What is it?
Spermidine has a complicated life story. In microbes, animals, plants, and humans, it exists as a byproduct of using amino acids like arginine and ornithine. In plants, it regulates growth and boosts protection. In infants who receive it from their mother’s breastmilk, it helps the immune system and digestive tract develop healthily. Yet spermidine is also made by our intestinal microbes and is found in a number of foods.
Where is it from?
Dietary sources of spermidine include soy foods, wheat germ, Cheddar cheese (especially aged), mushrooms, peas and beans, pears, apples, salad, broccoli, cauliflower, nuts, mangoes, corn, popcorn, polenta, celery and celery root, chicken liver, beef, mussels, green pepper, green tea, kabocha squash, and fish eggs.
In the Mediterranean study mentioned below, the most important dietary contributors of spermidine were whole-grain foods, pears and apples, salad, vegetable sprouts, potatoes, cheese, mushrooms, and celery.
What does it do?
Spermidine seems to have executive-level discussions with the immune system about aging processes in cells.
- According to lab research, spermidine encourages cellular rejuvenation.
- Heart muscle cells — and their powerhouse mitochondria — appear to be especially good at responding to spermidine’s renewal messaging.
- Spermidine may also influence the immune system’s balance between its offense and defense functions.
In a recent study, a higher dietary intake of spermidine was found to relate to greater longevity. Spermidine is especially linked to a healthier body weight, physical activity, and blood vessel health. And because people living in the Mediterranean region consume more food-based spermidine, it may be a key part of the Mediterranean Diet advantage. It’s interesting to note that the extra virgin olive oil Mediterranean residents use virtually every day apparently helps optimize the way spermidine is processed by the body.