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If you haven’t heard about spermidine before, now is a good time to get to know this youth-boosting compound. But don’t let its strange name mislead you. Spermidine is actually one of the most researched compounds in longevity science. And the good news is,  you can easily include it in your diet or even supplement with it.  Here’s what you need to know.

What is spermidine?

Spermidine was first discovered and named by Dutch microscopist Anton Van Leeuwenhoek in 1687.  It’s a polyamine compound and not exclusively found in semen. Actually spermidine is found in many regular food sources.

Why is it such a hot topic in longevity science?

Spermidine plays a critical role in cell function and survival. Studies have shows that polyamine levels decrease with age.

One study found that higher survival rates among humans were linked to increased spermidine intake.

The link between longevity and spermidine

Spermidine is getting air time because it holds a lot of promise when it comes to longevity. Ask David Sinclair, PhD, recognised longevity expert. He posted this comment recently.

Spermadine

Protects against heart disease

Spermidine can also reduce blood pressure levels. It will lower your risk of  heart failure, and other cardiovascular diseases.

Stimulate autophagy

Spermidine stimulates autophagy. Simply explained, autophagy is the recycling mechanism of the cell.  Think of it like the body’s spring cleaning process. It cleans out dysfunctional and damaged cells and regenerates through the creation of newer, healthier cells.

Boost the immune system

Spermidine is also an important factor in the regulation of the immune system on various levels.

According to Nature, “Spermidine treatment has been shown to prolong the life span of yeast, flies, worms, mammalian cells and mice and to lead to cardio protection and improved cognitive function in aging mice.”

Combats neuro-degenerative disease

Taking spermidine supplements can reverse neuro damage caused by inflammation and oxidative stress.  Spermidine plays a critical role in cell function and survival

As a result, it can help decrease the risk of suffering diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Alters the lipid metabolism

Lipid metabolism is the synthesis and degradation of lipids in cells. This involves the breakdown or storage of fats for energy as well as the synthesis of structural and functional lipids, such as those involved in the construction of cell membranes. Lipid metabolism is a strong regulator of health and lifespan.

Therefore, a dysfunction can have a negative impact on your health and lifespan. This is where spermidine comes in and aids the dysregulation process positively!

Reduces inflammation

Aging is strongly linked to chronic inflammation, which in turn leads to chronic damage to cells. Inflammation is associated with many age-associated diseases.  The good news is, research shows that polyamines like spermidine have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Decreases risk of cancer

Studies have found that eating a spermidine-rich diet could potentially reduce the risk of cancer-related deaths in humans.  For example, spermidine can help prevent liver fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. These are some of the most common causes of liver cancer.

What foods contain spermidine?

The compound is found in fresh green pepper, wheat germ, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms and a variety of cheeses. Even higher amounts are found in soybean products. These include natto, shitake mushrooms, amaranth grain, and durian. This may explain why the Japanese have such good longevity. Take for example  the Okinawans. They live on an island off the coast of Japan and eat a diet high in spermidine.

Also, certain fruits and vegetables containing spermidine can be found in the Mediterranean diet. This diet is known to promote longevity.

spermadine [longevity live]

Here are the top 16 foods to include in your diet

  1. Wheat germ
  2. Amaranth grain
  3. Whole grain
  4. Chickpeas
  5. Cauliflower
  6. Broccoli
  7. Fresh green pepper
  8. Mushrooms (particularly shitake mushrooms)
  9. Nat-to
  10. Durian
  11. Grapefruit
  12. Oranges
  13. Green Tea
  14. Legumes
  15. Certain mature cheeses
  16. Soy products

What about supplementation?

Can we get enough spermidine in our diet? Well there’s always a debate about this. However, there’s a fair amount of literature to support the case for using supplements. This is in addition to having a good healthy diet of course.

These supplements are made from synthetic spermidine which are identical to the naturally occurring molecule. However, don’t buy blindly. Make sure you buy from a reputable source.

How to choose the right spermidine supplement?

Rules regarding supplementation vary by country. You’ll need to do some basic research on the regulations in your country.

As a basic rule, all supplements would be labeled with information regarding their manufacturing practices. They will also identify which country they are produced in and regulated by.

