Spermidine: a guide to taking longevity supplements

Renowned aging scientist Dr David Sinclair predicted that in 2022, “everyone’s going to be talking about spermidine”, but what is this provocatively named polyamine and how do you increase your intake? Spermidine is a naturally occurring compound found in the human body and in whole foods that benefits health and lifespan. By mimicking the effects of fasting on the body and inducing cellular renewal through autophagy, spermidine can protect against disease and even boost longevity. Taking daily longevity supplements as part of balanced diet is an effective way to increase your spermidine levels, which gradually reduce with age.

Supplements for longevity

It is possible to get all the different vitamins and minerals your body needs from eating a balanced diet, however, today’s modern diet can be lacking in essential nutrients like calcium, potassium and vitamins A, C and D. A purported quick fix to this problem is dietary supplements – a combination of vitamins, minerals, amino acids or enzymes marketed in tablet, powder and gel forms [1]. Taking supplements compensates for missing nutrients in our diet, preventing deficiencies and giving an added health boost. While some supplements help the body to function, others may reduce the risk of developing certain diseases. The health claims of the most common dietary supplements are well founded; for example, vitamin D supplements can be taken daily during the long winter months to replace the sunlight that is usually converted on the skin into vitamin D, maintaining bone, teeth and muscle health and regulating mood disorders [2]. However, unlike pharmaceutical drugs, supplements can not legally be marketed as being able to treat, prevent or cure diseases and they do not undergo the same rigorous safety and efficacy trials [1]. Taking supplements should not replace eating a varied diet; used correctly they are rather intended to fix nutrient imbalances and complement a healthy lifestyle. Longevity supplements like spermidine are different from other dietary supplements as rather than simply preventing vitamin deficiencies, they contain active ingredients that work on the body’s pathways to help change the rate at which we age.

Read more about supplements in our FREE Longevity supplements industry report.

What is spermidine?

Spermidine in the most common polyamine in the human body and is found in the majority of its tissues. It is also present in whole foods like wheatgerm, soybeans, nuts, and some fruits and vegetables [3]. In the body, spermidine acts as a caloric restriction mimetic (CRM), simulating the health benefits of fasting without the unpleasant side effect of hunger associated with conventional fasting regimes. This tricks the body into the fasting state and induces autophagy, the process of cellular rejuvenation during which cells reuse their damaged or dangerous organelles to renew [4].

Autophagy is a naturally occurring cellular process that can also be triggered by nutrient stress as it is responsible for balancing available energy sources to ensure cell survival. During caloric restriction, the nutrient-sensing pathways are deactivated and inhibit the TOR kinase protein. This protein controls autophagy, and its inhibition accelerates autophagy within cells. Cellular renewal from autophagy is thought to have many anti-aging properties and can protect against age-related diseases including cancer, metabolic disease, heart disease and neurodegeneration [5].

Spermidine can also increase longevity and reduce overall mortality risk [3]. The body’s spermidine levels naturally decrease with age, reducing autophagy and furthering aging.

With the ever-growing aging population and the increasing prevalence of chronic neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases, spermidine supplements have potential as a way to achieve the longevity-boosting effects of caloric restriction without committing to challenging fasting diets.

Taking spermidine supplements

Including foods high in spermidine in your diet is one way to attenuate decreasing spermidine levels, however taking spermidine supplements is even more effective. An advantage of spermidine supplements is that they have strong efficacy paired with low toxicity, making them incredibly safe to use with no known negative side effects [5].

Spermidine comes in powdered or tablet form to be taken daily and can be used together with other ingredients like wheatgerm. Popular spermidine supplements on the market include Hydra Longevity‘s Healthy Ageing Essentials, Longevity Labs’ spermidineLIFE and Oxford Healthspan’s Primeadine. Spermidine is usually marketed as a holistic anti-aging product. According to Leslie Kenny, CEO of Oxford Healthspan: “The active ingredient of the product, spermidine, is a compound that has been shown to induce autophagy, a process of cellular renewal in the body.” This can be effective in improving “nail and hair growth, better sleep, and enhanced immunity, brain and heart health”. Primeadine was one of the first globally-available spermidine supplements and consists of a combination of wheatgerm extract and spermidine as well as maltodextrin. This feeds the fuso- and bacterioides bacteria that produce spermidine in the gut biome, the idea being that this will support the body’s ability to produce its own spermidine as well as benefiting from the exogenous supplemented spermidine.

Like all dietary and longevity supplements, spermidine should not be used as a replacement for a healthy lifestyle. As the name suggests, it should instead be used to supplement a healthy, varied diet that includes spermidine-rich foods. Although a relative new-comer to the supplement scene, spermidine is becoming increasingly popular for longevity. Its ability to induce cellular autophagy and its anti-aging benefits is impressive and once considered only possible through prolonged fasting. Taking daily spermidine supplements as you age is a safe way to protect against age-related illnesses and promote holistic health.