Researchers have found that eating mushrooms could reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia in pregnancy. A study conducted by University College Cork stated that there is a substance in mushrooms called l-ergothioneine, which can alleviate some of the features of the condition.
Pre-eclampsia is a disorder that occurs when you have high blood pressure and protein in your urine. Expectant-mums may also have platelets in blood or kidney or liver trouble. It tends to happen in the 20th week of pregnancy.
It affects 10 percent of first-time pregnancies and there is currently no cure for the condition.
Commenting on the findings, lead researcher, Dr Cathal McCarthy said: “We wanted to see if this natural antioxidant could ameliorate some of the biological features of pre-eclampsia using our model of disease.”
“Our research shows that treating rats with pre-eclampsia with the natural antioxidant L-ergothioneine reduced blood pressure, prevented foetal growth restriction and dampened production of the damaging substances released from the placenta during pre-eclampsia.”
He added: “Using an exciting new approach we identified that treatment with ergothioneine diminished mitochondrial-derived oxidative stress.”
Previous studies have found that pre-eclampsia may be caused when the placenta releases substances that disrupt normal biological processes.
The researchers stressed that ergothioneine is a safe, natural antioxidant.
Human trials and further studies must be conducted but the team believe these findings are promising.