Glutathione and Alcohol: Read This Before You Have One More

Author photo

The Pure TheraPro Team

The Pure TheraPro Education Team is comprised of researchers from diverse backgrounds including nutrition, functional medicine, fitness, supplement formulation & food science. All articles have been reviewed for content, accuracy, and compliance by a holistic integrative nutritionist certified by an accredited institution.
Last updated for accuracy

Glutathione is also referred to as the Master Antioxidant and is an important driver in supporting immune function and detoxification. Alcohol depletes glutathione levels, which increases free radical damage, weakens immune function and allows toxins to build in the body, resulting in toxic overload.

You’ve likely experienced a hangover before—and it’s awful. But why do hangovers make you feel so sick?

Alcohol is metabolized in your system through the liver in a two-step process. First, alcohol dehydrogenase converts alcohol into acetaldehyde. Second, glutathione-S transferace helps partner acetaldehyde with glutathione, which then helps with the removal of acetaldehyde from the body by being excreted in the urine.

This process only runs smoothly if your liver produces enough glutathione to assist acetaldehyde’s quick exit from your system. Binge drinking, however, can deplete stores of glutathione, causing acetaldehyde to further circulate and wreak havoc on your system. 

Acetaldehydes are more toxic than alcohol, up to 30 times more toxic, in fact, and are responsible for the hangover feelings that have made us swear we will never drink again—nausea, vomiting, headaches, bed spins and fatigue. Acetaldehyde is also responsible for the development of liver disease and is a known neurotoxin that can contribute to cognitive decline with chronic binge drinking.

Alcohol reduces immune function, as well, due to the loss of glutathione stores. Inflammation increases, resulting in inflammatory symptoms if excessive drinking is chronic—brain fog, memory loss and body aches as well as susceptibility to catching colds and other things going around.

Your liver, which is your main detoxification organ, is responsible for producing most of your glutathione. Drinking, however, depletes your natural stores and inhibits the detoxification process. Even just one or two alcoholic beverages a day can deplete glutathione levels and the anti aging and detoxification benefits of optimal glutathione levels. Coupled with other factors that reduce glutathione levels—chronic illness, stress, aging, GMO foods and certain pharmaceuticals, your liver cannot keep up with the detoxification demands and production of glutathione.

Interestingly, chronic alcohol use also impacts the lungs by reducing stores of glutathione. This decrease in glutathione makes you more susceptible to lung diseases and illnesses.

We frequently associate the liver to be the organ most affected by alcohol. The lungs, however, are dependent on glutathione for protection from oxidative damage. Low levels of glutathione can negatively affect lung function, causing abnormalities in the cells that line the lungs. As a result, serious illness can occur, including frequent infections such as pneumonia.  

Eating plenty of cruciferous vegetables as well as a variety of fruits and reducing the amount of alcohol you drink can help restore glutathione levels. Supplementation, however, may be essential, particularly if you have risk factors that reduce glutathione levels.



Our glutathione products are in the S-Acetyl form. S-Acetyl Glutathione is the most bioavailable form of oral glutathione, nearly as equivalent as IV glutathione. The issue with other forms of glutathione is that enzymes in your stomach break it down before it can ever reach the bloodstream and become useful. Most liposomal glutathione uses the reduced form which isn’t the best-- it’s much cheaper which is why supplement companies use it. They add more mg per serving, which customers assume is better.

The main differentiator with forms of glutathione is the S-acetyl group attached to the sulfur atom of cysteine in the glutathione molecule. It’s ideal for oral ingestion, because this acetyl group protects glutathione from breaking down in the gastrointestinal tract. The acetylated form of glutathione, therefore, provides optimum absorption and bioavailability.

S-Acetyl Glutathione not only has been shown to remain stable in the gastrointestinal tract, but it also has a longer plasma half-life with improved ability to enter cells and raise intracellular glutathione levels more efficiently. It also is evidenced to cross the blood-brain barrier and is nearest in efficacy to IV glutathione than any other oral form.

We utilize Emothion, a patented, crystalized form of s-acetyl glutathione sourced from Italy, which is backed by clinical studies demonstrating its efficacy. 


It’s also important when doing researching the right glutathione supplement for you to ask companies where they source their raw materials and investigate their quality assurance. Our entire product line is China-free, which speaks to our meticulous mission of providing the purest products. We also do not include any fillers, excipients and junk in our products which can affect a product’s bioavailability and absorption.