Spermidine remains a hot topic in the longevity supplement market these days. Spermidine is a natural polyamine that was first found in sperm. It is thought to have amazing benefits for health, longevity, and even fertility. Recent evidence suggests that spermidine is a major trigger of autophagy, which is how your cells get rid of parts that are no longer needed or don't work right. As such, spermidine can help cells stay healthy and help promote longevity.
In this article, we look deeper at autophagy in longevity and the relationship between spermidine and autophagy.
How Is Autophagy Important In Longevity
Before we get into how spermidine promotes autophagy, let's look at what autophagy is and how it helps us live longer. Autophagy, which comes from the Latin word for "self-eating," is a major protein turnover pathway that cleans out damaged cells. Cells use autophagy to get rid of parts they don't need and then use them to fix themselves or make new cells. Lysosomes are parts of cells that have digestive enzymes and are involved in the process of autophagy. So, autophagy is the way that your body keeps its cells healthy.
Autophagy dereases with age
However, research suggests that autophagy decreases with age, leading to an accumulation of dysfunctional components of cells (1). The failure of this recycling process, in turn, has been linked to many age-related conditions, such as neurodegeneration, infections, many cancers, and autoimmune diseases (1) (1). In addition, autophagy deficiencies accelerate ageing, while maintaining it may promote health and longevity. (1).
How Spermidine Promotes Autophagy
Spermidine is a naturally occurring polyamine found in ribosomes (the site of protein synthesis) and living tissues. And polyamines are involved with cell growth, cellular division, DNA stability as well as cell death. In the body, spermidine operates as a calorie restriction mimetic (CRM), mimicking the health advantages of fasting without hunger. A lot of research done in the last 10 years suggests that polyamines, especially spermidine, can start the process of autophagy. Opening up a new frontier of longevity medicine.
A 2018 study found that spermidine activates autophagy and increases longevity in humans as well as many other species. Spermidine blocks several enzymes that negatively control autophagy and may be as powerful as rapamycin, an FDA-approved immunosuppressant with strong autophagy stimulating effects.
When yeast, flies, or worms develop a genetic mutation that makes autophagy harder, spermidine's benefits are also lost. A 2011 study found that spermidine and resveratrol both cause autophagy by changing and blocking the same enzymes. This suggests that they could work well together. So, these results show that there is a strong link between spermidine and autophagy.
The many advantages of spermidine's ability to mimic fasting are clear. When you wish to eat yet still get the advantages of fasting, spermidine is a powerful tool to help you fool your body into thinking it is fasting. So, a spermidine supplement or eating spermidine-rich foods are good options for reversing the effects of ageing and longevity.