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Digital illustration of three white mushrooms with the text "ERGO-THIONEINE" in capital letters. At the bottom right, there is an image of 10 almonds. The background, a light blue gradient, subtly hints at longevity and wellness.

“The Longevity Vitamin” (That’s Not A Vitamin)

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The Magic of Mushrooms

“The Longevity Vitamin that’s not a vitamin” is a great tagline for what’s actually an antioxidant amino acid nutraceutical, but in this case, we’re not the ones spearheading its PR, but rather, the Journal of Nutritional Science:

Is ergothioneine a “longevity vitamin” limited in the American diet?

It can be found in all foods, to some extent, but usually in much tinier amounts than would be useful. The reason for this is that it’s synthesized by a variety of microbes (mostly fungi and actinobacteria), and enters the food chain via vegetables that are grown in soil that contain such (which is basically all soil, unless you were to go out of your way to sterilize it, or something really unusually happened).

About those fungi? That includes common popular edible fungi, where it is found quite generously. An 85g (3oz) portion of (most) mushrooms contains about 5mg of ergothioneine, the consumption of which is associated with a 16% reduced all-cause mortality:

Association of mushroom consumption with all-cause and cause-specific mortality among American adults: prospective cohort study findings from NHANES III

However… Most Americans don’t eat that many mushrooms, and those polled averaged 1.1mg/day ergothioneine (in contrast with, for example, Italians’ 4.6mg/day average).

Antioxidant properties

While its antioxidant properties aren’t the most exciting quality, they are worth a mention, on account of their potency:

The biology of ergothioneine, an antioxidant nutraceutical

This is also part of its potential bid to get classified as a vitamin, because…

❝Decreased blood and/or plasma levels of ergothioneine have been observed in some diseases, suggesting that a deficiency could be relevant to the disease onset or progression❞

~ Dr. Barry Halliwell et al.

Source: Ergothioneine: a diet-derived antioxidant with therapeutic potential

Healthy aging

Building on from the above, ergothioneine has been specifically identified as being associated with healthy aging and the prevention of cardiometabolic diseases:

❝An increasing body of evidence suggests ergothioneine may be an important dietary nutrient for the prevention of a variety of inflammatory and cardiometabolic diseases and ergothioneine has alternately been suggested as a vitamin, “longevity vitamin”, and nutraceutical❞

~ Dr. Bernadette Moore et al., citing more references every few words there

Source: Ergothioneine: an underrecognised dietary micronutrient required for healthy ageing?

Good for the heart = good for the brain

As a general rule of thumb, “what’s good for the heart is good for the brain” is almost always true, and it appears to be so in this case, too:

❝Ergothioneine crosses the blood–brain barrier and has been reported to have beneficial effects in the brain. In this study, we discuss the cytoprotective and neuroprotective properties of ergotheioneine, which may be harnessed for combating neurodegeneration and decline during aging.❞

~ Dr. Bindu Paul

Source: Ergothioneine: A Stress Vitamin with Antiaging, Vascular, and Neuroprotective Roles?

Want to get some?

You can just eat a portion of mushrooms per day! But if you don’t fancy that, it is available as a supplement in convenient 1/day capsule form too.

We don’t sell it, but for your convenience, here is an example product on Amazon 😎


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