Blue California Files Patent on the Use of Ergothioneine as a Support for Oxidative Stress Related Health Conditions, including COVID-19

Blue California’s proprietary Ergothioneine formulations and its potential amelioration and/or beneficial effects in oxidative stress conditions is the subject of its earlier patent filing in February of this year. Now, Blue California has filed a second patent application on the potential role of its Ergothioneine formulations for oxidative stress indications presented in viral infections such as COVID-19 as well as common inflammatory disease conditions.

Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif and Bedford, Mass., July 14, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Blue California, a science-based, innovative ingredient solution provider, has just filed for a patent on therapeutic uses of the ingredient Ergothioneine. This follows Blue California’s Feb. 2020 patent application reporting the discovery that Ergothioneine inhibits the shortening of telomeres typically associated with oxidative stress. Specifically, it claims that Ergothioneine can mitigate oxidative stress triggering the inflammatory response in many chronic conditions associated with heart disease, diabetes and cancer.  Also, in support of other oxidative conditions associated with oxidative stress including COVID-19 as well as other viral diseases.

“Blue California has been at the forefront of research and development regarding Ergothioneine using our branded ingredient ErgoActive®,” stated Dr. Priscilla Samuel, chief science officer at Blue California, “We have found through our research that Ergothioneine has tremendous potential to combat oxidative stress and health conditions associated with it.

Ergothioneine is a naturally occurring amino acid normally provided to the body from dietary sources such as mushrooms in which it is particularly rich.  Humans produce a highly specific transport protein called OCTN1 for Ergothioneine, leading many to speculate about its importance to human health.1   It is a super antioxidant, and renowned scientist Dr. Bruce Ames has even proposed classifying it as a “longevity vitamin.”2

“The possibilities for ErgoActive to be incorporated in an immune health supplement or in a functional food or beverage are immense,” commented Katie Ferren, vice president of sales and marketing at Blue California.  “This opens up the door for support in some exciting health applications.”

Blue California is one of the only companies in the United States that has received a no-objection from the FDA to its GRAS notification on Ergothioneine with their branded ingredient ErgoActive.  The company exclusively manufactures and distributes ErgoActive for Conagen, a greater Boston area biotechnology company with a large portfolio of products for the food, nutrition, and pharma markets. Vice President of Innovation at Conagen Dr. Casey Lippmeier explains, “ErgoActive is an ideal nutrient and we produce it with a proprietary fermentation process.  Ours is the only sustainable, commercially available source of Ergothioneine which does not rely on chemical synthesis or extraction from mushrooms.”

Blue California and Conagen are eager for next steps. “Blue California recently invested in both in vitro and in vivo research of ErgoActive.  We will be studying how Ergothioneine supplementation can support various health benefits, including immune health.  We also look forward to clinical studies that further test and demonstrate these novel benefits included in our patent application, and in the emerging scientific literature,” said Dr. Samuel.

ErgoActive® is a registered trademark of Blue California, Inc.


  1. Beelman, R, Kalaras, MD & Richie, JP. Micronutrients and bioactive compounds in mushrooms: a recipe for healthy aging? Nutr Today 2019; (54): 16–22
  2. Ames BN. Prolonging healthy aging: longevity vitamins and proteins. PNAS.2018;115(43):10836–44.

About Blue California and Conagen

Blue California provides innovative solutions to global partners in the development and manufacture of botanical extracts and other unique ingredients. With more than 20 years of innovation, our ingredients are used in commercial products and applications in the industries of nutrition, personal care, healthy aging and wellness, functional food and beverage, and beauty.

Conagen is making the impossible possible. Our scientists and engineers are bettering humankind and the world by employing advanced synthetic biology tools for the bioproduction of high-value ingredients for food, nutrition, flavor and fragrance, pharmaceutical, and renewable materials industries.