Spermidine is part of the polyamine family. Involved in several vital functions in the body, this organic, endogenous compound was first identified in 1678 in, as its name suggests, human sperm. It is, however, found in all human cells (and in those of mammals in general). Spermidine is primarily a precursor of spermine, which ensures the stability and integrity of body fluids (1).
This famous fountain of youth unfortunately dries up with age but ensuring a regular, adequate intake from the diet can help to compensate for this decline (2-4).
Few oleaginous fruits contain substantial levels of spermidine, the one exception being hazelnuts, with a respectable 2.1 mg/100 g. A food to add welcome crunch and flavour to salads or satisfy an afternoon craving!
Do you prefer cauliflower or broccoli? If you’re not a fan of either of these brassicas, bear in mind that their florets (or leaves) contain an average 2.5mg of spermidine per 100g (5).
Eat them raw or steamed to get maximum benefit from their vitamins, minerals and sulphur compounds.
Clocking up 3mg of spermidine per 100g, mangos are also notable for their vitamin A content (in the form of beta-carotene, responsible for their orange colour) as well as polyphenols (including gallic acid, mainly in ripe fruit).
Combine them with bananas (0.86mg/100 g) to end your meal on an exotic note and at the same time boost your spermidine intake.
With 3.7mg spermidine per 100g, beef comes in at a creditable 7th place on our list. So does that mean eating a steak for lunch every day? Absolutely not. According to the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES), we should not exceed 500g of red meat a week.
And let’s also remember that grilled meat, particularly barbecued, generates toxic compounds (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amino acids) which accelerate cellular ageing.
Raising your spermidine levels sometimes requires a little effort! Though perhaps not the most appetising, chicken liver is even better than steak, with a very decent 4.8 mg/100g (6) – not to mention its excellent vitamin A, B9, and iron content.
Halfway between a green vegetable and a pulse, peas are often combined with carrots in canned products. But did you know they are packed with spermidine (6.5mg/100 g)? (7).
Very useful for vegetarians or those who do not get on with offal!
Vitamins B3 and D, selenium, potassium, phosphorus: nutrition-wise, mushrooms are already high performers. But to add to their ranking, they are one of the most spermidine-rich plant foods with an impressive 8.8mg/100 g (8).
Like many mature cheeses (gouda, brie, parmesan, gorgonzola…), cheddar is chock-full of spermidine with a content nudging 20mg/100g.
But as with beef, that doesn’t mean you should eat huge amounts: restrict yourself to 30g-40g a day so that your salt and saturated fat intake remains moderate.
A staple of veggie cooking, soya beans - in the form of tofu, tempeh, miso or vegan milks - are one of the most popular and versatile sources of plant protein.
With a more than respectable 20.7mg/100g, they are second on the podium of the top 10 spermidine-rich foods (9).
And the spermidine gold medal goes to … wheatgerm! The part that both helps the wheat plant reproduce, and gets eliminated when grain is processed into flour (because the fatty acids it contains accelerate rancidity), wheatgerm reigns supreme with 24.3mg of spermidine per 100g. (10)
It’s usually sprinkled on vegetables, yogurt or cereal.
Besides choosing from these various foods every day, it can make sense to opt for a spermidine supplement as an easy and effective way of optimising your intake of this valuable nutrient (with its 100% vegan, gluten- and additive-free formulation, derived from rice extract, the supplement Spermidine provides 3mg of spermidine a day, the highest amount on the market) (11).
While the concept of cooking food marked a turning point in the history of mankind by increasing the bioavailability of a lot more nutrients, it can also be responsible for destroying vitamins. Read our advice on the best cooking methods for preserving all your food’s vitamins and nutrients.
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