Try as we might to live long and healthy lives, none of us are immune to the gradual effects of aging. Balanced meals and steady exercise only seem to get us so far; eventually our cells begin to deteriorate and we become vulnerable to an onslaught of age-related diseases. With all that to look forward to, it’s not hard to understand why some folks have a difficult time accepting the future.
But what if I told you there was a way to boost your health and overall longevity with the help of a quirky supplement that has quickly been gaining notoriety?
I’m referring to spermidine, a peculiarly named polyamine that has benefits associated with health, longevity, and even fertility. While certainly not a cure-all medicine, spermidine has not gained popularity from out of the blue for no discernable reason. The health-amplifying qualities of spermidine are diverse and abundant, ranging from disease prevention to reproduction potential, making this polyamine crucial for cellular function.
The focal points of this article are:
- What spermidine is and why it is important
- Food sources rich in spermidine
- The full scope of spermidine benefits
What is Spermidine?
The Role of Spermidine and Why It’s Important
First discovered in a sample of semen, spermidine is a naturally occurring element that can be found within your body and in the foods you eat. Spermidine is a polyamine, an organic compound that has more than two amino groups. As a completely natural substance, spermidine can be found anywhere in nature and is easily absorbed on account of its small size.
Though high concentrations of spermidine are available in a variety of the foods we eat, such as stinky cheeses and dark leafy greens, spermidine is endogenously produced, meaning our bodies can synthesize the chemical. About one-third of spermidine is manufactured by the body, while the remaining amount is satisfied via food and gut bacteria.
Spermidine, commonly found in ribosomes and living tissues, is present in all living organisms and is vital to the maintenance of cellular homeostasis, which essentially means cells could not function or survive without it. Spermidine is vital in promoting autophagy, a critical biological process that consists of cell recycling and renewal.
Where You Can Find Spermidine
Though we are able to produce a portion of spermidine by way of endogenous methods, our bodies depend on obtaining sufficient concentrations of spermidine in order to prolong good health. Still, solely relying on your dietary habits to provide an adequate amount of spermidine can be quite the pain, which is why it will behoove you to have knowledge of a variety of foods which have high concentrations of spermidine.
Foods with High Concentrations of Spermidine
- Lentil soup
- Green peas
With a palate like this, it’s no wonder so many folks adopt a Mediterranean-style diet as a part of their lifestyle. This type of diet is a particularly great source for spermidine with healthy foods like whole grains, beans, seafood, and vegetables being core components.
The Benefits of Spermidine
Much like the dozens upon dozens of other dietary supplements out there, spermidine is best taken in conjunction with healthy habits and smart lifestyle choices. In terms of holistic medicine, adding spermidine to your daily routine is a great way to amplify your quality of living and stave off the detrimental effects of aging.
While a majority of supplements on the market are meant to support your dietary needs by augmenting nutrition where you may normally fall short, longevity supplements are explicitly formulated to be used alongside regular exercise and a balanced diet to promote health and a long life. Spermidine has witnessed a rise in popularity due to its reported effects in regards to combating age-related deterioration and diseases.
As we age, our spermidine levels fall. This can negatively impact our overall health and serve as a precursor to age-related deterioration due to the possible connection between reduced levels of spermidine and longevity.
Recent epidemiological data supports the notion that external supplementation of spermidine can extend the lifespan and increase health quality across a variety of species, including in yeast, flies, and mice. An uptake of spermidine via foods rich in the polyamine can counteract the negative impacts of aging and reduce risk of mortality associated with certain age-related degenerative conditions like cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
With age comes physical change, and that includes the brain. Age-related degeneration can cause certain issues in the brain and even contribute to the onset of diseases, affecting cognitive functioning and greater motor skills. Since spermidine plays a vital role in the maintenance of basic cellular functions, it isn’t difficult to understand why this polyamine can be of benefit to age-related cognitive function, including memory and learning skills.
According to the findings of one study performed on rodents, the polyamine levels in the hippocampus are correlated with the formation and retrieval of memories. Another study done on flies showed that reduced spermidine levels in the brains of aged flies directly impacted cognitive decline. Based on the results of these studies, it can be said that there is a good chance an external supply of spermidine will yield a positive impact on maintaining brain health and overall cognition.
