Another week, another exciting new trial for a possible longevity supplement. This time it’s ergothioneine, an amino acid that may be able to give our brains a boost. We’re told the study had positive results. Although the full publication won’t be released for a few months, it’s always good to hear companies are making progress with this type of research (

You may remember that amino acids are the building blocks that make up proteins, along with various other important biological functions. They’re essential to life. Ergothioneine may not be as familiar, perhaps because its natural sources are few and far between. It’s mostly found in certain types of fungi. We can’t produce ergothioneine for ourselves, and not everyone has it as a regular part of their diet.

Despite this rarity, we do have evidence suggesting ergothioneine’s usefulness, especially in longevity-related contexts. For example, it may protect against oxidative stress and damage. As it can also cross the blood-brain barrier, this means it may be a useful weapon in the fight against neurodegenerative diseases like dementia, some of the most feared and debilitating disorders of old age.

People with lower levels of ergothioneine may be at a higher risk of both neurodegenerative conditions and cardiovascular issues. On the other hand, people who eat mushrooms rich in ergothioneine, or who take ergothioneine supplements, may see their cognitive abilities protected or even enhanced, along with a more general increase in their longevity.

So, if we know all this already, what makes the newest ergothioneine research so special? A company called Blue California has just conducted a full human trial (double blind and placebo controlled) of what it calls “ErgoActive”, its own special formula of ergothioneine. The trial took place in Australia and involved elderly participants who were generally healthy but had reported issues with their memory.

The trial suggested that ErgoActive could boost memory and cognitive function, in addition to improving sleep quality. On top of that, it appears to be safe and stable, with high bioavailability, meaning even a small amount could work effectively for an extended period of time. This takes our understanding of ergothioneine even further, with significant implications for future research.

It’s important to remember that ergothioneine is still a supplement and can’t replace medical drugs, but Blue California and others are certainly looking forward to seeing what else it can do.

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