Mushrooms have long been touted for their health benefits, but new research from Penn State has found that these fungi contain high levels of two powerful antioxidants that could lead to anti-aging benefits. The study, published in the latest issue of Food Chemistry, found that mushrooms contain high amounts of ergothioneine and glutathione, two antioxidants that are essential for protecting our cells from damage caused by free radicals.

According to Robert Beelman, Professor Emeritus of Food Science and Director of the Penn State Center for Plant and Mushroom Products for Health, mushrooms are the richest source of these two antioxidants. Different species of mushrooms contain varying levels of these compounds, with the porcini species, a wild variety, containing the highest amounts. White button mushrooms, which are the most commonly consumed, contain similar antioxidants but in lesser amounts (1).

One of the main causes of Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM) is oxidative stress, which is when there is an imbalance between the production of ROS and the ability of the body's antioxidant system to neutralize them. This imbalance leads to damage to cells and DNA, which can contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as diabetes. The polysaccharides found in mushrooms have been found to act as antioxidants and reduce the production of ROS, which in turn can reduce the risk of diabetes complications.

Research has also found that mushroom polysaccharides can target the pathways that lead to diabetic complications. One of the ways they do this is by activating stress-sensitive intracellular signalling pathways that are associated with the development of diabetes. By targeting these pathways, mushroom polysaccharides can improve insulin sensitivity and decrease insulin production, which can help to prevent the progression of T2DM.

While much research has been done on the potential benefits of mushroom polysaccharides for treating T2DM, more studies are needed to understand the exact mechanisms behind their antioxidant activity and how they can improve insulin sensitivity. However, the findings of these studies suggest that mushroom polysaccharides may be a promising therapy for diabetes and further research is needed to support their development as a treatment

Overall, this study and the Penn State conducted study both highlight the importance of incorporating mushrooms into our diet for the sake of our health and well-being. Not only are they delicious and versatile, but they are also packed with essential antioxidants that can protect our cells from damage and potentially lead to anti-aging benefits. So next time you're at the grocery store, pick up some mushrooms and consider adding them to your daily diet.



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