Mushrooms may have anti-aging properties

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Aging

Scientists have suggested through a study that of the many antioxidants found in mushrooms, two may have anti-aging properties.

Researchers at Penn State have said the unusually high amount of ergothioneine and glutathione could help fight aging and bolster health. According to the researchers, who report their findings in a recent issue of Food Chemistry, the amounts of ergothioneine and glutathione in mushrooms vary by species with the porcini species, a wild variety, containing the highest amount of the two compounds among the 13 species tested.

The amount of ergothioneine and glutathione also appear to be correlated in mushrooms, the researchers said. Mushrooms that are high in glutathione are also high in ergothioneine, for example. Scientists also add that if mushrooms are cooked, the levels of antioxidants don’t deplete to a great level. Ergothioneine are very heat stable, scientists add.

According to the team, future studies may look into the possibility of ergothioneine and glutathione decreasing the likelihood of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers explain that when body uses food to produce energy, it also causes oxidative stress because some free radicals are produced. Free radicals are oxygen atoms with unpaired electrons that cause damage to cells, proteins and even DNA as these highly reactive atoms travel through the body seeking to pair up with other electrons. Replenishing antioxidants in the body, then, may help protect against this oxidative stress.

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