Health consequences of improving the content of ergothioneine in the food supply

Robert B. Beelman, Allen T. Phillips, John P. Richie, Djibril M. Ba, Sjoerd W. Duiker, Michael D. Kalaras

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Ergothioneine (ERGO) is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory amino acid that is highly bioavailable to humans from the diet. ERGO is now regarded by some as a ‘longevity vitamin’ that has the potential to mitigate some chronic diseases of ageing and thereby increase life expectancy when present in adequate amounts. However, only limited knowledge exists regarding ERGO content in the human diet. Since ERGO is produced primarily by fungi, mushrooms are known to be the leading dietary source, but ERGO is found in relatively low amounts throughout the food chain as a result of soil-borne fungi or bacteria passing it on to plants through their roots. Some conventional agricultural practices that negatively impact soil fungi, such as excessive soil disturbance (ploughing), can significantly reduce ERGO content of food crops when compared to regenerative practices such as eliminating tillage of the soil (no-till). This has led us to the concept that ERGO may be a definitive connection between soil health and human health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1231-1240
Number of pages10
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Health consequences of improving the content of ergothioneine in the food supply'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this