▷ On the occasion of the spermidine corona study

A current study at the Charité Berlin, in which the virologist Prof. Dr. Christian Drosten is also involved, investigates the effect of spermidine as a possible approach to the treatment and prevention of corona infection. The results are surprising.

In cooperation with Dr. Marcus Müller, the corona expert Prof. Dr. Drosten is currently researching the effect of spermidine on corona viruses. First results of the study, which is based on in-vitro research, are already very promising.

SPERMIDINE SEEMS TO PROTECT THE CELLS AGAINST CORONA VIRUSES AND CAN EVEN INHIBIT THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS IN THE BODY AFTER INFECTION.

Corona inhibits the cell purification and cell renewal process

The initial findings of the Charité study show a dual effect against corona viruses in cell cultures. The administration of spermidine could thus be a possible approach to combat the globally rampant SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus. The corona virus inhibits the body’s own cell renewal and cell purification (autophagy). As a result, the corona virus can spread and multiply very quickly throughout the body. In addition, the virus also acts aggressively against the body’s own spermidine production, which further reduces autophagy.

In the course of the study, the researchers around Prof. Dr. Drosten added spermidine to corona-infected cell cultures and observed that the reproduction of the virus was reduced by 85%.
To investigate whether spermidine could also protect against corona infection, the researchers treated healthy cells with spermidine. These were then brought into contact with corona viruses in a second step. It was observed that the probability of infection was reduced when spermidine was administered. This could significantly reduce the risk of infection.

However, it is still unknown whether the findings from research with cell cultures can also be transferred to humans.

A complete German translation of the abstract of the study can be found in the section Studies on Spermidin (link to the English version).

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Recent studies on spermidine suggest that the polyamine contained in many foods could have very positive health effects. It activates self-cleaning processes in brain cells and is thus said to be able to protect against diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. In addition, it is assumed that a spermidine-rich diet could also lead to a longer life and better memory. All important information, foods that contain a lot of spermidine as well as current studies on spermidine, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s can be found on this page.
More spermidine, lower mortality

What is spermidine?

Spermidine is a so-called polyamine and is mainly found in the cell nucleus and ribosomes. It plays an important role in the synthesis of nuclei and proteins and also in cell development. It is therefore very closely linked to cell growth. Although the body is able to produce spermidine itself, the production decreases considerably with age. During pregnancy, growth and even after heavy physical exertion, spermidine levels can rise sharply.

More spermidine, lower mortality

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2018, involving 829 participants aged 45 to 84 years, suggests a link between high spermidine intake and lower mortality. Since 1995, participants have been prescribed diets with various spermidine-rich foods. In later controls, it was found that participants in the study who consumed spermidine-rich foods lived longer on average.
“The difference in mortality risk between the upper and lower thirds of spermidine intake was similar to that of a person 5.7 years younger on average. Our results support the concept of epidemiological evidence that a spermidine-rich diet is associated with an increased survival rate in humans. “

Does spermidine help with dementia or Parkinson’s?

Beta Amyloid Ablagerungen

Unfortunately, with increasing life expectancy, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease increases dramatically. Although only about 2 percent of people under the age of 70 are affected, the incidence of the disease rises to over 40 percent in people over the age of 90. Alzheimer’s research is therefore of great importance for the future, as the number of people affected could quadruple by 2050 as a result of further increases in life expectancy.

Study of the Berlin Charité raises hope

In a recent study, scientists have now tested spermidine in the fight against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease – with very interesting results. In the human body, spermidine is important for the various cellular processes and also accelerates the elimination of cellular waste (autophagy). This waste, which accumulates in the cells over time, consists mainly of misfolded proteins and is suspected of being able to trigger Alzheimer’s in brain cells. Since therapy is difficult to administer when the disease is already present, researchers are increasingly focusing on prevention.
Researchers at the Neurological University Clinic in Greifswald have therefore conducted animal experiments to investigate the effectiveness of spermidine in animal experiments under the direction of Agnes Flöel. The active ingredient proved to be very efficient and was able to prolong the lifespan of insects and worms and stop the age-related memory loss in fruit flies.

