Mushrooms may reduce high blood pressure during pregnancy

In a new study, researchers found that a compound most commonly found in mushrooms could help alleviate some features of pre-eclampsia in pregnancy.

They found a natural diet‐derived substance in mushrooms, L-ergothioneine can alleviate some of the features of this condition.

The research was conducted by scientists from the University of Liverpool and University College Cork.

Pre-eclampsia is a complex disorder of pregnancy that can have potentially serious consequences for women and their babies.

It remains a leading cause of maternal and neonatal death around the globe.

There is currently is no cure for preeclampsia other than delivery, which can present a major medical problem if the condition results in extremely premature birth.

Previous research has found that pre-eclampsia may be caused by substances released from the placenta that disrupt normal biological processes in the mother.

In particular, disruption of mitochondrial function can lead to exaggerated oxidative stress.

Ergothioneine is a potent and effective mitochondrial antioxidant. Ergothioneine can be found in a wide variety of foods, but the chief source of ergothioneine in the human diet is mushrooms.

In the study, the team wanted to see if a natural antioxidant could ameliorate some of the biological features of pre-eclampsia using our model of the disease.

They found that treating rats with pre-eclampsia with the natural antioxidant L-ergothioneine reduced blood pressure, prevented fetal growth restriction and dampened production of the damaging substances released from the placenta during pre-eclampsia.

Furthermore, using an exciting new approach, they identified that treatment with ergothioneine diminished mitochondrial-derived oxidative stress.

The team hopes their findings could encourage more research for a treatment for pre-eclampsia.

Ergothioneine appears to be a safe, natural diet‐derived antioxidant whose therapeutic potential looks promising.

One author of the study is Professor Louise Kenny from the University of Liverpool.

The study is published in Hypertension.

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