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glutathione

  • Most of the substances that are classified as vitamins were discovered decades ago. Required in tiny amounts for normal growth and development, vitamins must be obtained from the diet. Determining vitamin status is not quite as straight forward as this suggests, which is one reason that new vitamins on occasion still are discovered. Ergothioneine, an amino acid that is relatively abundant in certain mushrooms, currently is being proposed by a number of scientists as the latest new vitamin. Evidence includes the existence of a specific cellular transporter, accumulation of the compound in cells followed by its retention.1,2 Solomon Snyder at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine not only has suggested that ergothioneine may be a vitamin, but also has concluded that for some purposes this would-be vitamin is as potent as glutathione, one of the body's most potent endogenous antioxidants and detoxifiers.3

    Anti-Aging Potential for Heart and Mind
    Mushrooms are rich sources of both ergothioneine and the well-known nutrient, glutathione.4 The edible fungi that are high in the one have been found to be high in the other. As a dietary source of these compounds, it is significant that mushrooms remain viable sources even after cooking,something not true of many nutrient sources.

    The antioxidant functions of glutathione include recycling (reducing) the vitamins C and E as well as serving as a critical free radical scavenger to support antioxidant activity in all tissues, especially the liver and phase 2 detoxification reactions. In its reduced (non-oxidized) form, glutathione acts as a substrate in conjugation reactions. Whereas phase 1 detoxification makes fat-soluble toxins more water soluble in preparation for elimination from the body, a step that actually can increase toxicity, phase 2 detoxification binds toxins to carriers, such as glutathione, sulfate, glycine and glucuronic acid. One role for ergothioneine may be cardiovascular protection.5 This could involve amelioration of chronic inflammatory states, such as are found in heart disease and related condition.6 As part of its anti-inflammatory function, it is interesting that ergothioneine is found together with glutathione in mushroom sources. Although glutathione is often almost totally depleted in the face of oxidative stress, ergothioneine concentrations tend to remain relatively stable. "These properties suggest a role for ET [ergothioneine] as a bulwark, a final defense for cells against oxidative damage. Its stability may help mitochondria cope with otherwise overwhelming stresses encountered even during relatively physiologic metabolism."7

    mushroom types

    Ergothioneine has been shown to be involved in protecting injured tissues.8 In this and a number of other functions, there is a clear overlap with glutathione. Of particular interest is the impact on neurodegenerative diseases. As one of the primary ergothioneine researchers, Robert Beelman of The Pennsylvania State University, recently commented,

    "It's preliminary, but you can see that countries that have more ergothioneine in their diets, countries like France and Italy, also have lower incidences of neurodegenerative diseases, while people in countries like the United States, which has low amounts of ergothioneine in the diet, have a higher probability of diseases like Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's. Now whether that's just a correlation or causative, we don't know. But, it's something to look into, especially because the difference between the countries with low rates of neurodegenerative diseases is about 3 milligrams per day, which is about five button mushrooms each day."9

    A study published last year by researchers in Singapore adds support for Dr. Beelman's hypothesis that ergothioneine is neuroprotective. As already mentioned, the compound seems to accumulate preferentially in tissues subject to oxidative stress and inflammation. Based on this, the Singapore-based scientists looked at whole blood levels in older individuals. Their finding was that ergothioneine levels were significantly lower in those over 60 years of age. In subjects suffering from mild cognitive impairment, blood levels, again, were lower than in age-matched controls. Researchers concluded that the decline suggests that deficiency in ergothioneine may predispose individuals to neurodegenerative diseases.10

    Of common edible mushrooms, ergothioneine concentration is highest in the porcini, an Italian favorite. Also tested and found adequate as sources, descending order of richness (strongly dependent on which portion of the growth cycle is involved), are shiitake, oyster, maitake, king oyster, and then, in a dead heat, portabellas, crimini and white button mushrooms.

    Unexpected Benefits
    Let's face it, consuming mushrooms merely as sources of an arcane newly discovered vitamin is not nearly as appealing as eating your favorite fungi for properly gourmet reasons (pizza topping, steak sauce, ravioli filling, etc.) while accruing unexpected benefits, such as weight maintenance or even weight loss. Recent studies suggest that one can be both gourmand and lean.

