Ergothioneine: The Mushroom Longevity Amino Acid?

Ergothioneine is a sulfur-containing amino acid discovered in 1909 but little studied by scientists until recently. But that changed with the discovery that this amino acid has antioxidant properties and there is evidence that it can slow down the aging process. In this overview, you will learn about the research on this interesting amino acid, the foods that contain ergothioneine, its side effects, as well as the research on the ErgoActive brand and its effects on telomeres that underlie its possible influence on longevity.

What is ergothioneine?

Ergothioneine. 60 capsules.

Ergothioneine: The Mushroom Longevity Amino Acid?

Ergothioneine (Ergo) is a sulfur-containing amino acid. It is derived from the amino acid histidine and is found in various fungi and bacteria (cyanobacteria and mycobacteria). Since humans cannot produce ergotine, we must get it through food or supplements. Does this mean ergothioneine is an essential amino acid? This needs to be investigated further.

L-ergothioneine means that the amino acid is left-handed. Other amino acids begin with the letter D (for example, D-aspartate), which means they are right-handed. Don’t confuse L and D. It is not important to understand ergothioneine.

It was found in track.

Servetus is a fungus that grows on wheat and rye bread. When ergot is ingested by humans, it can cause hallucinations. Some have speculated that the infamous Salem witch trials in colonial America were the source of ergot poisoning. Although not all experts agree on this point, it is an interesting and instructive one.

Unlike mushrooms, ergotine does not cause hallucinations.

Ergothioneine – antioxidant

Several studies document the antioxidant properties of Ergo. For example, if mice cannot take up ergotine, free radical damage (oxidative stress) increases. When cells are immersed in Ergo, it activates Nrf2 (a nuclear factor related to erythroid 2), a regulator of our ability to defend against oxidative stress. It should be noted that some supplements, such as Protandim and PB-125, are also touted for their ability to activate Nrf2.

Ergo has been shown to protect bacteria from ultraviolet and gamma radiation. While this raises the possibility that the amino acid protects the skin from sun damage, we won’t know if it protects the skin until better studies are done.

Ergo is one of the few antioxidants concentrated in the mitochondria, a key player in the production of cellular energy. This makes sense because mitochondria generate large amounts of free radicals when they produce cellular energy. Some speculate that mitochondrial defects contribute to the aging process.

How do you record?

Humans are able to absorb this amino acid because they have an ergot intransporter. The sequence is absorbed in the gut by the transport protein OCTN1, which transports the amino acid throughout the body. The Ergo transporter is mainly found in mitochondria.

When researchers gave 45 healthy people pure ergotine for a week, it was quickly absorbed and retained in the blood. There wasn’t much flow in the urine. This tells us that the body has retained the amino acid. Even after 4 weeks, Ergo urinary levels were still higher than before supplementation. What’s interesting about this study is that they used between 5 mg (about the amount in a serving of mushrooms) and 25 mg, which isn’t much.

When ingested by animals, Ergo is transferred to various cells and organs, such as. B. :

  • red blood cell
  • Spleen
  • Brain
  • Heart
  • Eyes
  • Lung
  • Kidneys

The fact that we have a transport system for this amino acid and that it is stored in the body shows that we need it to stay healthy.

Which foods contain ergothioneine?

Most Americans consume about 1 to 2 mg of ergo per day through diet. If you are trying to increase your ergothioneine levels naturally, here is a 3 oz. amount of various foods:

  • Tempe: 200 mg
  • Asparagus (grown in Mexico): 163 mg
  • Royal oysters: 54 mg
  • Shatake mushrooms: 35 mg
  • Garlic: 35 mg
  • Portobello mushrooms 19 mg
  • White asparagus: 18 mg
  • White mushrooms: 15 mg
  • Reishi mushroom: 8 mg
  • Basil leaf 5 mg
  • Kidney bean: 2 mg
  • Brazil nuts: 4 mg
  • Oatmeal: 2 mg

Cow’s and goat’s milk also contain this amino acid, as does breast milk. This indicates that growing children need this amino acid. Foods with lower ergo are chicken, pork, crab, and lamb.

