Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.
November 10 2017. The October 15, 2017 issue of the journal Food Chemistry reported that mushrooms are the highest dietary source of glutathione and ergothioneine, making this food a valuable addition to everyday diets. “What we found is that, without a doubt, mushrooms are highest dietary source of these two antioxidants taken together, and that some types are really packed with both of them,” noted researcher Robert B. Beelman of Pennsylvania State University.
Evaluation of 13 mushroom varieties revealed a greater than 20-fold variation in glutathione levels as well as significant variation in ergothioneine levels. “We found that the porcini has the highest, by far, of any we tested,” Dr Beelman reported.
“There’s a theory–the free radical theory of aging–that’s been around for a long time that says when we oxidize our food to produce energy there’s a number of free radicals that are produced that are side products of that action and many of these are quite toxic,” he explained. “The body has mechanisms to control most of them, including ergothioneine and glutathione, but eventually enough accrue to cause damage, which has been associated with many of the diseases of aging, like cancer, coronary heart disease and Alzheimer’s.”
“It’s preliminary, but you can see that countries that have more ergothioneine in their diets, countries like France and Italy, also have lower incidences of neurodegenerative diseases, while people in countries like the United States, which has low amounts of ergothioneine in the diet, have a higher probability of diseases like Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s,” Dr Beelman observed. “Now, whether that’s just a correlation or causative, we don’t know. But, it’s something to look into, especially because the difference between the countries with low rates of neurodegenerative diseases is about 3 milligrams per day, which is about five button mushrooms each day.”