Mushrooms May Slow Down Aging

Studies Show Anti-Aging and Anti-inflammatory Potential in Mushrooms

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
December 21, 2017

Porcini mushrooms may slow aging.

Mushrooms, the topping we love to eat on pizzas, contain antioxidants that may help counter aging. In a 2017 study from Pennsylvania State University published in Food Chemistry, scientists found that mushrooms contain high levels of two important antioxidants with anti-aging properties: ergothioneine and glutathione.

According to Robert Beelman, director of the Penn State Center for Plant and Mushroom Products for Health, the discovery shows “without a doubt” that mushrooms offer the highest food source of these two antioxidants together.

Benefits of Antioxidants in Mushrooms

BC Local Wild and Cultivated Mushrooms
Crimini (Brown Button)
Oyster mushroom
Porcini mushroom
White (Button)

Antioxidants may help repair oxidative stress in the body caused by free radicals. As we process (oxidize) food to create energy, our bodies produce a number of unpaired electrons called free radicals. Free radicals can damage proteins, cells and DNA.

“There’s a theory—the free radical theory of aging—that’s been around for a long time that says when we oxidize our food to produce energy, there’s a number of free radicals that are produced…and many of these are quite toxic,” said Beelman. “The body has mechanisms to control most of them, including ergothioneine and glutathione, but eventually enough accrue to cause damage, which as been associated with many of the diseases of aging, like cancer, coronary heart disease and Alzheimer’s.”

The amounts of the two antioxidants varied greatly in different kinds of mushrooms. Wild porcini mushrooms had the highest dietary source of the two antioxidants, with yellow oyster mushrooms following up second. Commonly available white button, crimini and portabella mushrooms contained lower levels of the antioxidants, but still showed higher amounts than other foods.

Health-Promoting Compounds in Mushrooms

Crimini mushrooms may slow aging and offer other health benefits.

Crimini mushrooms

To add to this discovery, a review of the anti-inflammatory properties of mushrooms from researchers in Poland showed that mushrooms offer a wide range of favourable therapeutic and health-promoting effects.

In addition to being a rich source of antioxidants, mushrooms contain B vitamins, zinc, selenium and copper. Mushrooms also have valuable anti-inflammatory components such as polysaccharides, proteins, phenolic and indolic compounds, fatty acids and carotenoids. These compounds in mushrooms, researchers noted, offer beneficial effects for the immune system, particularly in relation to inflammatory diseases.

Anti-Inflammatory Components of Selected Mushrooms

Substance Mushroom
– ergothioneine
– glutathione
porcini, oyster mushroom, shiitake, morel, white button, crimini, portabella, chanterelle
– B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, biotin, pyridoxine)
– vitamin C
– tocopherols
chanterelle, white button, crimini, portabella
– zinc
– selenium
– copper
white button, crimini, portabella, chanterelle
– trehalose
– ß-glucans (e.g. lentinan)
– chitosans
white button, crimini, portabella, shiitake, oyster mushroom
– lectins
shiitake, white button, crimini, portabella, oyster mushroom
Fatty Acids
– oleic acid
– palmitic
– linoleic acid
a-linoleic acid
white button, crimini, portabella, chanterelle
Phenolic Compounds
– gallic acid
– protcatechuic acid
p-hydroxybenzoic acid
p-coumaric acid
– cinnamic acid
– caffeic acid
white button, crimini, portabella, porcini
Indolic Compounds
– melatonin
– L-trytptophan
– 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan
chanterelle, white button, crimini, portabella, oyster mushroom
– carotenoids (ß-carotene, lycopene)
oyster mushroom

* Based on based on Muszyńska, et al: Anti-inflammatory properties of edible mushrooms: A review; and Kalaras, et al : Mushrooms: A rich source of the antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione.

More articles:

A handful of walnuts can help your heartA Handful of Walnuts Can Help Your Heart

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Note: Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS