L-ergothioneine supplements. What are the health benefits and risks in taking it as an anti-aging dietary supplement? One of our readers asked about it.
As part of the key health factor of continuous learning, Keep Health asked ChatGPT to “Explain the health benefits and risks of L-ergothioneine, the optimal dosage, foods containing L-ergothioneine and the origin of the name of L-ergothioneine.”
Here’s how ChatGPT responded (in italics):
L-ergothioneine is an amino acid derivative that is produced by certain fungi and bacteria, and is found in foods such as mushrooms, beans, and oat bran. While more research is needed to fully understand the health benefits and risks, some studies suggest that it may have a number of potential health benefits.
The name “L-ergothioneine” comes from the Latin word “ergot”, which refers to a type of fungus that is capable of producing this compound, and the chemical structure of the molecule, which contains a thione group (-S-) and an amino acid group (-NH2). The “L” prefix refers to the stereochemistry of the molecule, indicating that it has a specific configuration around its chiral centers. The name was first coined by the French chemist Paul Kutzner in 1909, who discovered the compound in ergot fungi and characterized its chemical properties.
L-ergothioneine is sometimes referred to as the “king of antioxidants” due to its unique ability to protect cells from oxidative damage. Some researchers have proposed that it may be a key factor in the longevity of certain species of animals, such as centenarian clams and naked mole rats, which are known for their exceptionally long lifespans.
Health Benefits of L-ergothioneine
Some potential health benefits of L-ergothioneine include:
- Antioxidant properties: It is a potent antioxidant that can help protect cells from oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals. This may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Anti-inflammatory effects: It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce inflammation in the body and lower the risk of chronic diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Immune system support: It may support the immune system by promoting the production of white blood cells, which are important for fighting off infections and diseases.
- Skin health: It may have benefits for skin health, as it has been shown to help protect skin cells from UV damage and may also help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Health Risks of L-ergothioneine
However, there are also some potential risks associated with L-ergothioneine, particularly if it is taken in high doses. Some possible risks include:
- Unknown long-term effects: Because L-ergothioneine is a relatively new area of research, its long-term effects on human health are not yet fully understood.
- Interaction with medications: It may interact with certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs, and may interfere with their effectiveness.
- Allergic reactions: Some people may be allergic and may experience symptoms such as itching, hives, or difficulty breathing.
Daily Dosage of L-ergothioneine
The optimal daily dosage of L-ergothioneine has not yet been established, as more research is needed to fully understand its effects on human health. However, some studies suggest that a daily dose of 5-10 mg of L-ergothioneine may be beneficial for health.
It is important to note that the safety and efficacy of L-ergothioneine supplements have not been fully established, and there is limited information available on the appropriate dosage for different health conditions or populations. It is always recommended to speak with a healthcare provider before taking any supplements, including L-ergothioneine, to ensure that they are safe and appropriate for your individual needs.
L-ergothioneine Food Content
L-ergothioneine is found in a variety of foods, particularly in mushrooms, beans, and oat bran. The amount of L-ergothioneine in these foods can vary depending on factors such as the variety of the food and how it is grown or processed. Here are some examples of foods that contain L-ergothioneine and their approximate content per 100 grams:
- Mushrooms (cooked): 2.8-13 mg
- Beans (cooked): 0.5-2.5 mg
- Oat bran: 1.5-2.5 mg
- Liver (beef, cooked): 0.1-0.4 mg
- Black rice (cooked): 0.03-0.18 mg
It’s important to note that the L-ergothioneine content of foods can be affected by cooking and processing methods. For example, some studies suggest that boiling or microwaving mushrooms can increase their L-ergothioneine content, while frying or grilling them can decrease it. Additionally, some food products may be fortified with L-ergothioneine, although the prevalence of such products is still limited.
Overall, while L-ergothioneine appears to have some potential health benefits, more research is needed to fully understand its effects on human health and any potential risks associated with its use. It is important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking supplements or making any significant changes to your diet.
For your Keep Health rewarding conclusion, we asked ChatGPT for a few ergo jokes…
Sure, here are a few jokes using the word “ergo”:
- I’m thinking about starting a new ergonomic furniture business. Ergo, I’ll be sitting down a lot more.
- My friend asked me if I knew any good Latin phrases. Ergo, I told him “carpe diem” and “ergo” himself.
- Why did the philosopher cross the road? To get to the other side, ergo, to prove the existence of the opposite side.
I hope these jokes made you smile!
Since ChatGPT didn’t provide any references, we sought out sources for scientific research. Here are some links which ChatGPT may have used for source material:
National Library of Medicine (2021) Recent developments