Raising a family takes a lot of hard work, and with numerous societal factors such as the rising cost of living and career aspirations acting as a deterrent, many folks are opting to postpone having children until they feel entirely ready for them. Unfortunately, biology tends to favor those who do not wait to reproduce, as the onset of menopause can occur as soon as age forty-five. Furthermore, the ovaries age much faster in comparison to other organs.
Older couples can still successfully bear children, though they may encounter more unexpected bumps along the road than younger couples. There are plenty of strategies and options available for those seeking reproductive assistance, of which spermidine is a ready choice. This is primarily because, over time, ovaries accumulate reactive oxygen species (ROS), a form of oxidative stress that can cause damage to eggs and induce cellular senescence, contributing towards menopause.
Female fertility therapies have witnessed a rise in the use of spermidine to combat certain reproductive issues. For instance, ROS can cause abnormal development in the female germline stem cells (FGCSs) present in the ovaries, inhibiting their ability to produce viable eggs and adversely impacting fertility. However, results from one study, where it was hypothesized that spermidine could work to reduce oxidative stress in FGCSs, proved to be quite positive, affirming the theory that spermidine can reduce oxidative damage.
Even with the confirmation of spermidine’s positive effects in regards to female fertility, we should also consider the possible benefits pertaining to male fertility. Lucky for us, the evidence indicates spermidine has a positive influence on male reproduction as well. Spermidine is a necessary component of reproduction in males, and it is vital to the generation of sperm. Unsurprisingly, fertile men have higher levels of spermidine than infertile men.
Hormones also play a significant part in sexual reproduction. Research found that men with high stress levels observed an overall decrease in the stress hormone cortisol, which can harm fertility as a survival mechanism. Additionally, spermidine increased levels of testosterone, the sex steroid hormone DHEAS, and reduced oestradiol levels, all-around improving sexual function in men.
For reasons related to hormones and genetic background, hair loss is a common occurrence alongside aging for many individuals. One study regarding the effects of spermidine intake suggests that the chemical can be used to counteract the effects of hair loss.
On average, humans lose somewhere between fifty to one hundred strands of hair every day. Hair follicles are small organs that surround individual strands of hair, working to grow and multiply rapidly to account for daily hair loss. This quickly regenerating tissue needs an abundance of polyamine combinations for optimal function, which is where spermidine enters the picture.
Spermidine was found to increase the growth phase of hair follicles for men and women, aiding hair growth and reducing overall hair loss. This is possible due to the part spermidine plays to promote the production of keratin, a structural fibrous protein integral to the process of hair growth and health. Since it lengthens the duration of the hair growth cycle, taking a spermidine supplement is a great way to reduce hair loss and promote the growth of healthy hair follicles.
Outside of exercise and smart meal choices, the biggest factor influencing your ability to lose weight is metabolism. A strong metabolism is essential to burning more calories, so it only stands to reason anyone looking to shed a few pounds should consider whether they need to boost their metabolism to help achieve their target weight.
Spermidine has the potential to aid in weight loss due to its induction of autophagy, a biological process of the body that reuses old and damaged cell parts. Since cells are the building blocks of every tissue and organ in your body, they are fundamental to maintaining normal functions. However, gradual wear and tear over time will result in parts of the cell becoming defective and stop working. Autophagy naturally removes these dysfunctional parts, ridding your body of excess weight.
Overall, spermidine works well to reduce weight gain, visceral fat, glucose intolerance, and insulin insensitivity. Current evidence suggests that spermidine can be a positive influence to help guard your body against obesity and type 2 diabetes, and even works to improve metabolic endotoxemia, which can cause a range of inflammatory issues.
Weight loss with spermidine is certainly possible, though you will witness the most significant results when you provide your body with smart and nutritional food choices.
There is no one cure-all when it comes to the world of supplements, and it’s important to not rely solely on the use of nutritional supplements in order to live a long, healthy life. Supplements, even ones akin to spermidine, only work as well as you allow them to, so treat your body like the temple it is and take steps to prolong good health through regular exercise and well-balanced meals.
Spermidine can offer many amazing benefits to your health, so don’t be afraid of giving this supplement a try if you think it may be the right fit for you!