As longevity science advances, people have supplements to add on top of dietary and lifestyle modifications. One recent new focus is spermidine, the intriguingly named polyamine found initially in human sperm.
In 1678, the Dutch scientist Anton Van Leeuwenhoek found spermidine in a sample of human sperm. In the body, spermidine is created from its precursor, putrescine, which is the precursor for another polyamine called spermine, an important compound in cellular function.
How Does Spermidine Work?
The main reason this compound is gaining popularity is due to its mechanism, which is known as autophagy. It is a process through which cells recycle damaged or old organelles to rejuvenate themselves and counteract the effects of aging. Inflammation and oxidative stress, which are at the root of many age-related disorders, may be reduced by the process of autophagy. It is also a quality control system for mitochondria and cellular power cells. Mitochondria that are damaged or faulty can be degraded and disposed of by autophagy. Spermidine promotes autophagy, which slows the onset of aging symptoms in the body’s cells. As a calorie restriction mimetic (CRM), it mimics the effects of fasting on the human body.
Benefits of Spermidine
Dietary supplements are intended to feed your body with nutrients lacking in the contemporary diet and to prevent nutritional deficiencies. Supplements for longevity, such as spermidine, do not rely on nutrients to do their job; instead, they employ active chemicals that target the body’s aging molecular processes.
Spermidine has the potential to improve overall health and life expectancy. Spermidine may protect neurons against inflammation, ischemia, and oxidative stress, which can cause neurodegeneration. Autophagy is one method it uses to dissolve amyloid-beta proteins. They may be linked to neurodegenerative illnesses like Alzheimer’s. A recent 2021 study found that spermidine may be able to slow the progression of dementia in the elderly.
Activating autophagy is spermidine’s primary bodily function yet, promotes health and lifespan in another way. Spermidine has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties (via apoptosis (programmed cell death) which may contribute to a longer lifespan.
Reverse Hallmarks of Aging.
As humans age, molecular and cellular damage accumulates, resulting in aging hallmarks. Longevity supplements affect aging-regulating systems, not aging itself. Spermidine includes active substances that target the biological processes that regulate aging. It has been shown to reduce five of the hallmarks of aging. Recent research was done in 2021, which studied the effect of spermidine on telomere length and found promising results. Similarly, a new research of Dec 2022 studies spermidine’s effect on new proposed hallmarks of aging and found that it reduces all 12 hallmarks of aging.
Spermidine has been studied to increase collagen, elastin, and lipid formation in aged skin cells, improving skin structure and barrier function. To prevent hair greying, this polyamine might be used as a possible activator of melanin production. Another 2021 research proved that the responsiveness of melanocytes is improved by spermidine administration, which results in increased melanin synthesis. Some research implies it helps withstand stress, and age-related disorders arise because spermidine levels diminish with age.
According to one study that investigated the effects of spermidine on various hormones, taking spermidine supplements for 30 days resulted in a substantial reduction in the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in 83% of the participants. For another study on testosterone, men under 50 had a 48.9% rise in testosterone while women had a 48.8% increase after 30 days of spermine and spermidine treatment. Another study examined if spermidine may mitigate the oxidative stress effects on female germline stem cells. These cells treated with spermidine boosted autophagy and stem cell formation, reversing oxidative damage. This recommends spermidine for female fertility therapy as well.
Spermidine Uses in Treatment of Diseases.
Spermidine was reported to reverse the aging process and enhance cardiovascular function in old rats in research published in Science in 2016. Aged mice administered spermidine had healthier hearts and improvements in metabolic activities. Numerous research studies have investigated the anti-aging properties as well. Several animal studies have demonstrated that administering spermidine can aid in the prevention of hepatocellular cancer and liver fibrosis. Human spermidine consumption has been linked to lower mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, according to two population-based studies (reviewed in the same study). According to these and other studies, some experts believe it can slow humans’ aging process. Also, Human observational studies link spermidine use to decreased colon cancer incidence.
Effects on Lipid Metabolism.
Many researchers have explored the role of spermidine in lipid metabolism throughout the years as it is regulated by lipid metabolism. If your lipid metabolism is out of sync, it can significantly impact your life expectancy and health. Adipogenesis is the process through which spermidine aids in forming fat cells known as adipocytes which are formed in stem cells. According to a recent study, giving a polyamine inhibitor known as a-difluoro methyl ornithine (DFMO) can halt the growth of fat cells. When spermidine was inhibited, the lipid metabolism pathway was wiped out totally.
Spermidine and Covid Vaccine Efficacy.
The COVID-19 epidemic has dominated medical headlines recently, affecting longevity, health, and well-being worldwide. Increasing the effectiveness of vaccines and the immune system in the elderly has been the research topic. One exploratory investigation tested Spermidine supplements to see if they improved vaccination effectiveness in elderly people.
Food Sources of Spermidine.
Spermidine gets its name because it was initially found in sperm, which may give the term a negative connotation. However, it is not the only place it can be found. It has been studied to be found in the following foods.
