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31.12.2018


Ergothioneine makes mushrooms healthy for your brain

Ergothioneine makes mushrooms healthy for your brain
A dietary pattern with lots of edible mushrooms slows down aging processes in the brain, and reduces the risk of dementia. This is evident from a Japanese epidemiological study, which appeared in 2017 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The amino acid ergothioneine may explain the association discovered by the Japanese.

Ergothioneine
Scientists do not know exactly what ergothionein does in the body, but researchers like Bruce 'Triage' Ames consider it a vitamin-like substance that may prolongs life span. [Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Oct 23;115(43):10836-44.]

Ergothioneine is an amino acid, mainly made by fungi. It is in small amounts present in the human diet. In the body ergothioneine is mainly present in the lens of the eye, but also in red blood cells, skin and kidneys. There are also indications that the substance delays mental aging processes and inhibit neurodegenerative disease.

In test tube studies [Free Radic Biol Med. 2004 Feb 1;36(3):288-99.] and animal studies [Food Chem Toxicol. 2012 Nov;50(11):3902-11.] [Free Radic Res. 2014 Sep;48(9):1049-60.] ergothionein protects brain cells from aggressive substances such as beta-amyloid and D-galactose.

In the blood of over-sixties who show signs of cognitive deterioration, researchers find less ergothioneine than in the blood of mentally fit peers. [Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2016 Sep 9;478(1):162-7.] In a small comparative study, Japanese researchers also found less egothionein in people with Parkinson's disease. [J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2016 Mar;87(3):295-301.]

Epidemiological study
So - does ergothioneine protect the brain from aging and chronic diseases? According to a Japanese epidemiological study, [J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017 Jul;65(7):1462-9.] which appeared in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in 2017, this might be the case.

In that study, the researchers followed 13,230 people aged 65 and over 5.7 years. They looked at their intake of mushrooms and their chance of dementia. Mushrooms are the main source of ergothioneine in the human diet.

The figure below comes from [FEBS Lett. 2018 Oct;592(20):3357-66.].


Ergothioneine makes mushrooms healthy for your brain


Ergothioneine makes mushrooms healthy for your brain


The more mushrooms the attendees ate each week, the smaller their chance of dementia. The differences in the figure below are statistically significant.


Ergothioneine makes mushrooms healthy for your brain


Ergothioneine makes mushrooms healthy for your brain


Source:
J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017 Jul;65(7):1462-9.

More:
Ergothioneine loosens up stiff joints 16.07.2012

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Alzheimer's & Dementia
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