Have you caught Olympic fever this week? My family and I certainly have!
In addition to the excitement of watching gold medal performances from the likes of Americans Sunissa Lee and Caeleb Dressel, and Team GB’s Adam Peaty, we have also watched the drama of Dutch gold medal favorite, Mathieu van der Pohl, fly head over handlebars in a horrific crash that prevented him from finishing the race, and the extreme mental stress under which world champion gymnast, Simone Biles, eventually withdrew from competition. What an emotional and physical rollercoaster for these hard-working athletes!
This got me thinking about spermidine’s role in athletic performance under stress, especially as we get older.
Spermidine is made from SAM-e (S-adenosyl-L-methionine) and the amino acid, l-arginine. Both play an important role in how we feel, move and perform.
SAM-e plays an important role in our stress reaction, mood and joint function.
When we’re young, our bodies naturally produce it in plentiful quantities, but our production declines as we get older, meaning that it gets harder for our bodies to come up with the SAM-e we need for the synthesis of spermidine, neurotransmitters and hormones. Low levels can manifest as low mood, anxiety and even arthritis.
L-arginine is a known vasodilator, enhancing blood flow to muscles and the extremities. Some athletes use it for faster wound healing and better athletic performance. It is also needed to make protein, a building block of muscle.
While supplementing with spermidine allows you to conserve your bodies reserves of SAM-e and L-arginine, a promising animal study out of the University of Rome suggests that spermidine and spermine, another polyamine present in Primeadine®, will rescue muscle in older mammals. Another study out of China has shown that spermidine together with exercise have the same effect.
Whether you’re an Olympic athlete, a weekend warrior or an armchair sportswoman, making sure we get the spermidine and spermine we need to conserve L-arginine and SAM-e as well as supporting skeletal muscle as we age is a winning formula.