IN THE KNOW: What is glutathione?
Functioning as an important antioxidant for metabolism and body regulation, glutathione is a molecule composed of three amino acids (glutamin, cysteine and glycine) found in fresh foods or artificial products, such as oral and injectable nutritional supplements, inhaled drug or skin products.
In its latest public advisory, the Philippine Dermatological Society (PDS) said current scientific evidence is “not strong enough” to establish that glutathione-containing products are efficacious “skin whiteners” when tested on healthy volunteers.
While glutathione products are generally recognized as safe, the PDS said various side effects, ranging from mild to severe, have been linked to glutathione-containing products when used as skin whiteners, particularly the injectable type.
Among the side effects are acute renal failure, severe drug reactions such as generalized morbilliform eruption (measles-like rash) with angioedema (swelling of skin) and urticaria (skin rash), vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels) and anaphylactic shock (life-threatening allergic reaction).
The Philippine Food and Drug Administration has approved oral glutathione products as nutritional supplements only, while injectable types (intravenous or “drips”) have only been approved as a drug to protect cancer patients from nerve side effects of platinum-based chemotherapy and not for cosmetic purposes. —Inquirer Research
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