How to Raise Glutathione with a Vegan Diet and Lifestyle


How to Raise Glutathione with a Vegan Diet and Lifestyle

Glutathione is an antioxidant produced in our liver cells. It’s made of three amino acids: glutamine, glycine, and cysteine. 


Glutathione levels in the body may be reduced by several factors, including aging, poor nutrition, environmental toxins, and high stress levels. 

In addition to being produced naturally by the body, glutathione levels can be boosted through eating certain foods and taken in supplement form. Many vegan foods help to raise glutathione levels.


Benefits of glutathione

Below are some of the key functions glutathione plays in our bodies:

Reduces oxidative stress

Oxidative stress is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body, which can lead to cell and tissue damage. Oxidative stress plays a role in the onset of multiple diseases. It occurs naturally, but it can also be accelerated through harmful lifestyle choices. 


Free radicals are the main culprit for oxidative stress. 


These highly reactive molecules are normal byproducts of metabolism in our bodies, but they are also formed by things like UV damage from the sun, cigarette smoke, and toxins in the environment. 


Glutathione acts as an antioxidant. Antioxidants are substances that neutralize or remove free radicals to help protect the body from oxidative stress. Glutathione helps stave off the impact of oxidative stress, which may, in turn, reduce disease.

Certain vegan foods boost glutathione levels. In addition, a vegan diet focused on whole foods is likely to have plenty of other antioxidants.

May help fight autoimmune disease

The chronic inflammation caused by autoimmune diseases can increase oxidative stress. These diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, and lupus, among others. 

Glutathione helps reduce inflammation by either stimulating or reducing the body’s immune response. This is one of the major benefits of glutathione for those living with an autoimmune condition.

Improves insulin resistance in older adults

As we age, we produce less glutathione. Researchers have shown that low glutathione levels are associated with less fat burning, higher rates of fat storing in the body, and thus increased rates of pre-diabetes in older adults. 

Other studies have also shown that people with Type 2 Diabetes have lower amounts of glutathione in the body. 

In turn, correcting glutathione deficiency improves fat burning and insulin resistance in aging.


How to increase glutathione as a vegan

Building a vegan diet filled with glutathioneboosting foods is key to increasing glutathione levels in the body. 

Many of the vegan glutathione foods in this list also have other health benefits due to their many nutrients that are all part of a balanced diet. 

What foods are high in glutathione?

Some foods contain natural glutathione. However, glutathione itself is not well absorbed in our body. Also, cooking, processing, preserving, and storing food generally causes natural glutathione to deteriorate.

Some animal foods are rich in glutathione, like whey protein and dairy. 

So, how do we raise glutathione levels as a vegan

Many vegan foods contain nutrients that assist in glutathione metabolism in the body, which in turn help raise the levels:

Sulfur-rich foods

Sulfur is found in many amino acids, including those needed to produce glutathione. 

Garlic, shallots, and onions are rich in sulfur-containing compounds that may help raise vegan glutathione levels. Mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, and Brussel sprouts are also great.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can help maintain glutathione levels by helping glutathione attack free radicals. 

Citrus fruits, kiwis, strawberries, papayas, cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, and bell peppers are all examples of foods rich in vitamin C.


Seeing as glutathione is made up of amino acids, eating a vegan diet filled with varied protein sources is important. For help on meeting protein needs as a vegan, a Registered Dietitian can offer support.


Exercise and movement

Regular physical activity supports both mental and physical well-being. Research also suggests that exercise can reduce oxidative stress by increasing glutathione levels. 

Researchers have observed that older adults who participate in regular physical activity throughout their lives have higher levels of glutathione. High glutathione concentrations are also found in those who lead sedentary lifestyles.

These findings suggest that leading a physically active life can lead to long term health benefits.


Possible side effects of glutathione supplements

A diet rich in vegan glutathione-boosting foods does not pose any risks. 

However, taking glutathione supplements is not advisable for everyone. Talk to your dietitian about glutathione to see if it’s right for you. 

Possible side effects of glutathione supplements may include stomach cramps, nausea, bloating, trouble breathing, or an allergic reaction.


Things to consider

Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that’s made in the body. But its levels decrease because of aging, stress, and toxin exposure. So, it can be beneficial to raise glutathione levels as a vegan. 

Eating sulfur-rich foods is the best way to raise glutathione as a vegan. Eating vitamin C-rich foods and a variety of protein is also important.