Glutathione (GSH) plays pivotal roles in antioxidation and detoxification. The transsulfuration pathway, in conjunction with methionine metabolism, produces equimolar amounts of cysteine (Cys) and 2-oxobutyric acid (2OB). The resulting 2OB is then converted into 2-aminobutyric acid (2AB) by a transaminase and is utilized as a substitute for Cys by the GSH-synthesizing machinery to produce ophthalmic acid (OPT). By establishing a method for simultaneously measuring Cys, GSH, and OPT by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, we found that fasting causes an elevation in OPT levels in the liver and blood plasma, even though the levels of Cys and GSH are decreased. Autophagy was activated, but the levels of GSH/OPT-synthesizing enzymes remained unchanged. After 6 h of fasting, the mice were given 1% 2AB and/or 5% glucose in the drinking water for an additional 24 h and the above metabolites analyzed. 2AB administration caused an increase in OPT levels, and, when glucose was co-administered with 2AB, the levels of OPT were elevated further but GSH levels were decreased somewhat. These results suggest that, while Cys is utilized for glyconeogenesis under fasting conditions, reaching levels that were insufficient for the synthesis of GSH, 2OB was preferentially converted to 2AB via amino acid catabolism and was utilized as a building block for OPT. Thus the consumption of Cys and the parallel elevation of 2AB under fasting conditions appeared to force γ-glutamylcysteine synthetase to form γ-glutamyl-2AB, despite the fact that the enzyme has a higher Km value for 2AB than Cys.