    For instance, University of Minnesota research found that mushrooms are more filling based on roughly equal amounts of calories than is 93 percent lean ground beef.11 Thirty-two healthy participants (17 women, 15 men) consumed two servings of mushrooms or meat for ten days, i.e., mushrooms (226 grams) and meat (28 grams) eaten in a randomized open-label crossover study. On the first day, fasted participants consumed protein-matched breakfasts of containing either mushrooms or meat. Participants rated their satiety using visual analogue scales at start and at regular intervals after the meal. Three hours later, participants were served an ad libitum (eat as much as desired) lunch. Participants were given mushrooms or meat to consume at home for the following nine days. Under these conditions, mushroom eaters consumed more fiber, but there was no significant difference in calorie intake over the ten days of the trial. The findings were that consuming the mushrooms led to less hunger during the day, greater feelings of satiety after meals and less desire to eat within three hours of the mushroom meal.

    The above trial lasted only ten days. The real question is "what happens if mushrooms are substituted for meat, say, for a year?" In fact, that trial has been conducted. A one-year, randomized clinical trial conducted by researchers at the Weight Management Center at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and funded by the Mushroom Council found that substituting white button mushrooms for red meat enhanced weight loss and helped maintain that loss in among 73 obese adults (64 women and 9 men).12 Subjects substitute one cup of mushrooms per day for a protein serving while keeping the rest of their diet the same. Controls followed their normal diets. At the end of the trial, participants on the mushroom diet reported lower intakes of energy and fat, had lost more pounds and percentage body weight (an averaged seven pounds), had a lower body mass index, exhibited a smaller waist circumference (decreased by an average of 2.6 inches), had less total body fat, and had lower systolic and diastolic pressure (-7.9 and -2.5 mmHg, respectively).

    Mushrooms are relatively high in fiber and low in calories, meaning that they are not calorically dense. They also help to modulate blood sugar, a benefit that likely factors in to their impact on satiety. Whatever the mechanisms of action, being useful for achieving and maintaining significant weight loss over the course of a year while adding variety and taste to meals is a worthy achievement.

    The Latest on Mushroom Supplements

    Mushrooms used in cooking are the fruiting bodies, not mere mycelium. This is an important distinction, as well, for mushrooms used as dietary supplements. Unfortunately, supplements far too often are based only on the mycelium. A recent United States Pharmacopeia study confirms a lack of medicinal compounds in many Reishi supplements. As pointed out in a press release by the Nammex company, nineteen different Reishi mushroom products sold in the United States were tested for the compounds that characterize real Reishi mushroom (fruiting body).

    Researchers used scientifically identified and validated Reishi mushrooms as their standard. Various highly accurate testing methods were utilized, including HPTLC, Colorimetric method, GC-MS, and High Performance Size-exclusion Chromatography. The results of their study demonstrated clearly that only 5 of 19 samples could be verified as genuine Reishi mushroom. Most of the other products lacked characteristic triterpenoids and also had a starch-like polysaccharide profile that was inconsistent with Reishi mushroom.

    The researchers themselves concluded that the "results showed that the measured ingredients of only 5 tested samples (26.3%) were in accordance with their labels, which suggested the quality consistency of G. lucidum dietary supplements in the U.S. market was poor, which should be carefully investigated." 13

    References:

    1. Gründemann D, Harlfinger S, Golz S, Geerts A, Lazar A, Berkels R, Jung N, Rubbert A, Schömig E. Discovery of the ergothioneine transporter. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Apr 5;102(14):5256–61.
    2. Gründemann D. The ergothioneine transporter controls and indicates ergothioneine activity—a review. Prev Med. 2012 May;54 Suppl:S71– 4.
    3. Paul BD, Snyder SH. The unusual amino acid L-ergothioneine is a physiologic cytoprotectant. Cell Death Differ. 2010 Jul;17(7):1134 – 40.
    4. Kalaras MD, Richie JP, Calcagnotto A, Beelman RB. Mushrooms: A rich source of the antioxidants ergothioneine and glutathione. Food Chem. 2017 Oct 15;233:429– 433.
    5. Servillo L, D'Onofrio N, Balestrieri ML. Ergothioneine Antioxidant Function: From Chemistry to Cardiovascular Therapeutic Potential. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2017 Apr;69(4):183–191.
    6. Grigat S, Harlfinger S, Pal S, Striebinger R, Golz S, Geerts A, Lazar A, Schömig E, Gründemann D. Probing the substrate specificity of the ergothioneine transporter with methimazole, hercynine, and organic cations. Biochem Pharmacol. 2007 Jul 15;74(2):309–16.
    7. Paul BD, Snyder SH. The unusual amino acid L-ergothioneine is a physiologic cytoprotectant. Cell Death Differ. 2010 Jul;17(7):1134–40.
    8. Halliwell B, Cheah IK, Drum CL. Ergothioneine, an adaptive antioxidant for the protection of injured tissues? A hypothesis. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2016 Feb 5;470(2):245–250.
    9. http://news.psu.edu/story/491477/2017/11/09/research/mushrooms-are-full-antioxidants-may-haveantiaging-potential
    10. Cheah IK, Feng L, Tang RMY, Lim KHC, Halliwell B. Ergothioneine levels in an elderly population decrease with age and incidence of cognitive decline; a risk factor for neurodegeneration? Biochem Biophys Res Commun.2016 Sep 9;478(1):162–167.
    11. Hess JM, Wang Q, Kraft C, Slavin JL. Impact of Agaricus bisporus mushroom consumption on satiety and food intake. Appetite. 2017 Oct 1;117:179–185.
    12. Poddar KH, Ames M, Hsin-Jen C, Feeney MJ, Wang Y, Cheskin LJ. Positive effect of mushrooms substituted for meat on body weight, body composition, and health parameters. A 1-year randomized clinical trial. Appetite. 2013 Dec;71:379–87.
    13. Wu DT, Deng Y, Chen LX, Zhao J, Bzhelyansky A, Li SP. Evaluation on quality consistency of Ganoderma lucidum dietary supplements collected in the United States. Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 10;7(1):7792.
  • Dear Readers,

