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Jennifer Grebow is editor-in-chief of Nutritional Outlook.
Until now, commercially available L-ergothioneine has been sold in the synthetic form.
L-ergothioneine is a sulfur-containing amino acid gaining attention in the antioxidants space. Until now, commercially available L-ergothioneine has been sold in the synthetic form. But that’s changing, says Blue California (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA). The company is now selling a natural, fermentation-derived L-ergothioneine ingredient, trademarked ErgoActive.
“We are very excited about introducing this unique amino acid,” said Cecilia McCollum, Blue California’s executive vice president, in a press release. “We believe that dietary supplementation with ErgoActive may help control premature aging, chronic inflammation, and other health problems related to oxidative stress.”
L-ergothioneine was discovered in 1909 when it was purified from the ergot mushroom. The amino acid is not synthesized by the body and thus must be obtained through the diet or supplementation. According to Blue California, “Recently, scientists discovered that mammals have a specific transporter for L-ergothioneine concentrated in cell mitochondria, suggesting an important physiological role for this amino acid." It notes that lack of the L-ergothioneine transporter in mitochondria increases a cell’s vulnerability to oxidative stress.
The company continues to support research on the ingredient, with McCollum pointing out the company is helping to give the scientific community “easy access to this ingredient for future study.”
Commercial production of L-ergothioneine gives the supplements community another option. Blue California says that “until now, commercially available L-ergothioneine has been chemically synthesized and sold at a very high price, making it extremely difficult for product developers to add this ingredient to antioxidant or antiaging formulations.” In May, Nutritional Outlook reported on another company, Tetrahedron, which is seeking U.S. commercialization of a synthetic, GRAS-affirmed ergothioneine ingredient.
Blue California produces ErgoActive via fermentation, “making it the only natural form of L-ergothioneine available in the market today,” the firm says. The ingredient is suited for a range of products, including topical skin products, beverages, and dietary supplements.
Nutritional Outlook magazine