For decades, medicinal mushrooms have been a focus of attention. They have received plenty of love for anti-aging, immune-regulating, brain-boosting properties. We have written about fungi a lot, including reishi, chaga, lion’s mane, Cordyceps, and turkey tail.
You can tell that we are huge fans of functional mushrooms. So, our ears perked up when we heard mushrooms were back on the radar and being used to create the best ergothioneine supplements. This time, researchers are zeroing in on a new, emerging “longevity nutrient” called L-ergothioneine, which is found in mushrooms, especially the medicinal mushroom variety.
What Is Ergothioneine?
Ergothioneine (or known as ERGO or ETT for those of you who are clued in) is a sulfur-based antioxidant and amino acid. ERGO is found in nearly every human cell and tissue. However, it is not synthesized within the body. Only some types of fungi and germs make it.
Mushrooms are a major source of ergothioneine for food, the highest concentrations being found in White Button, Oyster, Shiitake, Lions Mane, and Porcini mushrooms. You may also get smaller amounts from chicken liver, black beans, kidney beans, and oat bran. However, most people will not get enough ERGO from their diets to have any positive effect.
Why Take an Ergothioneine Supplement?
Researchers started getting excited about ergothioneine when they discovered a special transporter protein called ETT. ETT carries ergothioneine in human cells. It also transports other nutrients, but it seems to be most effective with ergothioneine. In short, its unique ability to enter your cells directly (and rapidly) suggests that ERGO plays a critical role in human health.
But we have also got a healthy dose of skepticism. So, we took a look at the science.
Ergothioneine May Support Longevity and Improve Exercise Performance
Ergothioneine is a powerful intracellular antioxidant that can eliminate the free radicals within your cells. Studies show it is especially concentrated in your cells mitochondria, the energy-producing organelles that need maximum protection from oxidative stress.
But that is where it really gets interesting. One study found that ergothioneine delayed the telomere shortening in stress. Telomeres are protective proteins found at the ends of your chromosomes. Without them, our DNA would be wrecked and you’d age like crazy. Telomeres slowly shrink with age, and shorter telomeres means shorter life spans and higher disease risk.
This effect could explain why eating ergothioneine is associated with reduced risk for cardiovascular diseases and lower total mortality. If you ask me, a supplement that keeps your telomeres from shrinking deserves far more attention. Ergothioneine may just be the ultimate natural performance booster. An animal study found that it increased the time until exhaustion in aerobic exercises. It also improved recovery of the muscles.
You are not a mouse, so we will need a human trial to back up those findings. I am sure that in the coming years, we will see research expanding into athletic performance.
The Best Ergothioneine Supplement
Research into ergothioneine is continuing, and the market is not saturated with ergothioneine supplements (yet). But we are anticipating that this emerging amino acid will become the next big thing. This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. We and the vendors we highlight appreciate your support.
Here’s our list including the best ergothioneine supplement from Real Mushrooms.
- Verified for quality through 3rd Party Labs
- Made with Certified Organic Mushrooms
- 60 Servings giving you a two month supply
- Does not include other great functional mushrooms
- Does not come in larger bottle sizes
All supplements selected are from trusted brands that we use here at Health by Mushrooms, and are made according to current good manufacturing practices (cGMP) standards for quality and safety. Without question, Real Mushrooms is the #1 Source of organic mushroom supplements that have been third party tested in the USA.
First off, Real Mushrooms has been growing and spreading the word on medicinal mushrooms for more than 40 years. They are one of the few companies that has latched on to the fascinating ergothioneine research.
Each Real Mushrooms ergo+ dose delivers 5mg of pure ergothioneine, which is extracted from yeast. In addition, it contains 250 mg each of Shiitake and Oyster Mushroom Extract, which is standardized to have a high beta-glucan content. Ergo+ is organic, non-GMO, and is free from fillers, additives, mycelium (they use the fruiting body of mushrooms), and gluten or grains of any type. It is also triple-tested for quality, purity, and potency.
Ways to Compare the Best L-Ergothioneine Supplements
Reviewing Testing Standards
The FDA does not regulate the supplements industry. Unfortunately, that means that shady products are all over the place. Since ergothioneine is a relatively new addition to the market, it is all the more vulnerable to rogue companies.
For that reason, we list only reputable companies who follow Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) regulations. We also give preference to brands that utilize third-party testing and display their results in transparent fashion. In addition, we seek out companies using pharmaceutical-grade ingredients.
High Standard of Ingredient Quality
We only recommend brands that are dedicated to getting their highest-quality ingredients, tested for cleanliness. All products listed are GMO-free, gluten-free, vegan-friendly, and free of fillers and additives.
Provides a Great Value for What You’re Buying
As with many anti-aging compounds, Ergothioneine is not cheap. That said, Real Mushrooms provides a quality supplement that fit into a wide budget. The Real Mushroom Ergo+ is the most budget-friendly option we could find as more companies are charging outrageous prices for anti-aging related products.
Additonal Information Regarding Ergothioneine Supplements
Declining levels of ergothioneine past the age of 60 could be a risk factor for age-related neurodegenerative diseases. What is more, studies have shown that levels fall the most in those who have deteriorating cognition.
While cases are slowing, many are (understandably) worried about long-term effects from a COVID-19 infection.
This 2020 review suggests ergothioneine as a promising natural therapy agent to decrease the severity of COVID-19. According to the review, this is due to its ability to modulate inflammation, detoxify free radicals, protect against acute respiratory distress syndrome, prevent endothelial dysfunction. However, there are no clinical trials currently available for Ergothioneine and COVID-19.
What is a Good Dose of Ergothioneine?
The current consensus of manufacturers seems to be 5-10 mg per day. Although the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) says that this is safe for infants and children, although we would advise against supplementing your children with ergothioneine starting at birth.
But for those who are relatively young, say between the ages of 20-40, using ergothioneine may benefit them as a disease prevention tool.
Ergothioneine is a safe supplement that has no reported adverse effects. That said, you will want to talk with a health care provider before taking ergothioneine (or any new supplement). Most importantly, L-ergothioneine is a promising amino acid for optimal human health and longevity. The research is still very much in its early stages, so you will want to combine it with the other anti-aging practices that we know work, such as regular exercise, a diverse diet high in plants, and intermittent fasting.