- Wheat germ. It has been well documented that consuming wheat germ oil, which is high in spermidine, significantly impacts several age-related health issues. Whole grain and wheat germs had the greatest concentration, at 24.3 mg/100g.
- Soya Beans. There are wide varieties of soy products, including tofu, tempeh, and miso, which are all popular and versatile sources of plant protein. In terms of spermidine content per 100 grams, soy comes in at 20.7mg/100g.
- Cheddar & Other Cheese. Polyamines are more abundant in matured cheese. Many matured kinds of cheese, such as gouda, brie, parmesan, and gorgonzola, have a spermidine level of over 19.9 mg /100g, including cheddar.
- Potatoes. Potatoes are healthier than you believe. These are utilized in practically every food product, inexpensive to buy, and simple to grow. They’re the ultimate meal and can help you live longer with almost 11-15mg/100g of spermidine.
- Mushrooms. Nutritionally speaking, mushrooms are already remarkable with vast amounts of Vitamins B3 and D, selenium, potassium, and phosphorus. In addition, they are one of the highest plant foods in spermidine, with an outstanding 8.8 mg/100g.
- Peas. Peas are a food category that is low in fat and calories, and as a vegetable, it’s one of the best choices. Besides being low in fat and calories, peas contain 6-8gm/100g of Spermidine.
- Chicken & Chicken Liver. It is a source of lean protein that may be prepared in various ways. Chicken liver is better than steak, despite its unappealing appearance, with a respectable 4.8 mg/100g. At the same time, raw chicken contains 0.93mg/100g.
- Beef. Beef is seventh on our list, with 3.7 mg of spermidine per 100 grams. It makes an excellent choice of meal with a pretty big number of proteins in it too.
- Mangoes. Mangos have 3 milligrams of spermidine per 100 grams and are also high in beta-carotene, which gives them their orange color and polyphenols.
- Cruciferous Vegetables. Broccoli or cauliflower, any of these brassicas, contains an average of 2.5mg spermidine per 100g. Both are healthy yet give distinct nutritional profiles. In addition to being a good source of fiber, it is also high in a variety of vitamins and minerals. It includes many effective anti-oxidants that may promote healthy cells and tissues throughout your body.
- Lentil Soup. Lentils are a staple in the Asian diet. Protein, fiber, and folate are all abundant in this food. Lentil is a good source of spermidine with a content of 2mg/100g.
Spermidine-rich foods may be found in a large portion of the Mediterranean diet. At the very least, this may explain why individuals in “blue zones” tend to live longer than those in other areas.
Supplements For Spermidine.
The body’s spermidine synthesis decreases with age, and it becomes progressively difficult for your body to activate autophagy without an adequate spermidine level contributing to aging. This can be regenerated for older adults by consuming a diet rich in spermidine or, more effectively, by taking supplements regularly. Synthetic spermidine mimics the naturally occurring molecules in every way. Numerous supplements are available in pill or powder form, with variable spermidine ratios.
Even though there is a debate about the dosage, a daily spermidine intake of up to 6 mg was deemed safe and non-harmful. Global estimates of spermidine consumption range between 5 mg and 12 mg per day via dietary sources (1)(2)(3). Dr. Sinclair, a well-known longevity scholar, said in his podcast that he takes about 1 mg of spermidine in the morning.
Effective Timeline & Dosage of Spermidine.
1 month: After the use of one month, the supplement lowered cortisol levels, which can impede fertility in 83% of males and 36% of females.
- One study found a link between spermidine consumption and cognitive improvement in dementia patients given a higher dose of 3.3 mg/day, while the other group had 1.9 mg/day. More progress was seen with higher dosages as compared to lower ones.
- Another study found a link between spermidine supplement intake and increased hair growth, that were showing resistance to dietary supplements for hair.
12 months: A study in which (0.9 mg/day of spermidine did not affect memory in those with subjective cognitive decline due to its low dosage, but another research in which1.2 mg of spermidine and 0.6 mg of spermine were given to older individuals for 12 months, which improved mental performance and reduced the risk of dementia.
How Long Does It Take?
For spermidine to be effective, your body will need some time to acclimate to the elevated amounts of autophagy. As everyone’s body is different, it may take one month of 1mg/day of spermidine treatment to achieve favorable results. Taking supplements with a meal is recommended to maximize their absorption.
Side Effects of Supplements?
Because spermidine is a naturally occurring substance in the body, it is thought to be completely safe. Trials have shown that the supplement has no adverse side effects. Study participants who took 3.3 mg of spermidine over three months had no significant side effects using a spermidine-rich plant extract to supplement. Thus, it proves it is safe and well-tolerated in mice and older adults.
In addition to consuming the foods mentioned above daily, it may make sense to take a spermidine supplement as a simple and effective strategy to maximize your consumption of this essential ingredient. Also, consult your trusted physician to rule out concerns and discuss health advantages before starting any drug. Thus, you can make an educated, deliberate decision regarding your health.
With increasing discoveries in longevity science, scientists are excited about the promising molecules and their supplementation supporting healthy aging.