Ergothioneine, a naturally-occurring amino acid that certain plants can derive from histidine, serves a variety of essential functions within the human body. Recently, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has released a potentially groundbreaking ruling on the safety of the use of ergothioneine in food and supplements, which could have big-picture implications for the continued use and benefits of amino acids as advanced ingredients to improve skin health, function, and appearance.
What Is Ergothioneine?
Although we have known that ergothioneine exists for years, it wasn’t until fairly recently that researchers discovered how our bodies use this amino acid. As it turns out, ergothioneine accumulates in highest concentrations in areas of the body that tend to experience large amounts of oxidative stress, including the eyes and liver . Using this information as a starting point, scientists were able to pinpoint ergothioneine as a powerful antioxidant that is naturally present inside the nuclei of cells, as well as within mitochondria, which serve as powerhouses for cells [1, 2].
The problem, however, is that ergothioneine can not be synthesized by the human body, so it must be obtained from outside sources. While there are a variety of food sources that contain this amino acid, including mushrooms, many of us may not be getting enough of this powerful antioxidant through diet alone.
Safe and Effective
While evidence in favor of using ergothioneine supplements as a way to increase the amount available in our bodies has been growing for years, it wasn’t until recently that the FDA designated ergothioneine has GRAS (generally recognized as safe) and the EFSA followed suit, deeming this amino acid as safe for use in supplements and other products [3,4]. In fact, experts have suggested that ergothioneine should be classified as a vitamin due to its important role in preventing potentially harmful oxidation within cells while simultaneously protecting our DNA [1, 3].
Moreover, researchers have found that ergothioneine, along with other amino acids, can help to slow the natural aging process by reducing inflammation and oxidization, two key contributors to premature aging . The implications of the EFSA’s new ruling on the use of ergothioneine could be a major breakthrough in anti-aging strategies for both general body health and the skin’s appearance.
Amino Acids in Skin Care
Ergothioneine is one example of just how vital amino acids are to the functionality and health of our entire bodies, including our skin. Experts have known about its existence and pondered its importance for a century, but ergothioneine is only now becoming more widely recognized as an essential nutrient that may need to be supplemented through our diets and topical products.
The same story of gradual recognition is true for many amino acids, including histidine from which ergothioneine is derived. Fortunately, a growing body of research is shedding much light on the essential nature of amino acids when it comes to bettering our overall health and the look and feel of our skin. Current evidence suggests that the most effective way to utilize amino acids in order to improve the health and appearance of the skin is to combine all 20 of the amino acids included in the human genome into a single formula.
As a result, AminoTherapy by AminoGenesis is one of the most advanced amino acid skin care products currently available, as it contains all 20 of these amino acids and can therefore improve the skin in a multitude of ways. As a single, multifunctional product, AminoTherapy can address lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone, sun damage, oxidative stress, and dry or oily skin. It delivers the science of amino acids into an easy, daily routine.
As researchers continue to uncover the myriad of health and skin benefits of amino acids and their derivatives like ergothioneine, supplements and skin care products that contain these beneficial nutrients will continue to increase in popularity. This recent designation that ergothioneine is a safe and effective ingredient to provide powerful antioxidant protection is yet another validation that the key to better health and better skin may come from an increasing understanding of how amino acids work.
If you want to stay on top of your skin’s health and appearance and stay ahead of the game, give AminoGenesis products a try today!
 Nutrition Facts