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Almost everyone wants their skin to look healthy, rejuvenated and fairer. From home remedies to medical and cosmetic assistance, people try everything under the sun to improve their skin tone. Any discussion about skin whitening is incomplete without the mention of glutathione. Often referred to as the "Mother of all antioxidants", glutathione, a tripeptide comprising of the three amino acids- glycine, cysteine, and glutamine, also comes with detoxifying and anti-aging properties, and are extensively being used in the cosmetic industry.
Glutathione as a skin whitening agent
The pigment responsible for one's skin color is Melanin. The enzyme Tyrosinase plays a pivotal role in the synthesis of this pigment. In case of a darker complexion or an uneven skin, there is also an elevated production of Eumelanin (a pigment responsible for imparting the dark brown color). Glutathione goes a long way to inhibit the activity of the Tyrosinase enzyme which, in turn, slows down the production of melanin. Further, the antioxidant is also responsible for an increased conversion of Eumelanin to Pheomelanin (responsible for imparting the yellow-red color), thereby lightening the skin tone significantly.
Glutathione, being a naturally occurring antioxidant also functions as a free radical scavenger protecting the skin from oxidative damage and the deleterious effects of the free radicals such as accelerated skin aging, wrinkles, saggy and tired looking skin, to name a few. There are specialized clinics and cosmetic centers that use glutathione as an active ingredient in a host of skin treatments including chemical peels. In most of the cases, glutathione is used in an injectable form (Glutathione Injections) to ensure its better absorption in the body They are also available in topical forms.
Some of the side effects of glutathione
The use of glutathione should be under expert guidance. People with asthma should specifically refrain from using Glutathione (be it in oral or injectable form). Elevated use of glutathione for long can also lower the level of zinc in the body and may trigger kidney, thyroid dysfunctions and peptic ulcers.
Glutathione is already present in our body. Due to certain factors, we may not have the necessary levels and hence, right dosage of glutathione is given in a form of supplements. Factors that influence the glutathione level in the body
The level of Glutathione in our bodies can be affected by several factors some of which include:
- Unhealthy dietary habits (processed foods, pasteurized dairy products, artificial sweeteners, hams, hot dogs, smoked and Barbecued foods, chlorinated water) and lifestyle practices (increased intake of alcohol or tobacco ).
- Stress, lack of sleep.
- Increased exposure to industrial pollutants, UV-radiation.
- The level of glutathione also decreases with age.
- Avoid overcooking the vegetables.
- Use a non-stick cookware on low or medium heat.
- Make sure you follow a regular sleep cycle and avoid being overstressed.
It should be restricted in patients having altered Liver functions.