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LMU 294 – Protecting Against Parkinson’s: The Role of Glutathione


Protecting Against Parkinson's: The Role of Glutathione and Aging

Source: International Journal of Molecular Science (2021)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (July 5, 2023)

Parkinson’s Disease – A Growing Concern

Parkinson’s disease, the second most common neurodegenerative condition after Alzheimer’s, affects one in five hundred
adults over fifty. By the year 2030, approximately nine million people are estimated to be afflicted with this condition as aging populations grow in many countries. The disease is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, with unmitigated free radicals (oxidative stress) playing a significant role in its development.

The Role of Free Radicals and Glutathione

  • High levels of free radicals within dopamine-producing brain cells lead to their death, triggering the onset and progression of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Age-related decline in brain glutathione levels contributes to elevated free radicals during the aging process, increasing the risk of Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.

Glutathione Treatment as an Effective Approach

  • Researchers have been investigating ways to increase brain glutathione levels in older subjects to protect brain cells from free radical damage and manage existing cases of Parkinson’s disease.
  • A 2021 meta-analysis confirmed that glutathione treatment is effective in improving muscle and movement function, including tremor reduction, in Parkinson’s patients.
  • Glutathione treatment not only reduces Parkinson’s disease symptoms but also inhibits steps involved in the underlying cause of the disease.

Optimizing Glutathione Levels

  • Glutathione supplements are largely broken down in the intestinal tract and do not reach the bloodstream intact.
  • The best way to raise brain glutathione levels through oral supplementation is by taking N-acetylcysteine (NAC), which easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and stimulates glutathione synthesis.
  • Other nutrients like Alpha-lipoic acid, Silymarin (from Milk thistle), and L-Glutamine also raise blood and tissue levels of glutathione.

 The Importance of Glutathione Supplementation

  • Due to the decline in glutathione levels with age and its crucial role in quenching damaging free radicals in the body and brain cells, supplementation is recommended around the age of 45-50.
  • A beneficial supplement capsule combines N-acetylcysteine (NAC), Alpha-lipoic acid, Silymarin, and L-Glutamine to synergistically raise glutathione levels and promote anti-aging and health benefits.


  1. Wang H-L et al. Potential use of glutathione as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Exp Ther Med. 2021;21(2): 125 Link
  2. Smeyne M. Glutathione metabolism and Parkinson’s disease. Free Radic Biol Med. 2013; 62: 13-25
  3. Aoyama K. Glutathione in the brain. Int J Mol Sci. 2021; 22(9): 5010 Link

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Dr. James Meschino


Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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