Most studies are observational

The gold standard of research is the double-blind study in which a product is compared to a placebo. Although the existence of this amino acid has been known for over 100 years, most of the research has been done on mice, single cells, or by observing what happens to people who eat foods containing ergot. Therefore, further research in humans is needed.  Still, the research is fascinating.

Let’s take a look at the research on this obscure amino acid.

Help with heart disease?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. Is it possible that ergothioneine could help? When the researchers followed 3,200 people for more than 20 years, they found that of the 112 different metabolites tested, ergothioneine had the strongest association with suffering or dying from heart disease. This study does not prove that the amino acid reduces heart disease. More research is needed to understand how ergo helps fight cardiovascular disease.

Reduces inflammation

In cells, Ergo has been shown to reduce inflammation. Too much cell inflammation is associated with aging and disease. This amino acid can also act as a chelating agent, binding iron and copper, which can contribute to free radical damage. By inhibiting inflammation and binding to copper and iron, Ergo appears to modulate apoptosis, better known as programmed cell death. Interestingly, Ergo has not been shown to reduce the inflammatory marker CRP, suggesting that it works through other routes.

Ergothioneine may help with injuries

Because this nutrient seems to be concentrated at the site of tissue damage, some researchers believe it helps the body heal itself. In rats, for example, ergotine reduces pneumonia. In guinea pigs with hepatic steatosis, ergotine accumulates in the liver. Although human research has yet to confirm this, is it possible that this nutrient is used by the body as a defense against disease?

Benefits for the elderly?

When Japanese researchers analyzed the blood markers of 19 frail people who could not move properly, they found that low levels of ergothioneine were associated with being weak and frail. They also noted that Ergo is a neuroprotectant. In other words, brain cells are protected by amino acids. Future research will determine whether this amino acid promotes memory, dementia, and other forms of cognitive decline, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Ergothioneine: Life expectancy vitamin?

The term vitamin longevity was coined in 2018 by Dr. Bruce Ames. Dr. Ames’ list of life-extending nutrients also includes ergothioneine. But because Ergo is an amino acid, it is not a vitamin.  It would therefore be more appropriate to call it a longevity amino acid. The big question is: Can Ergo contribute to healthy aging?

One way to look at this is by examining telomeres. Telomeres are small pieces of DNA located at the end of chromosomes. They work like little hats on the end of shoelaces and help preserve DNA. Telomeres get shorter as you get older. Some consider telomere shortening to be a marker of aging and diseases such as cancer and heart disease. In one study, people with shorter telomeres were three times more likely to have a heart attack. Shorter telomeres are also visible:

  • Smokehouse
  • Continuous pressure
  • Contamination load
  • Diet with few fruits and vegetables
  • Overweight
  • Lack of movement

Oxidative stress from free radicals can also lead to the shortening of telomeres. Since ergotine is an antioxidant, is it possible that this amino acid could slow down the aging process by helping to reduce telomere shortening?

Maybe. Let’s look at the evidence…

Ergothioneine and telomeres

ErgoActive Application. This brand has demonstrated slow telomere shortening. 2 capsules contain 10 mg ergotine

Ergothioneine: The Mushroom Longevity Amino Acid?

In the first study of its kind, researchers bathed human cells called fibroblasts (cells that produce collagen) in ergotine for up to 8 weeks. They found that Ergo slows the shortening of telomeres. Telomeres did not lengthen but did shorten more slowly than in cells not immersed in Ergo. In other words: This amino acid helps to lengthen telomeres.

Blue California’s ErgoActive-Ergothioneine was used in this study. Blue California manufactures ErgoActive and licenses it to other companies that produce nutritional supplements for use in their applications. Watch the video above to understand it better.

Is this how it affects people? The results are interesting and should be complemented by clinical studies in humans.

