Glutathione and the Cofactors

Glutathione and the Cofactors

By Cyrus Kuhzarani
R.Phm. / Owner

03 Mar 2021

Glutathione and the Cofactors

Glutathione supplementation generally has a short lived affect in the system, whereas supplements that support the building of glutathione can have a more sustained effect on the system since certain vitamins, minerals and amino acids eventually create glutathione in the body on an as needed basis.

Low levels of Glutathione (GSH) could be one of the major causes of the excessive inflammatory response (inflammatory storm) linked to severe COVID-19 symptoms of the lungs and even indicate that focusing on increasing body GSH could reduce the number of symptomatic patients.

Selenomethionine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in foods which can be broken down into selenium and methionine. Methionine is an essential amino acid, and selenium is an antioxidant that acts as a cofactor for glutathione peroxidase which neutralizes hydrogen peroxide (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

Generally, hydrogen peroxide is produced in the cell to fight off bacteria or viruses; however, if levels become too high there can be damage to cell's DNA and protein. Glutathione and cofactors such as selenium help to neutralize and prevent an excess accumulation of hydrogen peroxide in the cell while maintaining an immune benefit.5 Selenium has also been shown to increase lymphocyte proliferation, the activity of helper T cells, cytotoxic T cells and natural killer cells.

Methionine can act as a precursor to N-acetyl cysteine, which is considered to be the rate limiting step for making glutathione.3 Glutathione is composed of 3 amino acids: glycine, cysteine, and glutamine.

Time release Vitamin C promote delayed and continual absorption throughout the day. Generally, the time release form will allow vitamin C to slowly dissolve and continually be delivered to the tissues over an extended period of time.

Results of a study showed that slow release Vitamin C was delivered much more effectively into the body. Glutathione recycles Vitamin C and allows it to return to its form as an antioxidant. One study showed that 500 mg of Vitamin C was able to elevate glutathione levels by nearly 50%. (see Figure 2)

Figure 2

A balanced zinc to copper ratio is also critical for maintaining good immune function. When there is a high copper to zinc ratio the body's ability to produce glutathione is reduced.10 Zinc deficiency has been shown to lead to lower levels of reduced glutathione, which is detrimental to glutathione metabolism. However, in high quantities zinc may also reduce glutathione which causes a certain level of toxicity; this can help to explain why the zinc:copper ratio is critical in maintaining optimal immune function.2

In essence,
providing all key nutrients in adequate daily dose will help maintain glutathione levels all over the body, but especially within the endothelial lining of our lungs, so that a potential Covid 19 infection will run a milder course.

Vit D Blood Level Optimization (at least 75 nmol/L) should not get overlooked in this scenario either.

Reference List

Betterman, Dr. Eddy, "Using Glutathione and Selenium to Treat Viral Infections," Darkfield Microscopy Course Online, Immune System (Published online Feb 24, 2020) (accessed Feb 23, 2021)., How to Raise Glutathione Levels.

National Library of Medicine: Pub Chem, L-Selenomethionine.

"New sensitization: the Medical Key to Treatment," Rocky Mountain Environmental Health Association, under

"Hydrogen Peroxide has a Complex Role in Cell Health." Science Daily, 4 January 2008,, Benefits of selenium and its role as a glutathione cofactor.

Ulmer, Graham. Why is Time-Released Vitamin C Better?, Vitamin C.

Zhou, Shi-Sheng et al. 2015. "Vitamin Paradox in obesity: Deficiency or Excess?" World Journal of Diabetes 6(10),

Cann, Kevin. "Glutathione Synthesis and Diet," Robb Wolf: Revolutionary Solutions to a Modern Life, under

Silvagno, Vernone, Pescarmona. "The Role of Glutathione in Protecting against the Severe Inflammatory Response Triggered by COVID-19"

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