“Previous data suggest that so-called polyamines, especially spermidine, have a positive effect on brain function and mental abilities.”

First study with spermidine in humans completed

Based on these first, very positive, experiences with spermidine, the scientists have started a pilot study to investigate the effects of spermidine capsules on learning and memory performance of volunteers. Here, too, the results were astonishing, because after only three months of taking the spermidine capsules, the subjects’ memory performance tended to improve. There were hardly any side effects observed.

This is now to be tested again in a larger study that will run for 12 months. The test persons will be administered spermidine capsules or tablets over a period of 12 months and the effects on memory, learning and the structure of the brain will be investigated. Participants in the study called “Smart Age” are elderly people who do not yet have Alzheimer’s disease, but who think that their memory performance has deteriorated in recent years.

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Spermidine in cancer prevention

Spermidine could also be successful in the prevention of cancer, especially liver cancer. In animal experiments of a recent study by researchers at the University of Texas have found that spermidine could prevent liver cancer in the long term. As part of the study, the scientists fed experimental animals with spermidine and observed life expectancy and susceptibility to liver cancer. They found that many spermidine-fed mice had longer life expectancy and were less likely to develop liver cancer or liver fibrosis. This was also observed in the animals that were more susceptible to liver cancer. The life expectancy of the experimental animals increased by about 25 percent. Although this is very impressive, it only applied to the experimental animals that received the active substance from birth. If the active substance was given later, life expectancy still increased by about 10 percent. In the future, according to a vision of the researchers, spermidine could also be added to beer in order to reduce the damaging effects on the liver. However, this is still a long way off.

Spermidin to support diabetes management

A South Korean study from 2011 suggests that spermidine may play an important role in protecting pancreatic cells, which can be very helpful in type 2 diabetes. The researchers see insulin resistance as a key factor in the disease as well as stress on the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Tirupathi Pichiah, lead investigator of the study:
“As ER stress increases, pancreatic beta cells begin to undergo apoptosis (cell death), resulting in a decrease in the pancreatic beta cell population. ER stress is caused by the unfolded protein reaction. Recently, spermidine has [become known] to increase longevity in most eukaryotes… by inducing the autophagy pathway.
Therefore spermidine may be a candidate for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Autophagy genes are regulated by mTOR-dependent or independent pathway via AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Therefore, either inhibition of mTOR or activation of AMPK by spermidine will play two crucial roles: first, activation of autophagy and second, reduction of ER stress, which reduces beta cell death by apoptosis.
Thus [spermidine] may be a new therapeutic candidate in the treatment of insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and the maintenance of pancreatic beta cell mass”.

Spermidine to support heart health

The authors of a study published in 2016 by the University of Graz suspect that spermidine has cardioprotective properties and could therefore also prolong life expectancy. This assumption is supported by studies on mice whose drinking water was spiked with spermidine. In the group of mice containing spermidine, the researchers observed the following:

  • Improved cardiac autophagy, mitophagy and mitochondrial respiration
    Improvement of the mechano-elastic properties of cardiomyocytes coinciding with increased titin phosphorylation and suppressed subclinical inflammation
  • Preservation of diastolic function
  • induced cardiac hypertrophy

After deliberately raising the blood pressure of the mice to mimic hypertension-induced heart failure, the researchers found that spermidine intake delayed the progression to heart failure.

  • Systemic blood pressure was lowered
  • Increasing titin phosphorylation
  • Prevention of heart hypertrophy and a decrease in diastolic function

“Not only do the mice live longer when we add spermidine to their drinking water, but they are also healthier in terms of heart function,” said study co-author Dr. Frank Madeo, professor at the Institute for Molecular Biosciences at the Medical University of Graz.”

