Background: Previous studies showed that supplementation of reduced form of glutathione (GSH, 500 mg/d) has a skin-lightening efficacy in humans. This study was designed to evaluate the influences of both GSH and oxidized form (GSSG), at doses lower than 500 mg/d, on improving skin properties.
Patients and methods: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel, three-arm study was conducted. Healthy female subjects were equally randomized into three groups and took GSH (250 mg/d), GSSG (250 mg/d), or placebo orally for 12 weeks. At each visit at baseline and for 12 weeks, skin features including melanin index, wrinkles, and other relevant biophysical properties were measured. Blood samples were collected for safety monitoring.
Results: In generalized estimating equation analyses, melanin index and ultraviolet spots of all sites including face and arm when given GSH and GSSG tended to be lower than placebo. At some sites evaluated, subjects who received GSH showed a significant reduction in wrinkles compared with those taking placebo. A tendency toward increased skin elasticity was observed in GSH and GSSG compared with placebo. There were no serious adverse effects throughout the study.
Conclusion: We showed that oral glutathione, 250 mg/d, in both reduced and oxidized forms effectively influences skin properties. Overall, glutathione in both forms are well tolerated.
Keywords: aging; glutathione; melanin; pigment; whitening; wrinkle.