Published on January 12, 2022

Vitamin D level may affect levels of the “Master Antioxidant” glutathione, known to help maintain health, protect from toxins, and promote longevity

Key Points

  • Glutathione is critical to help protect our cells from damage due to oxidative stress, mercury and other toxic metals, alcohol, persistent organic pollutants; it also protects the mitochondria and is vital to energy production
  • Research over the last several years has illustrated a positive relationship between glutathione and vitamin D, with higher vitamin D levels related to higher glutathione levels. Additional research has demonstrated that correcting vitamin D deficiency can, in itself, increase glutathione levels.
  • Learn how to keep glutathione levels up with additional tips while also avoiding vitamin D deficiency

Many consider glutathione to be the “Master Antioxidant.” It is the most abundant antioxidant in the body and it helps recycle other antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E. Glutathione is necessary to help protect our cells from damage due to oxidative stress, mercury and other toxic metals, alcohol, persistent organic pollutants, and much more. It also helps protect our mitochondria and is vital to energy production. In fact, levels of glutathione within the cells and mitochondria are highly associated with health and longevity, and its deficiency is associated with many chronic diseases and loss of function with aging.

What is Glutathione and Why it is Important

Glutathione is made of 3 different amino acids: cysteine, glycine, and glutamic acid. It is found in two different forms; reduced glutathione (GSH) is the “active” form that is able to repair oxidative damage, and oxidized glutathione (GSSG) is the inactive form that can be recycled back into GSH.

The following table by Pizzorno, J. highlights the critical roles of glutathione.

Click to Enlarge & Print

Increasing Vitamin D Could Help Increase Glutathione, and Vice Versa

Research over the last several years has illustrated a positive relationship between glutathione and vitamin D, with higher vitamin D levels related to higher glutathione levels. Additional research has demonstrated that correcting vitamin D deficiency can, in itself, increase glutathione levels. One such study found that glutathione levels increased when vitamin D deficiency was corrected among children with nutritional rickets.

A 2018 study by Jain et al. suggests that increasing glutathione status can improve the bioavailability of vitamin D and can more effectively correct vitamin D deficiency than vitamin D supplementation alone. The publication concluded that “Supplementation with a combination of vitamin D and L-cysteine or glutathione precursor, rather than supplementation with vitamin D alone, is beneficial and helps achieve more successful vitamin D supplementation.”

Study Confirms Significant Effect of Vitamin D Level on Levels of Glutathione, GSSG, and Cysteine

A study by Alvarez et al. looked at the bloodwork from 693 healthy adults which measured their vitamin D levels, plasma glutathione, cysteine (a glutathione precursor), and multiple inflammatory markers to see what relationships existed. They found that vitamin D levels [25(OH)D] were positively associated with plasma glutathione (as vitamin D levels increased so did glutathione) and negatively associated with both GSSG and cysteine (as vitamin D levels increased, levels of GSSG and cysteine decreased). These associations remained statistically significant even after adjusting for other factors.

Other Ways to Increase Intracellular Glutathione Levels

Correcting vitamin D deficiency is important for many aspects of health and for the health of each system of the body, and as discussed here, it has been shown to be important for maintaining higher levels of glutathione. Low levels of glutathione are also associated with chronic exposure to chemical toxins and alcohol, cadmium exposure, smoking, AIDS/HIV, macular degeneration, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Here are some other ways to help increase levels of glutathione, along with taking care to optimize vitamin D:

  • limit alcohol consumption
  • decrease exposure to POPs
  • increase intake of other antioxidants to decrease overall oxidative stress
  • increase intake of nutrients that promote glutathione production, such as NAC (N-acetylcysteine), 1000 mg/day, whey, or SAMe
  • get enough magnesium and selenium in the diet, as both are necessary for glutathione production
  • foods such as almonds, cruciferous vegetables, and even alcohol-free beer have been shown to raise glutathione levels, as has meditation!

Measure Your Vitamin D Level, Along with Essential Minerals and Toxic Elements that can affect Glutathione Production

Having and maintaining healthy vitamin D levels and other nutrient levels can help improve your health now and for your future. Choose which to measure, such as your vitamin D, omega-3s, essential minerals including magnesium and selenium, and toxic elements including mercury and cadmium, by creating your custom home test kit today. Take steps to improve the status of each of these measurements to benefit your overall health. You can also track your own intakes, symptoms and results to see what works best for YOU.

Enroll and test your levels today, learn what steps to take to improve your status of vitamin D (see below) and other nutrients and blood markers, and take action! By enrolling in the GrassrootsHealth projects, you are not only contributing valuable information to everyone, you are also gaining knowledge about how you could improve your own health through measuring and tracking your nutrient status, and educating yourself on how to improve it.

What Does it Take YOU to Get Your D to 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L)?

Did you know your health could be greatly affected by making sure you have a vitamin D level of at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L)? Help us help you.

STEP 1 - Do you know what your vitamin D level is? If not, be sure to test today to find out.

STEP 2 – Determine your target level. Are you at your target level? Experts recommend a level of at least 40-60 ng/ml (100-150 nmol/L).

STEP 3 – Need to boost your level? Use the D*calculator to see how much vitamin D it may take to reach your target. Opt for the Loading Dose for a quicker boost.

STEP 4 – Optimize how your body absorbs and utilizes vitamin D with co-nutrients and these simple steps.

STEP 5 – Re-Test! This is an important step to make sure you have reached your target level, and to ensure you are not taking too much! Re-testing after 3-4 months is recommended.

STEP 6 – Adjust, Repeat…

Give your immune system the nutrients it needs to support a healthy you and protect yourself from unnecessary diseases, especially COVID-19.


The first Randomized Controlled Trial on vitamin D and COVID-19 has shown a 96% lower risk of ICU admission for those receiving vitamin D (as 25(OH)D to quickly boost vitamin D blood levels) along with the standard treatment, compared to those receiving standard treatment alone.

These results support many previous observational studies showing a relationship between vitamin D levels and intake and COVID-19 severity.

Review the Latest Nutrient Research for COVID-19

GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute has launched the new Immune Boost project with the use of our myData-myAnswers nutrient health system that nearly 15,000 people are already using for their health. Specific markers that influence immune health are suggested for testing as part of this project including:

  • Vitamin D
  • Omega-3 Index
  • Essential elements magnesium, selenium, and zinc
  • hsCRP

Our goal is to demonstrate how one can use the Nutrient Research Model established by Dr. Robert Heaney to show the effect of vitamin D serum levels of at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L) on risk reduction for all ethnicities in the population. Status and intake of other nutrients will also be analyzed for any type of relationship to immune status and symptom severity. Join the project today!

Please let us know if you're interested in helping sponsor this project.

CLICK HERE for updates and new information about the project.

Through GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute, you can also test your essential elements magnesium, copper, zinc and selenium, toxins such as lead, mercury and cadmium, as well as your omega-3 levels, inflammation levels and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level. Find out your levels today! Log on to the test selection page (click the link below) to get your tests and see for yourself if your levels can be improved.

Make sure you track your results before and after, about every 6 months!

Click Here to Access the Test Page

How can I track my nutrient intake and levels over time?

To help you track your supplement use and nutrient levels, GrassrootsHealth has created the Personal Health Nutrient Decision System called

For each specific supplement, you can track what days you take it, how much, and many other details.  This will help you know your true supplemental intake and what patterns of use work for you to reach and maintain optimum nutrient levels. Check it out today!