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As the quest for the fountain of youth continues, scientists are exploring various avenues to combat the aging process and promote healthy longevity. One intriguing substance that has gained attention in recent years is spermidine.
Found naturally in certain foods, spermidine has been suggested to possess anti-aging properties. This article examines the scientific evidence surrounding spermidine and its potential benefits in the fight against aging.
What is Spermidine?
Before we get into whether Spermidine is good for anti-aging, we first need to answer the question: what is Spermidine?
Spermidine belongs to a group of compounds called polyamines. In simple terms, polyamines are organic compounds that are present in all living cells (even bacteria) and play a crucial role in cell growth, DNA stability, and overall cellular function.
While the human body can produce spermidine, it can also be obtained through dietary sources such as wheat germ, soybeans, mushrooms, and aged cheese.
As we get older, the amount of Spermidine that is found in our cells declines considerably. And researchers have hypothesized that declining Spermidine levels could play a role in age-related health conditions.
Research into Spermidine and anti-aging
Before we get into this section, it's important to highlight that the research mentioned below has been carried out in animals and is not yet proven in humans. A lot more research needs to be done to establish Spermidine's role in human health.
Autophagy and Cellular Renewal
One of the key mechanisms proposed for spermidine's anti-aging effects is its ability to induce autophagy. Autophagy is a cellular process where damaged proteins are broken down and recycled, promoting cellular renewal. Studies conducted on model organisms, such as yeast, worms, and flies, have shown that increased spermidine levels can stimulate autophagy, leading to improved cellular function and increased lifespan. (1)
Cardiovascular Health and Spermidine
Maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system is essential for healthy aging. Several studies have suggested that spermidine may have a positive impact on cardiovascular health. In animal models, spermidine supplementation has been shown to reduce arterial stiffness, lower blood pressure, and prevent the accumulation of plaque in the arteries. These effects may be attributed to spermidine's ability to enhance autophagy in cells within the cardiovascular system. (2)(3)
Cognitive Function and Neuroprotection
Aging is often accompanied by a decline in cognitive function and an increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Spermidine has shown promise in preserving cognitive function and providing neuroprotection. Animal studies have demonstrated that spermidine can reduce age-related memory decline and delay the onset of neurodegenerative diseases. It is believed that spermidine's autophagy-inducing properties help clear protein aggregates and protect neurons from oxidative stress. (4)
With that said, a recent human trial in 2022 showed that spermidine supplementation did not have a significant impact on cognitive function and memory. (5)
Inflammation and Immune System
Chronic inflammation is a common feature of aging and is associated with various age-related diseases. Spermidine has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties, which may contribute to its anti-aging effects. In studies on animal models, spermidine supplementation has been found to reduce inflammation markers and enhance immune system function. However, more research is needed to fully understand the impact of spermidine on human immune function. (6)(7)
In summary, there are some interesting preliminary studies in model animals that show that higher spermidine has a positive impact on the hallmarks of aging. At the time of writing, there are very few human studies.
Spermidine and anti-aging - Conclusion
That brings us to the end of our look into Spermidine as a potential natural agent in supporting healthy cellular aging.
Spermidine shows promising potential as an anti-aging agent in model animal studies as an autophagy inducer and supporting gut microbiome health. More extensive human studies are needed to see if these benefits translate.