Glutathione is a tripeptide that plays a pivotal role in critical physiological processes resulting in effects relevant to diverse disease pathophysiology such as maintenance of redox balance, reduction of oxidative stress, enhancement of metabolic detoxification, and regulation of immune system function. The diverse roles of glutathione in physiology are relevant to a considerable body of evidence suggesting that glutathione status may be an important biomarker and treatment target in various chronic, age-related diseases. Yet, proper personalized balance in the individual is key as well as a better understanding of antioxidants and redox balance. Optimizing glutathione levels has been proposed as a strategy for health promotion and disease prevention, although clear, causal relationships between glutathione status and disease risk or treatment remain to be clarified. Nonetheless, human clinical research suggests that nutritional interventions, including amino acids, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and foods can have important effects on circulating glutathione which may translate to clinical benefit. Importantly, genetic variation is a modifier of glutathione status and influences response to nutritional factors that impact glutathione levels. This narrative review explores clinical evidence for nutritional strategies that could be used to improve glutathione status.
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