Buy wisely

In the US, purchase products with labels showing they’ve been tested by either an independent, non-profit. like the US Pharmacopoeial (USP) Convention Dietary Supplement Verification  Program or ConsumerLab.com.

Purchase dietary supplements made in countries where there are regulations to protect consumers and from established outlets.

Research a product before buying it and check reviews, especially the value of reporting use, as well as any bad reactions. You can also look at the About Herbs, website, which also helps you understand ingredients and what to look out for.

The bottom line

The name may raise eyebrows. However, if the research is anything to go by spermidine will help you live better for longer, naturally.

References

Lifespan: Spermidine: https://www.lifespan.io/news/a-summary-of-spermidine
Nature: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-08168-2
Minois N, Carmona-Gutierrez D, Madeo F: Polyamines in aging and disease. Aging 2011;3:716-732
Pucciarelli S, Moreschini B, Micozzi D, De Fronzo GS, Carpi FM, Polzonetti V, Vincenzetti S, Mignini F, Napolioni V: Spermidine and spermine are enriched in whole-blood of nona/centenarians. Rejuv Res 2012;15:590-595
Soda K, Kano Y, Sakuragi M, Takao K, Lefor A, Konishi F: Long-term oral polyamine intake increases blood polyamines concentrations. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol 2009;55:361-366
Soda K, Dobashi Y, Kano Y, Tsujinaka S, Konishi F: Polyamine-rich food decreases age-associated pathology and mortality in aged mice. Exp Gerontol 2009;44:727-732
Morselli E, Mariño G, Bennetzen MV, Eisenberg T, Megalou E, Schroeder S, Cabrera S, Bénit P, Rustin P, Criollo A, Kepp O, Galluzzi L, Shen S, Malik SA, Maiuri MC, Horio Y, López-Otín C, Andersen JS, Tavernarakis N, Madeo F, Kroemer G: Spermidine and resveratrol induce autophagy by distinct pathways converging on the acetylproteome. J Cell Biol 2011;192:615-629.
Minois N, Carmona-Gutierrez D, Bauer MA, Rockenfeller P, Eisenberg T, Brandhorst S, Sisgrist SJ, Kroemer G, Madeo F: Spermidine promotes stress resistance in Drosophila melanogaster through autophagy-dependent and -independent pathways. Cell Death Dis 2012;3:e401.
Choi YH, Park HY: Anti-inflammatory effects of spermidine in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated BV2 microglial cells. J Biomed Sci 2012;19:31.
Paul S, Kang SC: Natural polyamine inhibits mouse skin inflammation and macrophage activation. Inflamm Res 2013;62:681-688.
Vuohelainen S, Pirinen E, Cerrada-Gimenez M, Keinänen TA, Uimari M, Khomutov AR, Jänne J, Alhonen L: Spermidine is indispensable in differentiation of 3T3-L1 fibroblasts to adipocytes. J Cell Mol Med 2010;14:1683-1692.
Ishii I, Ikeguchi Y, Mano H, Wada M, Pegg AE, Shirahata A: Polyamine metabolism is involved in adipogenesis of 3T3-L1 cells. Amino Acids 2012;42:619-626
Maccarrone M, Bari M, Battista N, Di Rienzo M, Falciglia K, Finazzi Agrò A: Oxidation products of polyamines induce mitochondrial uncoupling and cytochrome c release. FEBS Lett 2001;507:30-34.
Bennetzen MV, Marino G, Pultz D, Morselli E, Faergeman NJ, Kroemer G, Andersen JS: Phosphoproteomic analysis of cells treated with longevity-related autophagy inducers. Cell Cycle 2012;11:1827-1840.
Vellai T, Takács-Vellai K, Sass M, Klionsky DJ: The regulation of aging: does autophagy underlie longevity? Trends Cell Biol 2009;19:487-494
Stark F, Pfannstiel J, Klaiber I, Raabe T: Protein kinase CK2 links polyamine metabolism to MAPK signaling in Drosophila. Cell Signal 2011;23:876-882
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Gisèle Wertheim Aymes

Gisèle is the owner of the Longevity brand and a self-proclaimed health hedonist. When she is not working, you'll find in her in a yoga class or active in the great outdoors. Gisèle is passionate about health and sharing information. You can follow her @giselewaymes on Twitter and Instagram or read her Linked-In profile for full bio details.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

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