    Welcome to the October 2019 issue of TotalHealth Online Magazine.

    This issue begins with Dr. Charles Bens all-encompassing article on Radiation: The Silent Killer. The current renewed interest about the impact of radiation on our health is primarily due to the introduction of the 5G technology for wireless electronic communication. The older 3G system used 2.4 Ghz (gigahertz) of power while the new 5G system will use up to 90 Ghz. The impact on wireless transmission can be illustrated by the following comparison: 3G- a two-hour movie can be downloaded in 26 hours and 5G- a two-hour movie can be downloaded in 3.6 seconds. Read on for the human and environmental impacts.

    Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, Rh(Ahg), presents Glutathione (GSH): A Tripeptide of Paramount Importance. GSH has a wide variety of functions in the body. Supplemental GSH is bioavailable and will increase GSH levels in the body. Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of GSH as a part of the liver’s natural detoxification process, an agent to reduce UV-induced skin spots, a treatment for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and a means of preventing muscle fatigue. Many oxidative stressors can deplete GSH, including ultraviolet and other radiation, viral infections, environmental toxins, household chemicals, heavy metals, surgery, inflammation, burns, septic shock, and dietary deficiencies of GSH precursors and enzyme cofactors.

    Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum follows up with his part 2 with Healing Emotional Trauma article about what happens when the nervous system “freezes.” This happens during a trauma where you can’t fight and you can’t run. Such as a child being beaten by an alcoholic parent. But in addition, your muscles, and the fascia tissue, which encases them, tighten up like a suit of armor, while your body goes into a hyper alert and numb mode. This mode persists until you do something very critical to reset the system and release the muscles and fascia. To learn a therapy you can do on your own, in a place of your choosing, read this article for Dr. T.'s professional advice on how to deal with this.

    Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, The Smart Kitchen—Part 2 Smart Cooking Tools For Smart Eating. The more Smart Fat you eat (and digest properly), the faster you will lose weight, restore your cell membranes from head to toe and repair your stress, hunger and sex hormones while insuring that soft, wrinkle-free skin! Let Ann Louise explain the health reasons behind her every suggestion. And gives us a total picture on how to start with the basics and how this effects our health and that of our families.

    Gloria Gilbère, CDP, DAHom, PhD, presents Health Benefits of Coconut Flour. Coconut flour has various health benefits from those of other coconut products—such as the oil for instance—and it offers a great gluten-free and very low carbohydrate alternative to conventional flour. Considered a functional food, coconut flour exhibits properties that significantly benefit health and is a valuable source of nutrition. She will continue the story of coconut flour including receipts in the next two issues.

    Shawn Messonnier’s, DVM, continues with part 2 on Asthma in pets.

    Thank you to our authors, readers, and advertisers. You make TotalHealth online possible.

    Best in health,

    TWIP—The Wellness Imperative People

    Click here to read the full October 2019 issue.

    • Radiation: The Silent Killer
      Charles Bens, PhD
    • Glutathione: A Tripeptide Of Paramount Importance
      Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG)
    • Healing Emotional Trauma—Part 2
      Jacob Teitelbaum, MD
    • Smart Cooking Tools For Smart Eating
      Anne Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS
    • Health Benefits Of Coconut Flour
      Gloria Gilbère, CDP, DAHom, PhD
    • Asthma in Pets—Part 2
      Shawn Messonnier, DVM

    Click here to read the full Octoberr 2019 issue.

