Spermidine has been gaining much-needed attention in recent years – but what does this oddly-named nutrient actually do? Spoiler alert: it’s not what it sounds like! Let’s find out what it is, where it is, and why you’ll want to get a good dose.
Spermidine is a naturally occurring polyamine compound found in various foods, particularly those that undergo fermentation – think yoghurt, kimchi and sourdough bread. Spermidine has gained attention for its potential health benefits, including its role in promoting cellular health, longevity and autophagy (a cellular recycling process) – this means a longer life and fewer illnesses.
The Benefits of Spermidine
Autophagy Induction: One of the key reasons spermidine is considered beneficial is its ability to induce autophagy. Autophagy is a cellular process responsible for the removal and recycling of damaged or dysfunctional cellular components. It plays a crucial role in cellular maintenance, renewal, and overall health.
Cellular Health: Spermidine has been shown to promote cellular health by enhancing the efficiency of autophagy. This process helps rid cells of accumulated waste, damaged proteins, and organelles, contributing to cellular rejuvenation.
Anti-Aging Effects: Research in various model organisms, including yeast, worms, flies, and mice, has suggested that spermidine has anti-aging properties. These studies have shown that spermidine supplementation can extend lifespan and delay age-related changes.
Cardiovascular Health: Spermidine may have positive effects on cardiovascular health. It has been associated with improved blood vessel function, reduced oxidative stress, and protection against heart-related issues. Some studies suggest that spermidine intake may lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Neuroprotection: Spermidine has garnered attention for its potential neuroprotective properties. It may help protect the brain from age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases. Animal studies have shown that spermidine supplementation can enhance cognitive function and reduce the risk of conditions like Alzheimer's disease.
Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Spermidine may have anti-inflammatory effects, helping to modulate the body's immune response and reduce chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is associated with various diseases and conditions, so reducing it may have broader health benefits.
Potential Cancer Protection: Some studies found that spermidine might have a role in cancer prevention highlighting that it may help suppress the growth of cancer cells and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. However, more research is needed in this area.
Liver Health: Spermidine has been investigated for its potential to protect the liver from damage caused by factors like alcohol consumption and toxins. It may support liver function and regeneration.
Spermidine Content: Soybeans are a good source of spermidine, and their content can vary depending on factors like processing and preparation methods.
Health Benefits: Spermidine in soybeans has been associated with promoting cellular health and autophagy. The consumption of soy-based foods has also been linked to various health benefits, including heart health and potential cancer protection. Soybeans are also rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them a nutritious addition to a balanced diet.
Spermidine Content: Wheat germ, the nutrient-rich inner part of a wheat kernel, contains a relatively high amount of spermidine.
Health Benefits: Spermidine in wheat germ is thought to contribute to cellular rejuvenation and autophagy. Wheat germ is often used as a dietary supplement for its potential health benefits, including immune support and improved skin health. In addition to spermidine, wheat germ provides essential nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin E, fibre, and healthy fats.
Spermidine Content: Fermented foods like aged cheese, certain types of wine, and some varieties of beer contain spermidine. The content can vary depending on the fermentation process and specific product.
Health Benefits: The presence of spermidine in fermented foods aligns with the potential health benefits attributed to spermidine, such as promoting autophagy and cellular health. However, it's worth noting that the spermidine content in fermented foods may not be as high as in other sources. Plus, we also know that fermented foods contain beneficial probiotics (good bacteria) and can improve gut health by nourishing the gut microbiome. Take a look at some fermented foods rich in spermidine:
- Blue cheese
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