Glutathione and morbidity in a community-based sample of elderly

J Clin Epidemiol. 1994 Sep;47(9):1021-6. doi: 10.1016/0895-4356(94)90117-1.


This study examined the association of blood glutathione level, a potential marker of physiological/functional aging, with a number of biomedical/psychological traits in a subgroup (N = 33) of a representative sample of community-based elderly. Higher glutathione levels were associated with fewer number of illnesses (p < 0.05), higher levels of self-rated health (p < 0.01), lower cholesterol (p < 0.05), lower body mass index, and lower blood pressures. Subjects with diagnoses of arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease (as assessed by physicians) had at least marginally significant lower glutathione levels than those who were disease free. Glutathione, together with age and a measure of suppressed anger, accounted for 39% of the variance of an index of morbidity. Glutathione, by itself, accounted for 24% of the variance. To our knowledge, this is the first evidence of an association of higher glutathione levels with higher levels of physical health in a sample of community-based elderly. Further studies in large samples are needed to investigate glutathione as a potential overall health risk factor for morbidity among the elderly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged* / psychology
  • Anger
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Female
  • Glutathione / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity*
  • Risk Factors


  • Cholesterol
  • Glutathione