Bulletproof® Upgraded™ glutathione has been specially formulated to boost immune function, increase memory and learning, cleanse the system, remove harmful toxic metals, and protect against fungal toxins.  This has an effect of boosting physical and mental performance as well as increase longevity.  Glutathione is an antioxidant that is made by the body and is found in every cell.  It is present to guard against inflammation, toxins, free radicals, and pathogens.  Deficiencies in glutathione have been reported to increase the risk of a number of health issues. 

Glutathione requires energy in the form of ATP, amino acids, and enzymes to make it and if any one of these are in low supply, glutathione production decreases putting your system at risk. 

There are essentially three ways to boost glutathione levels in the body.  You can take in foods that contain the appropriate amino acids, glutathione shots, or glutathione supplements.  Taking in foods that are high in appropriate amino acids such as whey which contains N-acetyl cysteine, glutamate, and glycine will raise glutathione levels.  However, it depends on the quality of the whey you ingest.  Not all whey is created  equal.  Glutathione shots are reported to work however, this may raise glutathione levels too high not to mention this is expensive and requires a prescription.  On the other hand, glutathione supplements have been demonstrated to be effective.  The nice thing about glutathione supplements is that they are easy to take and cost less than injections. 

It is important to buy a good quality glutathione supplement.  Generally, glutathione when taken in as food or supplement form is broken down by intestinal tract.  To prevent this from happening glutathione needs to be associated with liposomes.  These fatty vesicles protect glutathione from being broken down and assist in glutathione absorption.  Not all glutathione supplements use high quality liposomes so this is another thing to look out for.  Make sure the liposomes are made from high quality unoxidized lipids as oxidized lipids can generate intestinal inflammation.  The size of the liposomes is also critical for proper absorption.  Upgraded™ glutathione liposomes are made with high quality phospholipids and medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that are 14 nanometers in diameter for better delivery without intestinal upset.  Beware of other glutathione supplements that use lipids from soy to make their liposomes. 

Upgraded™ glutathione goes a step further by adding selenomethionine. Selenomethionine is yet another powerful antioxidant that not only protects glutathione from oxidative stress but increases your body’s ability to produce more glutathione.  For those of you who are concerned about  bishpenol-A (BPA), Upgraded™ glutathione is packaged in a BPA-free container.  This helps to prolong the shelf-life and protect consumers from harmful plastic chemicals.

The Brain and Glutathione

Low levels of glutathione have been reported to be involved with loss of brain function including short- and long-term memory as well as cognition loss.  Decreased levels of glutathione have been found in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and thought to involve oxidative stress. 

Parkinson’s disease is associated with glutathione metabolism errors.  Studies indicate low levels of glutathione have profound effects on the integrity of mitochondrial function.  The build up of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in mitochondria due to low levels of glutathione brings about leaky mitochondrial membranes which disturbs the production of ATP.   Mitochondria are the site of aerobic respiration where you get the complete breakdown of glucose to generate ATP.  Leaky mitochondrial membranes eventually destroy mitochondrial function and brings about mitochondrial loss.  If the cell can no longer generate ATP, it dies.  Since neurons are post-mitotic, they can’t replace themselves.  Neuronal cell loss leads to loss of brain function that over time can be debilitating.

Alzheimer’s disease is also associated with decreased glutathione activity.  The hallmark lesion of Alzheimer’s is the build up of beta amyloid.  It has been observed that oxidative stress of lipids, proteins, and DNA in neurons is extensive in brain areas where beta amyloid is abundant.  It is believed that excess beta amyloid leads to free-radical formation which in turn inhibits free-radical antioxidants such as glutathione eventually leading to a decreased production of glutathione.  The enzyme glutamine synthetase is easily oxidized by the presence of beta amyloid which decreases its activity.  This decreased activity inhibits glutamate transport into the cell.  Glutamate is one of 3 amino acids required for the synthesis of glutathione.  Since you can’t make as much glutathione, free-radicals accumulate doing further damage to membrane, protein, and DNA function.  This will eventually destroy neurons in this area bringing down the entire short-term memory system.