Ergothioneine versus glutathione

Some people consider glutathione an important antioxidant – and for good reason. It is a powerful free radical scavenger and there are many ways to increase your levels naturally. In the test tube, Ergo proved to be even more powerful than glutathione in eliminating free radicals. Still, mushrooms are a good source of glutathione and ergothioneine. Even better: Cooking mushrooms does not seem to lower ergo levels.

Does ergothioneine increase NAD+ levels?

Some studies suggest that aging may be associated with a decrease in NAD+ levels in cells. This is why increasing NAD+ levels through supplementation is a popular way to try and slow down aging. Given its potential, how does ergothioneine compare to NAD+ stimulating preparations such as NMN and nicotinamide riboxide? Although Ergo is abundant in mitochondria, it is not known whether it increases NAD+ levels in humans, and if so, what does this mean?

What is the best dosage?

The optimum dose is not known. The optimal amount for one health condition may differ from another. In the European Union, up to 30 mg per day for adults is considered safe, while in the United States the FDA prescribes 5 mg per capsule.

Where can I buy ergothioneine?

You can find mushroom supplements at local stores like Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens. Mushroom preparations and powders may bear the word Ergo on the label. Several brands are also available on Amazon. ErgoActive, a brand proven to slow telomere shortening, is licensed to other companies by Blue California. These companies must include ErgoActive on their labels.

Side effects of ergotin

Animal studies have not shown toxicity of ergothioneine even at doses up to 800 mg per kilogram of body weight per day. In 2018, ErgoActive received Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), meaning it is safe to use. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that 5 mg per serving is safe. This may be the reason why supplements often contain 5 mg per capsule. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is more liberal and considers Ergo safe at doses up to 30 mg per day for adults and 20 mg per day for children over 3 years of age.

While no drawbacks or adverse effects have been found in human studies to date, here are some thoughts on using supplements. This list is not exhaustive. Please consult your doctor/pharmacist for specific information.

  • Start the first week with less than you planned.

Talk to your doctor beforehand if you want to:

  • Fungal allergy
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • medication
  • performs an operation

If you have TB, you should avoid ergotine supplements until we know more. Tuberculosis bacteria from ergot as a defense mechanism. In theory, taking supplements can make TB worse. Some cancers (e.g. liver and larynx cancer) are associated with higher levels of ergothioneine. Is it possible that cancer uses ergothioneine to protect itself? These are important questions that your doctor can best answer.

Can ergothioneine reduce wrinkles?

Studies show that Ergo can protect bacteria from the harmful effects of UV and gamma radiation. UV rays promote the formation of wrinkles. Before you rush out to buy skincare and makeup products that contain mushrooms or Ergo, remember that researchers have to give them to people to see if they reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

What about hair growth?

Viviscal. Several studies in humans show that Viviscal can make hair grow.

Viviscal hair growth

While it may seem strange at first, the idea that mushrooms promote hair growth is related to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Both free radicals and inflammation can cause hair loss. So while it may seem logical at first glance, there is no evidence yet that ergotine helps bald men or women. For more information, consult the magazines Viviscal and Nutrafol. Before and after pictures can be found in the overview of the low-level laser treatment.

Effects of physical activity?

Exercise increases oxidative stress in body cells. Therefore, some believe that antioxidant nutrients can not only reduce this damage but also improve physical performance and recovery. Ergothioneine has not yet been tested under training conditions. So we don’t know if that will help or not. In addition, some studies show that vitamins C and E (known antioxidants) do not promote adaptation to exercise, but may actually hinder it. Can the same be said of computers? Further investigation is required.

Is ergothioneine effective?

It is well established that people use ergothioneine as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory amino acid.  Early research also suggests that it may have anti-aging effects. Although its existence has been known for over a century, serious research has only just begun. If you eat mushrooms regularly, you are already getting a regular supply of this amino acid. For those who don’t, a mushroom or ergotine supplement may be of interest. For best results, you can’t go wrong if you combine this activity with exercise and a healthy diet.

What do you think?

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