L-ergothioneine antioxidant supplement capsules

The Fitties Blog

L-Ergothioneine: A Powerful Antioxidant and Its Benefits

September 16, 2022 | Supplements and Nutrition

L-ergothioneine is a powerful antioxidant that has gained attention for its potential health benefits and unique properties. In this blog post, we’ll explore what l-ergothioneine is, its benefits, and how to incorporate it into your diet to support overall health and well-being.

What is L-Ergothioneine?

L-ergothioneine is a naturally occurring amino acid and a potent antioxidant, primarily found in certain fungi, plants, and animal tissues. This remarkable compound was first discovered in 1909 by French scientist Charles Tanret, who isolated it from the ergot fungus (Claviceps purpurea), a parasitic fungus that infects cereal grains, particularly rye. Inspired by its source, Tanret coined the name “ergothioneine” as a tribute to the ergot fungus.

Over the years, research into l-ergothioneine has uncovered its unique properties and potential health benefits. It has been found in various dietary sources such as mushrooms, black and red beans, oat bran, and certain organ meats like liver and kidney. Interestingly, l-ergothioneine is synthesized only by certain fungi and bacteria, while plants and animals, including humans, acquire it through their diet.

L-ergothioneine sets itself apart from other antioxidants due to its selective uptake and accumulation in cells via a specific transporter called the ergothioneine transporter (ETT). This transporter is highly conserved among various species, indicating its essential role in cellular function and defense against oxidative stress. The presence of ETT in cells suggests that l-ergothioneine has been recognized as a vital nutrient throughout evolutionary history.

In the past century, the study of l-ergothioneine has expanded, revealing its potential applications in various fields, from skincare to cognitive health. As research continues to unveil the unique properties and benefits of this powerful antioxidant, it is poised to become an essential component in promoting overall health and wellness.

The Benefits of L-Ergothioneine:

L-ergothioneine’s potent antioxidant properties make it an essential nutrient in protecting cells from oxidative stress and inflammation. Some of the key benefits of l-ergothioneine include:

  1. Reducing oxidative stress: L-ergothioneine helps neutralize free radicals, which can cause oxidative stress and damage to cells, proteins, and DNA. By minimizing oxidative stress, l-ergothioneine may help protect against various age-related diseases and improve overall health.
  2. Supporting mitochondrial function: Mitochondria are the energy-producing powerhouses of cells and are particularly susceptible to oxidative damage. L-ergothioneine has been shown to protect mitochondria from oxidative stress, thereby promoting optimal cellular function.
  3. Promoting cognitive health: Studies suggest that l-ergothioneine may help support cognitive health and protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain.
  4. Enhancing immune function: L-ergothioneine may help support a healthy immune system by modulating inflammation and promoting antioxidant defenses.

Dietary Sources of L-Ergothioneine:

L-ergothioneine is found in a variety of dietary sources, with the highest concentrations typically found in certain fungi and animal tissues. Some of the best dietary sources of l-ergothioneine include:

  1. Mushrooms: Edible mushrooms, such as shiitake, maitake, and king oyster, are among the richest sources of l-ergothioneine. Incorporating a variety of mushrooms into your diet can help boost your intake of this powerful antioxidant.
  2. Organ meats: Animal tissues, particularly the liver and kidneys, are also rich in l-ergothioneine. However, it’s essential to choose high-quality, pasture-raised sources to ensure optimal nutrient content and minimize exposure to toxins.
  3. Grains and legumes: Some whole grains, such as barley and oats, as well as certain legumes, including black beans and red beans, contain small amounts of l-ergothioneine.

The Advantages of Fermentation-Based L-Ergothioneine Production

The production of l-ergothioneine via fermentation-based methods has gained significant attention in recent years, as it presents a sustainable and efficient alternative to traditional methods such as chemical synthesis or the costly purification of L-ET from food sources. This innovative approach offers several advantages, including the production of a stable thione-based L-isomer in its free amino acid form, which is highly desirable for various applications.

Fermentation-based production harnesses the power of microorganisms, such as specific fungi or bacteria, to produce l-ergothioneine through a controlled and optimized process. This method not only ensures a consistent and reliable supply of the compound but also allows for scalability, making it an ideal choice for meeting the increasing demand for l-ergothioneine in various industries.

One of the most notable benefits of fermentation-based l-ergothioneine production is the resulting stable thione-based L-isomer, which is the biologically active form of the compound. This particular isomer has been shown to exhibit superior antioxidant properties compared to other forms, making it the preferred choice for incorporation into dietary supplements, skincare products, and other applications where antioxidant benefits are sought.

Additionally, the fermentation process yields l-ergothioneine in its free amino acid form, which has enhanced bioavailability and absorption when consumed or applied topically. This allows for more efficient delivery of the compound to cells and tissues, thereby maximizing its antioxidant and cytoprotective effects.

Environmentally, the fermentation-based method is a sustainable approach to l-ergothioneine production, as it requires fewer resources and generates less waste compared to chemical synthesis or extraction from food sources. This eco-friendly technique aligns with the growing global emphasis on sustainable practices and reduced environmental impact.

FitProtect is a powerful formula featuring the concentrated form of L-ergothioneine, a histone derivative produced using a proprietary fermentation method. This potent supplement offers antioxidant and cytoprotectant benefits, combating oxidative stress and promoting overall health.


L-ergothioneine is a powerful antioxidant with numerous health benefits, including reducing oxidative stress, supporting mitochondrial function, promoting cognitive health, and enhancing immune function. By incorporating l-ergothioneine-rich foods into your diet or considering supplementation, you can help support your body’s defenses against oxidative stress and inflammation, promoting overall health and well-being.

Expand your health and fitness knowledge

Uncover a world of knowledge with Fitties' curated blogs, each offering targeted advice and inspiration to elevate your health, fitness, and lifestyle.

  • Closeup of female scooping FitWhey+

    Supplements and Nutrition

    Navigate the nutritional landscape with expert insights and practical advice on supplements and diets for optimal health and peak performance.

    Explore Guides
  • Fitties Brand Ambassador couple

    Fitness and Training

    Revolutionize your fitness game with unique strategies and inspiration to help you achieve your personal best, no matter where you start.

    Explore Guides
  • Senior male mixing salad in kitchen

    Lifestyle and Wellness

    Tap into practical tips, tricks, and wellness fundamentals for a more balanced and health-focused lifestyle.

    Explore Guides