Predicted to be the longevity supplement of 2022, according to lifespan expert Dr David Sinclair, spermidine is fast-becoming a big name on the supplement scene. Found naturally in cells and certain whole foods, the polyamine’s benefits to health and longevity are numerous. By mimicking the same effects that fasting has on the body, spermidine induces the cellular renewing process of autophagy and its anti-aging effects. Read our guide to spermidine supplements and how they can be used to boost health and lifespan.
What is spermidine?
Spermidine is a polyamine found in all eukaryotic cells that was first discovered in semen. It is also present in common whole foods including wheat germ, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms and a variety of cheeses. It is even more concentrated in soybean products like natto, shitake mushrooms, amaranth grain and durian. Spermidine acts as a caloric restriction mimetic (CRM), simulating the effects of fasting on the body .
It induces autophagy, the process of cellular rejuvenation that occurs normally in cells but can be accelerated by nutrient stress during fasting. Autophagy regulates cell homeostasis and clears away damaged or toxic organelles that can accumulate over time with aging.
This process is thought to protect against disease and boost longevity. As we age, our body’s spermidine levels naturally decrease, reducing autophagy (which also slows down with age) and exacerbating the aging process. Ways to counteract this include eating foods high in spermidine or taking supplements – the most effective way of increasing spermidine intake.
Dietary supplements are available in powder, liquid and pill form and contain active ingredients that compensate for nutrients missing in the modern diet. Designed to be taken regularly as part of a healthy lifestyle, they can be effective in preventing nutrient deficiencies.
Longevity supplements work differently from common dietary supplements as their ingredients act on different pathways in the body to help reduce the rate at which we age. Considering that fasting regimens can be difficult to commit to long term, CRMs like spermidine are an alternative that contain all of the health benefits of fasting in one daily pill.
Being endogenous to the human body, spermidine is safe to take and has had no side effects in trials. There are currently several competing spermidine supplements on the market in pure or compound forms that contain a combination of different active ingredients as well as spermidine. Read Longevity.Technology’s product profiles of some of the most popular spermidine supplements, including:
- Hydra Longevity‘s Healthy Ageing Essentials
- Longevity Labs’ spermidineLIFE
- Oxford Healthspan’s Primeadine
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The health benefits of spermidine
The health benefits of spermidine supplements through the process of autophagy are numerous and diverse. Spermidine has anti-inflammatory and anti-antioxidant properties, and can also enhance respiration and metabolic function. Increased dietary spermidine intake is thought to reduce the risk of diseases like cancer, metabolic disease, heart disease and neurodegeneration .
It can also improve memory and slow cognitive decline, as autophagy clears Alzheimer’s-causing amyloid-beta plaques in the brain and can thereby be used to prevent memory loss in older people suffering from mild dementia .
Taken everyday as part of a healthy lifestyle, spermidine supplements may prove to be a useful intervention in countering the increasing prevalence of age-related illnesses as aging populations continue to grow globally.
Benefits to longevity
As well as offering protection against age-related diseases, spermidine can also benefit longevity itself by replicating the antiaging effects of fasting on the body through autophagy. Starting from the outside in, spermidine has many aesthetic anti-aging properties.
For example, it improves the physical signs of aging by promoting thicker hair growth, longer eyelashes, stronger nails and more youthful skin achieved through keratin growth.
Internally, spermidine has been seen to stabilise mitochondrial DNA, which can protect against aging caused by mutations in the mitochondria genome. Spermidine also improves longevity in mice by protecting against telomere attrition, the loss of the DNA caps on the end of chromosomes that happens with age and directly impacts longevity.
This is thought to be possible as natural polyamines like spermidine protect DNA from damage caused by oxidative stress and induce the anti-oxidant response. Both genomic instability and telomere shortening are amongst the major ‘hallmarks of aging’, biomarkers used to measure the changes that occur within organisms as they age.
Primary hallmarks including genomic instability and telomere attrition are the causes of initial damage; antagonistic hallmarks like mitochondrial dysfunction and cellular senescence respond to the damage; and integrative hallmarks like stem cell exhaustion and changed intercellular communication are the end result of the previous damage. While further clinical trials of spermidine supplements in humans are required to clarify its longevity benefits, it can be taken alongside a healthy lifestyle to protect against signs of aging and boost holistic health, from haircare to disease protection.