Detoxification and Glutathione

Glutathione has the ability to remove a number of toxins and heavy metals including over-the-counter drugs as well as pharmaceuticals.  That’s what it has evolved to do.  However, at high doses glutathione is overwhelmed and becomes depleted.  Consider acetaminophen (Tylenol).  Acetaminophen poisoning accounts for approximately half of all cases of acute liver failure in the U.S. and Great Britain.  Under normal doses, glutathione can handle the production of various reactive oxygen species (ROS) without a problem.  High doses over load a number of metabolic pathways including the cytochrome enzymes found in the mitochondria.  Cytochrome enzymes are important for the generation of ATP in the mitochondria.  As free-radical metabolites build up that act as cytochrome substrates, the cytochrome enzymes begin to fail.  Glutathione levels drop as they are damaged from over oxidation.  This causes mitochondrial membranes to become too permeable and lose their membrane potential along with their ability to make ATP.  The decrease in ATP leads to liver cell death.  Physicians often give glutathione to patients who have liver damage due to an acetaminophen overdose.  Glutathione is also administered to patients who are taking cancer drugs to keep healthy cells working properly.  Interestingly, glutathione does not protect cancer cells. 

Mold Toxins and Glutathione

Mycotoxins or mold/fungi toxins are poisonous molecules made by some molds and fungi.  All of us are exposed to these toxins whether they be in food or in buildings and homes.  Individuals that are particular sensitive to these toxins have a high probability of dying from exposure.  Even in the general public, these molecules can lead to brain damage, cancer, as well as kidney, liver, and heart dysfunction.  It is almost impossible to avoid mold/fungi toxins as they are everywhere.  It is best to keep your living quarters clean and make sure foods you buy are relatively free of mycotoxins.  Aspergillus species produce alfatoxin and Fusarium species produce butenolide which are reported to cause liver cancer.  These mycotoxins are often found on cereal grains, animal feed, nuts, and seeds. 

Glutathione helps to protect you from the toxic effects of mycotoxins so long as you don’t become exposed to excessive amounts.  As liver cells are exposed to increasing amounts of mycotoxins, reactive oxygen species (ROS) begin to increase inside the liver cells.  As the free-radical concentrations continue to rise, glutathione becomes overwhelmed, damaged, and inactive.  As ROS levels increase, this damages mitochondrial membranes making them more permeable than they should be.  Mitochondria lose their membrane potential and begin to fall apart.  Mitochondria are responsible for making ATP, the energy currency of the cell that runs most metabolic pathways.  As ATP levels dwindle, liver cell death ensues.  It has been demonstrated that supplementation with glutathione can restore liver cell function.  Although many liver cells may die, other healthy liver cells can go through mitosis generating new daughter liver cells that can take over lost function.

Glutathione and Infections

When pathogens enter your cells they bring about oxidative stress by generating free-radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS).  Research indicates that the redox (reduction-oxidation activity) status of a cell  is a major factor in determining whether a virus can enter a cell and once the virus is inside whether it can replicate.   Studies done in vitro (cell culture) and in vivo (live animal) infected with the influenza virus have demonstrated that glutathione inhibited expression of viral matrix proteins and inhibited virally induced caspase activation to influenza infection.  Caspases involve molecular cascades that are involved with programmed cell death or apoptosis.  So, the presence of added glutathione inhibits the virus from copying itself and saves the cell from killing itself.  Low levels of glutathione actually enhance susceptibility to viral infections, increases viral replication, and programmed cell death.

Glutathione and Alcohol

It may have occurred to you by now that excess alcohol consumption depletes glutathione levels.  This is particularly a problem in the liver.  This increases oxidative stress in liver cells where free-radicals build up to excess.  This does damage to you mitochondria which are responsible for producing ATP.  The mitochondrial membranes become porous (filled with holes) and can no longer maintain membrane potential.  At this point aerobic respiration comes to a halt which means you can no longer make ATP and cell death ensues.  Reasonable consumption of alcohol will temporarily lower glutathione levels, however new glutathione can be made quickly enough as long as you have enough ATP, amino acids, and appropriate enzymes to make it.

Glutathione and Aging

Mitochondrial health is directly related to the aging process.  Individuals who have higher glutathione levels have been demonstrated to live longer than those who have low levels.  This is true of every cell in the body but particularly important for liver cells.  Low levels of glutathione bring about liver cell death and an inability to clear toxins from blood.  Free-radicals and reactive oxygen species build up destroying mitochondrial membranes.  When this happens the mitochondria fall apart and can no longer make ATP.  Essentially the liver cell dies of toxic build up as well as an energy death.

Suggested Reading:

Metabolism and functions of glutathione in brain.


Depletion of brain glutathione is accompanied by impaired mitochondrial function and decreased N-acetyl aspartate concentration


Evidence of oxidative damage in Alzheimer’s disease brain: central role for amyloid beta-peptide


Mechanisms of Acetaminophen-Induced Liver Necrosis


Depletion of intracellular glutathione mediates butenolide-induced cytotoxicity in HepG2 cells.


Connection between reduced glutathione and heart failure


Inhibition of influenza infection by glutathione.



The role of glutathione in aging and cancer.