Within the Diet Details video above, Dr. Michael Greger evaluations the scientific literature exhibiting that ergothioneine, a sulfur-containing amino acid present in mushrooms, is an actual powerhouse in relation to selling longevity.
For instance, he cites a 2020 research1 revealed within the journal Coronary heart, which discovered that out of 112 measured plasma metabolites:
“Ergothioneine was the metabolite most importantly related to decrease morbidity and mortality, being related to a decrease threat of CAD [coronary artery disease], stroke, demise of all causes, and demise of cardiovascular causes.”
The authors concluded that “increased ergothioneine was an unbiased marker of decrease threat of cardiometabolic illness and mortality, which probably might be induced by a particular wholesome dietary consumption.”
Mushrooms that comprise ergothioneine embody pine mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, shiitake, king boletes, porcinis, chanterelles, lion’s mane and Enokitake,2 simply to call just a few.
Porcini, shiitake, oyster, maitake and king oyster sometimes comprise the very best quantities. White button mushrooms additionally comprise it, however in far decrease quantities. Greger presents some comparative knowledge on these mushrooms in his video.
We Have been Made to Eat Mushrooms
As famous by Greger, ergothioneine was largely ignored till 2005, when scientists found that the majority human tissues have a extremely particular carnitine-based3 transporter for ergothioneine.4
This transporter is even chronobiologically upregulated earlier than mealtimes. These info strongly point out that mankind was designed to eat and reap particular advantages from mushrooms. However what are these advantages, precisely?
One of many mechanisms of motion that make ergothioneine so helpful for well being is its antioxidant properties,5,6 that are just like that of glutathione.7 As an antioxidant, it reduces mobile injury by gobbling up dangerous free radicals.
It has an additional edge over many different antioxidants, nevertheless, as a result of it accumulates in tissues and organs after ingestion,8 and may also help forestall oxidative injury in these tissues over an extended time period.9
What’s extra, the tissues through which it tends to build up probably the most are tissues that additionally are usually extra susceptible to free radical injury, such because the lenses of your eyes and liver, in addition to tissues which can be extra delicate to break usually, corresponding to bone marrow, seminal fluid and blood.
Mushrooms Might Shield Mitochondrial Well being
Remarkably, it might even accumulate in, and defend, your mitochondria,10 the tiny organelles inside your cells that produce mobile power within the type of ATP. As defined in a 2021 paper:11
“Early research instructed (however didn’t rigorously set up) that OCTN1 is discovered within the mitochondria, permitting ET [ergothionione] accumulation on this organelle. Certainly, ET might defend mitochondrial DNA from oxidative injury attributable to hydrogen peroxide or UV publicity.
Since then, few research have investigated the intracellular localization of OCTN1 and ET. Mitochondrial dysfunction is implicated in a variety of problems and the therapeutic advantages of ET have been instructed to be mediated by means of safety of this organelle.
We not too long ago demonstrated that ET protects mitochondrial morphology in transgenic Drosophila fashions of PD [Parkinson’s disease] (unpublished knowledge). Definitive proof of ET uptake and accumulation within the mitochondria is required.”
Ergothioneine — A Longevity Vitamin?
Ergothioneine additionally has anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic12 and cytoprotectant13 properties. Briefly, it protects your cells towards all kinds of harm. “Depletion of ETT (ergothioneine) results in augmented oxidative stress and cell demise,” one research notes.14
As such, the authors instructed it’d characterize a brand new vitamin. Nevertheless, as defined by Greger, nutritional vitamins are categorized as such “by the manifestation of overt dietary deficiency illnesses,” and no such illnesses have been recognized for ergothioneine. Or have they?
“Maybe deficiency illnesses are staring us within the face,” Greger says. Low plasma ranges of ergothioneine have been linked to frailty, heart problems, delicate cognitive impairment, dementia and Parkinson’s illness,15,16 for instance, all of that are rampant.
Others have instructed ergothioneine could be higher categorized as “longevity vitamin.”17 Whereas some nutritional vitamins is probably not important for all times, “longevity nutritional vitamins” seem like essential for prolonged health- and life span, and ergothioneine matches that invoice.
