Healthy ageing—longer healthspan with spermidine

September 1, 2016 by Mia Malmstedt

Spermidine cleans the cells and could potentially prolong lifespan. Research is ongoing and some of it is presented by Professor Frank Madeo at the Healthy Ageing conference tomorrow.

Seven questions for Frank Madeo, Professor at the Institute of Molecular Biosciences at the University of Graz, and one of the speaker on the second day of the Healthy Ageing Seminar days.

What will you talk about at Healthy Ageing?

I will talk about our finding that you can, instead of fasting, have the benefits of fasting by administer the caloric restriction mimetic spermidine.

Tell us more about this?

In 2009, we discovered that spermidine induces autophagy, a cellular self cleaning process. In autophagy, damaged material that is accumulating during ageing is digested to replenish the energy need of the cell in times of starvation. Thereby also toxic junk is removed, and this explains the age-protective effect. We found that spermidine induces longevity and autophagy in different species, such as flies, worms and yeasts. It also protects against ageassociated diseases like dementia or cancer in model organisms.

That's amazing. What did your research results lead to?

Our finding has led to a "boom" in research. Many other labs are now working to defeat age-associated disease with spermidine administration. This applies to divergent fields, for instance muscle degeneration, age-induced immune dysfunction and during aging.

Where can this take us – are we all to use spermidine in the future? And will we then live "forever"?

Who knows the future? But what is pretty clear to me is that we will not live forever, for sure. The damage that accumulates in the body is too random and too unpredictable. And in addition: Do we really want to prolong live beyond agony? Wouldn't it be better – and this is a realistic goal – to prolong healthsspan? I am quite sure that fasting regimes, or fasting mimicking diets, or fasting mimicking supplements like spermidine, may prolong healthsspan in the future. Healthy ageing is probably more dependent on lifestyle than on genes: So – it is possible that we will use these techniques to keep healthy longer.

What are the side effects?

Currently, we do not know any side effects. You can probably overdo it, like with everything. But the moderate supplementation that is used in mice by many research groups in order to defeat age-associated diseases reportedly has no side effects.

Has spermidine reached patients – is it used by humans today?

The first clinical trial, in which we administer a spermidine rich extract from wheat germs to elderly people, is currently ongoing. This is a collaboration between my lab and the Charite/Berlin. Our question is: Will age-associated decline in cognitive function be prevented by spermidine supplementation? The next clinical trial is currently being planned in Padova. They want to study if spermidine can prevent age or disease associated muscle loss.

Can I do something myself? Can I eat things that is rich in spermidine to perhaps reach some effects?

Definitely. It has been reported that consumption of spermidine rich food leads to enhancement of the polyamine – spermidine or spermine – concentration in the blood after three month. So, a change in diet towards spermidine rich food might be effective. High concentrations of are for example available in wheat germs, mushrooms, strongly fermented cheese, meat, green salad, and pears.

Explore further: Researcher develops effective fasting tool against cancer

Related Stories

Researcher develops effective fasting tool against cancer

August 30, 2016
Fasting is a tool for effective cancer treatment. A new study shows that the right diet in combination with chemotheraphy not only protect the body's immune system, it also turns it against cancer cells.

Feeding fruit flies with spermidin suppresses age-dependent memory impairment

September 2, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Age-induced memory impairment can be suppressed by administration of the natural substance spermidin. This was found in a recent study conducted by Prof. Dr. Stephan Sigrist from Freie Universität Berlin ...

New drug could make vaccines more effective in the elderly

November 11, 2014
Early tests in mice carried out by the research team have shown that the compound restores the immune system's inbuilt 'memory', enabling the body to mount a more powerful protective immune response following vaccination.

Recommended for you

Molecular hitchhiker on human protein signals tumors to self-destruct

July 24, 2017
Powerful molecules can hitch rides on a plentiful human protein and signal tumors to self-destruct, a team of Vanderbilt University engineers found.

Researchers develop new method to generate human antibodies

July 24, 2017
An international team of scientists has developed a method to rapidly produce specific human antibodies in the laboratory. The technique, which will be described in a paper to be published July 24 in The Journal of Experimental ...

New vaccine production could improve flu shot accuracy

July 24, 2017
A new way of producing the seasonal flu vaccine could speed up the process and provide better protection against infection.

A sodium surprise: Engineers find unexpected result during cardiac research

July 20, 2017
Irregular heartbeat—or arrhythmia—can have sudden and often fatal consequences. A biomedical engineering team at Washington University in St. Louis examining molecular behavior in cardiac tissue recently made a surprising ...

Want to win at sports? Take a cue from these mighty mice

July 20, 2017
As student athletes hit training fields this summer to gain the competitive edge, a new study shows how the experiences of a tiny mouse can put them on the path to winning.

'Smart' robot technology could give stroke rehab a boost

July 19, 2017
Scientists say they have developed a "smart" robotic harness that might make it easier for people to learn to walk again after a stroke or spinal cord injury.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.