The Role of Spermidine in Cell Renewal and Longevity
Spermidine, Autophagy, and Cell Renewal
Spermidine is a polyamine that carries a positive charge that interacts with negatively charged molecules such as RNA, DNA, and proteins. Polyamines play significant roles in cell growth, proliferation, metabolism, and survival. The polyamine levels in organisms vary per individual, but one common factor is the decline in spermidine throughout aging.
As its name suggests, spermidine was first found and isolated in semen. Dietary sources include mushrooms, legumes, cheese, soy products, aged cheese, and supplements.
Spermidine counteracts aging and promotes longevity by inducing autophagy to facilitate the rejuvenation of cell constituents. The word autophagy came from two Greek root words, “auto” and “phagy,” which means “self” and “eat,” respectively, giving the meaning of its function as self-eating. It is the body’s way of replacing old and damaged cells to regenerate newer and healthier cells.
Autophagy is a regulated cell mechanism that eliminates dysfunctional cell components and allows the regeneration and recycling of cellular components. For this reason, autophagy has an expansive anti-aging potential to the point that most, if not all, behavioral, pharmacological, nutritional, or genetic manipulations that extend longevity require autophagy to be efficient.
Benefits in Aging and Diseases
Spermidine is present in all living organisms and is crucially necessary in the maintenance of cellular homeostasis. It is involved in multiple cellular processes such as gene transcription, translation, maintenance of genomic DNA stability, cell proliferation, and cell survival. Homeostatic imbalance, which causes cellular malfunction, is believed to be an underlying factor responsible for most diseases.
Homeostasis and senescence play a crucial role in diseases, aging, and death. Aging is a result of homeostatic imbalance. Senescent cells accumulate with age and contribute to the normal aging process as well as age-related disorders. This instability within the internal functions increases the risk of illness and physical changes associated with aging.
Here are ways on how spermidine benefits in longevity and fighting off diseases:
Delays Aging in Humans
Research has shown that spermidine may extend the lifespan of organisms such as mice, flies, yeast, and nematodes. Increased intake of spermidine through external sources such as foods and supplementations and culture media linked to higher survival rates among humans, according to a study conducted among 829 participants aged 45-84 years old.
In addition to increasing lifespan, up to 25%, research conducted in mice has shown that spermidine supplementation decreases liver fibrosis and cancer risk, even in subjects exposed to chemicals inducing liver fibrosis. Human observational studies also link the intake of dietary spermidine with decreased risk of colon cancer.
Spermidine has a neuroprotective effect against neuron damages caused by inflammation, oxidative stress, and ischemia. This assists in the prevention of age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease.
Spermidine from food sources has been shown to bring out cardioprotective effects through autophagy, according to studies in rats, mice, and humans demonstrating reduced hypertension and arterial aging. Similarly, increased spermidine intake is associated with reduced blood pressure and lower risk of cardiovascular disease, leading to lower mortality in humans.
Calorie restriction and fasting have shown to stimulate autophagy and may result in more extended longevity. In researches about the root causes of aging and age-related diseases, also referred to as geroprotection, calorie restriction has been shown to prolong the lifespan of organisms such as roundworms and primates to 30%-50% as long as malnutrition does not occur.
Spermidine is a polyamine found in the cells that play a significant role in cell renewal, diseases, and aging. Consuming dietary food and supplements high in spermidine may provide several benefits that root at a cellular level. Together with calorie restriction, consumption of this polyamine could be an effective mechanism to promote a longer lifespan.
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