Have you ever heard of ergothioneine? It is the dietary amino acid that is present in high amounts in mushrooms and has a nickname – the “longevity vitamin”. Why? Because it’s an effective antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown to reduce a number of chronic age-related diseases.

A recent study analyzed neurological diseases from different European countries and USA to see whether there was a link between ergothioneine consumption and death rates. The researchers found out that Americans consume less ergothioneine than Europeans and have a higher risk of dying from certain age-related chronic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS, epilepsy and other neurological conditions.

The researchers also examined common agricultural practices that impact the amount of ergothioneine in mushrooms and other plants. They concluded that excessive tilling disrupts soil-borne fungi that are the primary source of ergothioneine that gets passed to the plants. To help boost the amount of this amino acid in foods, the researchers recommend regenerative farming methods, such as minimal tillage, use of cover crops and crop rotation, which all could contribute toward maintaining healthier fungal populations in soil.

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Tatsiana Haponava, PhD

a certified nutrition coach, educator and researcher with a PhD degree

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