  • THE FOOD—MOOD CONNECTION PLAYS A MASSIVE ROLE IN HOW WE FEEL.

    The nutritionally depleted wasteland we call the Standard American Diet is causing widespread nutritional deficiencies, along with an epidemic of anxiety and depression. The solution is simple, and it's NOT more Prozac. Instead, simply eating a diet high in fish, meat, fruits and vegetables, and low in processed foods and added sugar, can help you feel dramatically better. To make this easier, low cost nutritional and herbal support can also give people their lives back, without the toxicity of psychiatric medications.

    Here are the key ones, which I take myself each day to turbocharge energy and optimize health, while also leaving me being a calm, happy soul:

    1. B vitamins and folate. These are critical for proper brain function. Research has shown that supplementing with vitamin B1 improved mood, likely by increasing a brain neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. It also decreases anxiety. A side benefit? Improving memory at the same time. Vitamin B1 deficiency was also shown to worsen learning disorders in young children, and increase aggressive behavior to the point where some had to enter a mental hospital. This problem resolved with vitamin B1 supplementation. Vitamin B2 has been associated with decreasing risk of postpartum depression, while also decreasing migraine frequency by an astounding 69 percent! B12 and folic acid have also been shown to be helpful for depression. Ignore the RDAs, which I call Ridiculous Dietary Allowances, and instead take a 50 mg B complex each day. Make sure that some of folic acid is in a form called 5MTHF.
    2. Magnesium is critical in hundreds of reactions in the body, and deficiency is present in the majority of Americans. Low magnesium will put you on a hair trigger for anxiety, as well as for pain. Take 200 mg a day.
    3. NAC, which our bodies use to make the critical antioxidant called glutathione, has been shown to be helpful in a wide array of psychological problems. For day-to-day supplementation, I recommend 250 mg.
    4. Vitamin D* deficiency is associated with many autoimmune problems as well as with depression. As this is the "sunshine vitamin," the insane advice to avoid sunshine has triggered an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency. Take 1000 units daily. To make this simple and low-cost, all of the above can be found for about $.60 a day in a single drink called the Energy Revitalization System by Enzymatic Therapy. Another key cause of depression and anxiety is deficiency of omega-3 fish oils. Unfortunately, it takes seven large capsules a day of most forms to get the proper therapeutic effect. A simpler low-cost solution? A special form of pure omega-3's that have been vectorized (which is another way of saying that they remain bioidentical) can be found in a product called Vectomega by Terry Naturally. One a day replaces seven fish oil pills.
    5. Got depression? Repeated studies have shown that a special highly absorbed form of curcumin called CuraMed (also by Terry Naturally) 750 mg 2x day was more effective than antidepressants in head on studies. In addition, instead of the side effects of the medications, curcumin is associated with side benefits, including less pain, optimizing immunity to decrease cancer risk, and likely lower risk of Alzheimer's.
    6. For anxiety, it is not necessary to be addicted to Xanax. A special herbal called AnxioCalm, two twice a day, was shown to be as effective at restoring calm as the Valium family medications after six weeks of use. With no addiction or side effects.

    This simple regimen can leave you feeling fantastic, at lowcost. Give it six weeks to see the full effect. It can also safely be combined with mood medications. It's easy to feel calm and happy—naturally!


    *Editor's Note: We strongly recommend you visit GrassrootsHealth.net to learn more about Vitamin D, its importance, how to determine what dosage is right for you, and most of all, why it is so darn important you have sufficient levels of Vitamin D. Did you know serum levels greater than 40 ng/ml are associated with > 65% lower risk of cancer?1 Or that serum levels of 40-60 ng/ml may provide a significant reduction in breast cancer risk? Or lower risk for type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer and much, much more.

    GrassrootsHealth is a nonprofit public health research organization dedicated to moving public health messages regarding vitamin D from research into practice. It has a panel of 48 senior vitamin D researchers from around the world contributing to its operations. GrassrootsHealth is currently running the D*action field trial to solve the vitamin D deficiency epidemic worldwide. Under the D*action umbrella, there are also targeted programs for breast cancer prevention and a ‘Protect Our Children NOW!’ program to stop vitamin D deficiency where it starts, in utero.

    End Notes:

    1. Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentrations ≥40 ng/ml Are Associated with >65% Lower Cancer Risk: Pooled Analysis of Randomized Trial and Prospective Cohort Study