Increase Glutathione Levels


A Key To Healing: Glutathione

A Key To Healing: Glutathione

Cold showers may increase one of the body’s most powerful endogenous antioxidants: glutathione. While the body can make its own glutathione from other nutrients, our bodies cannot seem to utilize glutathione pills or capsules. Encouragingly, a study of winter swimmers hints that cold water therapy can stimulate increases in glutathione levels.

In fact, many of the antioxidants we ingest orally work by helping the body produce glutathione.

Praise for Glutathione

David Perlmutter, M.D., author of The Better Brain Book writes “Glutathione is perhaps the most effective and beneficial antioxidant in the nervous system and has the added benefit of enhancing mitochondrial energy production.”

Ray Sahelian, a medical doctor and author, writes “Glutathione peroxidase plays a variety of roles in cells, including DNA synthesis and repair, metabolism of toxins and carcinogens, enhancement of the immune system, and prevention of fat oxidation… Brain glutathione levels have been found to be lower in patients with Parkinson’s disease.”


The Study

One study followed ten healthy subjects who swam regularly in cold water, and compared their glutathione levels to non-winter swimmers. They found two things:

1. Immmediately after swimming they had an inflated amount of oxidized glutathione to total glutathione.

2. At baseline, their “reduced glutathione” was greater while their oxidized glutathione was less than non-winter swimmers.



What does this mean? This is good. If you will recall some high school chemistry, oxidation is a rusting-like process in which a cell gets an electron stolen from it, becoming damaged. Antioxidants sacrifice their own electrons for the benefit of the cells. Therefore, although immediately after a cold shower your antioxidant glutathione becomes “oxidized”, when you return to baseline the protective form will be more plentiful than it was.


Think of it as working out; your muscles are a bit weak immediately afterwards, but stronger when you recover. The researchers write “This can be viewed as an adaptation to repeated oxidative stress, and is postulated as mechanism for body hardening. Hardening is the exposure to a natural, e.g., thermal stimulus, resulting in an increased tolerance to stress, e.g., diseases. Exposure to repeated intensive short-term cold stimuli is often applied in hydrotherapy, which is used in physical medicine for hardening.”

8 thoughts on “Increase Glutathione Levels

  1. I’m always amazed at the number of individual antioxidants and what they can do. This is my first time hearing of glutathione which is amazing considering all the good it can do your body.

  2. This seems to be one of the mechanisms that may explain why cold water exposure is so healthy – a very interesting study! Less oxidative stress is important for the brain, as we all know.

    Note that at the same time, in the study, uric acid was lowered (to high uric acid in the blood causes gout). A very interesting finding because Sebastian Kneipp (1821-1897), some 150 years ago, found already that gout patients “fear cold water like the devil” but need indeed the cold water especially.

    Unfortunately, this was a small pilot study only. As the other of books espousing cold showers, I wish there would be more such research into the benefits of water.

    Alexa Fleckenstein M.D.

  3. Thanks for visiting! That’s interesting that gout patients tend to fear cold water. Can they get much relief from a cold foot bath, or do they need whole-body exposure?

  4. Increase glutathione levels by taking a cold shower. Interesting! Never heard of it, but I know there are so many benefits from hydrotherapy and all that so I would not be surprised!

    Nice post!

  5. I started taking cold showers recently. Best thing I have ever started doing. It will definitely be a lifelong thing for me. I look way healthier. That might also be the fact that I also started eating way healthier as well. haha. But I used to eat healthy and still feel and look like crap. Now I eat healthy and I actually look and feel healthy. So I know it had to be the cold showers.

  6. Jerry,

    I love your enthusiasm for cold showers. I almost always finish a shower with cold or cool water but recently I have ramped it up and have been trying to use primarily cold water. I do feel more energetic and my skin is looking better.

  7. In his book, Dr. Don Colbert point to cold showers daily or 10 minutes in ice cold water weekly among other ways to increase intracellular glutathione anywhere between 20 to 85% but he also recommend a supplement that can increase intracellular glutathione by 300%. I have used his recommendation for years and write and testify for it’s effectiveness.
    My formula to good life is HG=GH let me know if you can solve it :)

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