Well being Advantages of Ergothioneine
Whereas analysis into the well being advantages of ergothioneine continues to be in its infancy, ergothioneine has been proven to:
Assist wholesome mind perform, cognition18 and temper19 — As famous within the overview paper “Ergothioneine within the Mind”:20
Consuming two or extra parts of mushrooms per week has been proven to scale back your threat of delicate cognitive impairment by greater than half, in comparison with one portion every week or much less.21
One other research discovered individuals who consumed mushrooms 3 times every week or extra had a considerably decrease threat of growing dementia, over a interval of six years, in comparison with those that solely ate mushrooms as soon as every week or much less.22
A 3rd research discovered seniors with early-stage Alzheimer’s illness who consumed one-third to a full teaspoon of powdered lion’s mane mushroom per day for a number of months noticed delicate however measurable enchancment of their cognitive perform and Actions of Every day Residing scores, in comparison with placebo.23
As famous within the 2022 overview paper, “Decline of Ergothioneine in Frailty and Cognition Impairment”:24
Bolster the immune response, thereby decreasing your threat of infections.25
Shield cardiovascular well being by decreasing oxidative stress, irritation and lipid peroxidation.26
Shield pores and skin and mitochondrial DNA from UV-related injury.28
Promote eye well being and defend towards age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and imaginative and prescient loss by neutralizing free radicals and decreasing oxidative stress within the retina.29
Shield and preserve the well being of your central nervous system by selling neuronal stem cell differentiation.30
Shield fertility in males when taken two weeks earlier than administration of the anticancer drug cisplatin, which is thought to trigger testicular injury leading to infertility.31
Gradual or forestall fibrosis by modulating ranges of inflammatory cytokines and mitigating oxidative injury in tissues.32
Decrease your threat of most cancers, specifically breast most cancers.33
Decrease all-cause mortality.34
A Cup of Mushrooms a Day Might Preserve the Physician Away
A 2019 research35 revealed in Diet As we speak, which in contrast ergothioneine intakes between numerous international locations, discovered the bottom estimated every day consumption within the U.S., at 1.1 milligrams per day, and the very best in Italy, at 4.6 mg per day. A main issue on this consequence was believed to be Italians’ choice for ergo-rich porcini mushrooms.
Nevertheless, even simply including white button mushrooms to your every day weight-reduction plan, which has among the many lowest quantities of ergothioneine, can greater than double your blood stage.
A retrospective research36 in Plant Meals for Human Diet, which checked out how every day mushroom consumption may have an effect on Kind 2 diabetes threat elements, discovered that consuming 1 cup of white button mushrooms a day raised ergothioneine concentrations from a imply of 317 nanograms per milliliter at baseline to 677 ng/mL on the finish of 16 weeks. Contributors with metabolic syndrome additionally skilled important:
“… will increase within the antioxidant marker ORAC (oxygen radical absorption capability) and anti inflammatory hormone, adiponectin and important decreases in serum oxidative stress inducing elements, carboxymethyllysine (CML) and methylglyoxal (MG).”
A Promising Therapeutic for Longer, More healthy Life Span
In closing, take into account the next last ideas offered within the paper “Ergothioneine, Current Developments”:37
“The distinctive chemistry of ET [ergothioneine] offers rise to its excessive stability and skill to build up within the physique, enabling a variety of cytoprotective and illness mitigating properties.
Whereas associations have been made between low blood ranges of ET and numerous human problems, there may be a lot nonetheless unknown. However, the uptake within the fetus and toddler, the close to, if not absolutely, ubiquitous presence in tissues and the avid retention by the physique are sturdy proof that ET performs a important position in human improvement and well being.
Quite a few animal research have additionally demonstrated its advantages, whereas stopping uptake by means of silencing OCTN1 seems to worsen pathology in these illness fashions.
It stays to be seen whether or not supplementation in people, particularly the aged or the subset of people with decrease blood ranges of ET (attributable to polymorphic variants of the transporter or weight-reduction plan), might cut back the danger of age-related and different illnesses, or act as a therapeutic by slowing or halting illness development.
The protection profile of ET and regulatory approvals facilitate such research. With the fast surge in curiosity, it’s undoubtedly thrilling instances for this distinctive … compound.”
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