Researchers from the Texas A&M University Health Science Center just published an article for people interested in natural ways to potentially increase their lifespan. The results, in Cancer Research, identified a component called spermidine. This “natural polyamine”, first identified in sperm (hence its name), is also found in high concentration in certain foods, especially aged cheese.
Researchers around the world are working frantically to find ways to increase the human lifespan, but they have so far found few good ways that work. According to the principal study author Dr. Leyuan Liu, only three ways have been identified so far that can increase lifespan in vertebrate animals.
Few ways shown to increase lifespan
The method with the best evidence is long-term calorie restriction—basically living on an almost starvation diet, a 30% reduction in the normal calorie intake. It is difficult for humans to adhere to such a diet. But macaque monkeys fed a low calorie diet at the beginning of their adulthood increased their lifespan from the normal average 26 years to an average of 28 to 32 years. Some of them lived beyond 40, breaking all records for monkey longevity.
Since these monkeys are genetically close to humans, it is thought this technique would work in humans as well, but probably such a calorie restriction would make your (longer) life miserable. Another method for lifespan extension is severely restricting protein intake (particularly the amino acid methionine). A third method is to take the drug rapamycin, but this drug also suppresses the immune system.
Foods high in spermidine
The recent Texas study showing the lifespan lengthening effect of spermidine is a more practical approach. Spermidine doesn’t seem to have side effects, can be found in various foods, and in the next few years will likely be available in supplement form. Until that time, if you want to increase your spermidine intake, the food with the highest concentration is aged cheese, such as 1-year-old cheddar or blue cheese. Mushrooms are also have a high concentration, as well as soybeans, green peas, whole grains, miso, and legumes in general.
An additional advantage to spermidine, as shown in an earlier study published in Nature Medicine, is that it helps protect both the heart and liver from age-related damage. It also helps keep blood pressure low, and cuts the risk of liver cancer.
Why spermidine works
As we age, some of our cells begin to malfunction. Normally, the body cleans out these cells by a process called “autophagy”. Basically, the cells “eat themselves” and are eliminated in the housecleaning process. If autophagy is not working well, our organs and skin show more aging, and these malfunctioning cells might rapidly divide, leading to cancers. Spermidine appears to improve this process of autophagy.
We will keep you informed of updates on this substance, and when it is released as a supplement, we will let you know here.
Read also in ProcuraMed:
Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)