27 Nov 2022
What is Spermidine?
Why is it called Spermidine?
The name of spermidine may seem suggestive but the reason that it is named that is that it was first discovered in the sperm. However, sperm is not the only place it can be found. A 17th-century Dutch scientist named Anton Van Leeuwenhoek was the first one to discover spermidine in the year 1678.
Spermidine is a natural polyamine. Polyamines are positively charged small organic molecules with two or more primary amino groups.
The precursor of spermidine is called putrescine which helps make spermidine in our bodies. Putrescine comes from spermine, another important polyamine that is part of several vital cellular functions.
Where is Spermidine Found?
Spermidine is found in a range of plant-based foods such as fresh green pepper, rice bran, green tea, oranges, broccoli, peas, chickpeas, whole grain, corn, legumes, soy products, and grapefruits. Other than that, it is also found in durian, mature cheeses, cauliflower, wheat germ, amaranth grain, and shitake mushrooms.
A lot of foods in Mediterranean cuisine are rich in spermidine. That may explain why people have longer lives there.
Spermidine and Autophagy
Spermidine, along with its precursor putrescine, takes part in a system known as autophagy.
The word “autophagy” has Greek roots where “auto” meant self and “phage” meant eating. So, autophagy translates to “self-eating”. It is the process where our body consumes its own cells and tissues in order to recycle different components.
It is a vastly beneficial process where the defective or damaged mitochondria are broken down and cleared out, thus ensuring that our bodies do not have cellular waste lying around.
Spermidine has the ability to trigger autophagy in cells. Scientists believe that by triggering autophagy, spermidine plays an important part in promoting longevity and improving the body’s fight against aging.
Benefits of Autophagy
The benefits of autophagy can be described as follows:
Autophagy helps recycle residual damaged cells and proteins.
It also aids in necrosis prevention, thus safeguarding cells from death in case of injury, diseases, and faltered blood supply.
It promotes cellular growth in the heart.
It also allows the regeneration of healthy cells in our body.
Prompts the growth of nerve and brain cells.
Protects against neurodegenerative disorders.
By aiding autophagy, spermidine allows for better cellular and tissue regulation. That makes spermidine an important component of our regulatory systems.
Benefits of Spermidine
After looking at the internal mechanisms through which spermidine operates and its major role in the body, it is important to have a deeper understanding of how exactly spermidine can benefit our bodies.
Some of the most prominent benefits of spermidine are given as follows:
Spermidine has been a subject of anti-aging research for the last few years. Many studies have explored the anti-aging benefits of spermidine in a range of studies.
Some studies have also suggested that spermidine is helpful in resisting stress and the reason that age-related diseases appear is because of the decline in the levels of spermidine in the body during the process of aging.
In order to understand the impact of spermidine on lifespan and healthspan in more detail, it is important to shed light on its role in lipid metabolism. Lipid metabolism regulates lifespan. If your lipid metabolism is dysfunctional, it is can seriously affect lifespan and healthspan.
Spermidine helps create fat cells called adipocytes, in the process known as adipogenesis. It helps generate adipocytes from stem cells. This helps in the modification of lipid profiles, thus enhancing its influence on lifespan.
One study found out that administering a polyamine inhibitor known as a-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) can stop the process of adipogenesis completely. The lipid metabolism process got completely destroyed when spermidine was inhibited. However, the lipid metabolism was restored by administering spermidine, even though DFMO was still there.
Thus, the extensive support for lipid metabolism makes spermidine a promising drug to support longevity.
It has been mentioned before that the major function of spermidine in our body is triggering autophagy. Since it is such an important function, it is considered that it is the only way spermidine supports longevity.
However, there is growing evidence that spermidine also supports longevity through its anti-inflammatory activity. That is also another way through which spermidine supports longevity and healthspan.
Studies suggest that spermidine exhibits anti-inflammatory properties through apostasies (programmed cell death), cell proliferation and growth, and lipid metabolism.
The reason that the anti-inflammation activity of spermidine is so important is that inflammation can be a huge factor in reducing health span, lifespan, and causing a range of diseases. Chronic inflammation can be harmful because it increases cell senescence, makes immune cells dysfunctional, and stops the regeneration of healthy tissue. Spermidine inhibits the chronic inflammation in our bodies, thus helping our bodies age better.
Other Benefits of Spermidine
Other benefits of spermidine are given as follows:
Spermidine has been shown to improve mitochondrial and cognition functions in a recent study.
There is some evidence that it helps improve cardiovascular function and prevents cancer. Spermidine inhibits cardiac inflammation to improve cardiovascular function.
Spermidine is also said to decrease oxidative stress in the body, thus further helping in the fight against aging.