Glutathione Serum Levels and Rate of Multimorbidity Development in Older Adults

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2020 May 22;75(6):1089-1094. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glz101.


We aimed to investigate the association between baseline levels of total serum glutathione (tGSH) and rate of chronic disease accumulation over time. The study population (n = 2,596) was derived from a population-based longitudinal study on ≥60-year-olds living in Stockholm. Participants were clinically assessed at baseline, 3- and 6-year follow-ups. Multimorbidity was measured as the number of chronic conditions from a previously built list of 60 diseases. Linear mixed models were applied to analyze the association between baseline tGSH levels and the rate of multimorbidity development over 6 years. We found that at baseline, participants with ≥4 diseases had lower tGSH levels than participants with no chronic conditions (3.3 vs 3.6 µmol/L; p < .001). At follow-up, baseline levels of tGSH were inversely associated with the rate of multimorbidity development (β * time: -0.044, p < .001) after adjusting for age, sex, education, levels of serum creatinine, C-reactive protein, albumin, body mass index, smoking, and time of dropout or death. In conclusion, serum levels of tGSH are inversely associated with multimorbidity development; the association exists above and beyond the link between tGSH and specific chronic conditions. Our findings support the hypothesis that tGSH is a biomarker of multisystem dysregulation that eventually leads to multimorbidity.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Biogerontology; Epidemiology; Multimorbidity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Glutathione / blood*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality
  • Multimorbidity*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology


  • Glutathione