body has an enzyme that can regenerate reduced glutathione once it is spent.
Pretty much all glutathione supplements are in the reduced form, so you don’t need to worry about what form glutathione is in when it’s taken as a supplement.
Though much of the research on direct supplementation of glutathione is lacking or is in the early stages, there’s a lot of more fundamental biological research that attests to its importance as a protective agent against oxidative damage.
Glutathione may be able to help you maintain a young and healthy immune system as you get older, and it could be useful for decreasing the oxidative damage that results from high-intensity exercise.
Glutathione could even help with symptoms of chronic fatigue symptom, though these benefits are mostly theoretical and anecdotal at this point.
It might be better to take glutathione along with other glutathione-boosting compounds like NAC or ALA, versus just glutathione by itself.
Doses of 500 to 1000 mg per day seem like a good place to start, though research is lacking on an optimal dosage level. These doses deliver a solid amount of glutathione and aren’t associated with any serious side effects, though you might experience mild gastrointestinal side effects or flushing.
If oxidative damage is negatively affecting your health and well-being, glutathione could be a good supplement to help reverse the problem.
For BodyNutrition‘s #1 glutathione recommendation, click here.