Spermidine level decreases with age

Spermidine is beneficial in every age group, but its concentration in the body decreases sharply with age. A study from 2006 showed that the amount of spermidine in the body of mice decreased significantly with age. While the concentration in the intestine decreased only slightly, the measured concentrations in the heart, liver, kidney, lung, spleen, stomach and thymus were significantly lower than in young mice.
“The results suggest that the maintenance of polyamine levels may play an important role in the function of the pancreas, brain and uterus in 3 to 26-week-old mice,” said one of the study’s authors.

What is the best way to consume spermidine?

Natural spermidine is found in many foods. So far there are no precise recommendations for spermidine dosages to prevent Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, so it is important to choose foods that are high in spermidine. In the next few years, spermidine capsules or tablets will be available as a dietary supplement, assuming further positive studies.

Spermidine in food

Wheat germ has the highest content of spermidine in food. But it is also found in many other vegetables such as broccoli, soybeans or cauliflower. Long ripened cheeses such as cheddar, parmesan or old Gouda cheese also have a high content of spermidine.
In the table below you will find the foods with the highest content of spermidine. A larger overview of spermidine-rich foods can be found under the link.

FoodSpermidin-Level
(mg/kg)
FoodSpermidin-Level
(mg/kg)
Wheatgerm243Peas46
Soybeans, dried207Mango30
Cheddar cheese, aged at least one year199Chickpeas29
Mushrooms89Cauliflower (cooked)25
Rice bran50Broccoli (cooked)25
Chicken liver48

Spermidine capsules and tablets

Covering the supply of spermidine will probably not be easy with food alone. An alternative could be spermidine capsules or tablets. Since early 2019, manufacturer Longevity Labs has been offering Spermidinelife*, the world’s first natural dietary supplement made from wheat germ extract with a high spermidine content. Since January 2020, Spermidinelife has been distributed exclusively by InfectoPharm in Germany. This was developed in several years of research with the Karl-Franzens-University in Graz and successfully tested in clinical studies for positive efficacy. In addition, it makes sense to include spermidine-rich foods such as wheat germ, soybeans or cheddar in your daily diet.

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Frequently asked questions about spermidine

WHERE IS SPERMIDINE FOUND?

Spermidine is found in:

  • Wheat germ (24,3mg/100g)
  • dried soybeans (20,7mg/100g)
  • aged Cheese, e.g. Cheddar (19,9mg/100g)
  • Mushrooms, e.g. seedlings (8,6mg/100g)
  • Peas (6,5mg/100g)

WHICH CHEESE HAS SPERMIDINE IN IT?

Spermidine is mainly found in ripened cheese. Cheddar (matured for at least 1 year), Brie and Parmesan cheese are particularly high in spermidine. But old Gouda also contains a high content of the valuable polyamine.

HOW DOES SPERMIDINE HAVE ITS EFFECT?

Spermidine acts as a polyamine directly in the cells and enhances autophagy, the natural process of cell cleansing and cell renewal in a similar way to fasting.spermidine is closely related to cell growth and has a “cell rejuvenating” effect.

HOW MUCH SPERMIDINE PER DAY IS GOOD?

You can take in as much spermidine as you want through your food. Studies show that the average spermidine intake per day is about 7 to 15mg. If one uses spermidine-rich foods such as wheat germ, mature cheese or mushrooms, one can significantly increase the intake.

WHAT IS AUTOPHAGY?

Autophagy is a natural process in the human body and acts like a kind of recycling. The body breaks down unneeded and diseased cell components and reuses the components again. This leads to a rejuvenating effect on the cells.

Current studies on the use of spermidine

Spermidine rescues proximal tubular cells from oxidative stress and necrosis after ischemic acute kidney injury.
Kim, J.

Depletion of the polyamines spermidine and spermine by overexpression of spermidine/spermine N¹-acetyltransferase 1 (SAT1) leads to mitochondria-mediated apoptosis in mammalian cells.
Mandal S., Mandal A., Park MH.

FURTHER STUDIES ON SPERMIDINE