Spermine-rich diet keeps people young longer
For centuries, people have been looking for ways to sustain eternal youth. Last but not least, the cosmetics industry has taken up this desire and promises using different methods at least to keep the appearance longer young. However, the key to prolonged “youth” might be nutrition. Thus, a recent study concludes that a diet rich in spermidine keeps people young longer.

In the international research project under the leadership of the Medical University of Innsbruck, the anti-aging effect of spermidine has now been demonstrated for humans for the first time. “Those who consume a lot of spermidine with their food may possibly extend their healthy lifespan,” according to the MedUni Innsbruck. Their findings have been reported in the journal “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ( AJCN )” released.
Ripened cheese is one of the most spermidine-rich foods that, according to a recent study, has a life-prolonging effect. (Image: gkrphoto / fotolia.com)
In search of life-prolonging mechanisms
For many years, medical research has sought to uncover health-promoting and life-prolonging mechanisms. Almost two years ago, scientists from the University of Graz had already stated that special cheese species extend the relative lifetime , and attributed this effect to the spermidine contained. The natural polyamine “spermidine” showed life-prolonging effects in cell culture and in animals, the authors of the current study explain.
Spermidine intake correlates with life expectancy
To the extent that even in humans a life-prolonging effect with high intake of spermidine occurs, the researchers have now examined using the data of 829 volunteers from the prospective Bruneck study. In addition, the participants’ food intake was determined on the basis of specific diet questionnaires. The scientists calculated the extent to which the amount of spermidine absorbed through food correlated with life span. They found that high spermidine intake via diet (at least 80 micromoles of spermidine per day) was associated with a significantly lower risk of dying in the 20-year observation period.
Slowed inflammation and aging processes
The survival benefit of spermidine-rich versus spermidine-deficient diet (below 60 micromol per day) was around five years, according to study authors. In the current investigations “we were able to confirm the effect of spermidine on age-related processes already known from various model organisms and to underpin its role as an independent influencing factor on the life span for the first time in humans,” explains neurologist Stefan Kiechl from MedUni Innsbruck in a press release to the study results. The effect is based on the systemic influence of spermidine on inflammation and aging processes.

Balance loss of spermidine in the diet
Of course, the content of spermidine in our body decreases with increasing age. Spermidine is found in high concentration in the seminal fluid, but in low concentrations also in other body cells. Certain intestinal bacteria also produce spermidine. According to the researchers, “The decline in spermidine in the body can be counteracted by a diet with spermine-rich foods such as greens, peas, wholegrain products, apples, lettuce, mushrooms, nuts, potatoes or aged cheese.” Already with the daily consumption of two portions of wholegrain bread , two salad portions and an apple would be in the upper third of spermidine intake, the experts continue.
Autophagy is stimulated
According to the scientists, the life-prolonging effect of spermidine is mainly due to the ability to stimulate autophagy. This serves to break down defective or no longer needed cell components and to use them so that they do not accumulate in the organism. Because autophagy loses efficiency in old age, it causes disease-related deposits in the cells, which in turn lead to dementia, diabetes , Tumors and atherosclerosis can lead, the researchers report. By spermidine intake – as well as by fasting for several hours – the self-cleaning process of autophagy is initiated. “The increased intake of spermidine signals the cell to start the self-cleaning process and thus protects against deposits and premature aging,” emphasizes Stefan Kiechl. (Fp)


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