Food-Derived Supplements

What is Handedness? On Food-Derived Molecules and Synthetics

What is Handedness? On Food-Derived Molecules and Synthetics | Oxford Healthspan

Everyone knows if they are left- or right-handed, but did you know that it's the same for molecules? 

Handedness in Food-Derived Molecules & Synthetics

We've all seen molecular structures in high school chemistry class, but those images are actually meant to represent 3-dimensional molecules. Synthetics can 'mirror' molecules found in nature, but this does not make them the same - just like a glove for your left hand would not fit your right (this is known as 'chirality'). 

In addition, synthetic molecules will be purely those molecules and will not include any of the co-factors that accompany and often potentiate natural molecules. If any of you have ever heard Dr Terry Wahls, an autoimmune patient like me, you'll know that she places a lot of importance on the co-factors and enzymes that have not yet been discovered that do co-occur in nature and which we find in food. 

Handedness in Food-Derived Spermidine

This is another reason why I wanted to derive our spermidine from food - the body recognizes food-derived molecules the way a right-handed glove fits your right hand. 

In addition, I know that food-derived spermidine has its own 'recycling loop' with precursors to spermidine. In the case of our defatted wheat germ derived spermidine with prebiotic, it also includes the polyamines spermine and putrescine, which allow for more spermidine and spermine to be produced in the body. Our chlorella-derived spermidine product contains putrescine, a precursor molecule that can turn into either spermidine or spermine depending on the body's needs. 

Spermidine Dosage

So what about the products out there with 8-10mg of synthetic spermidine with ingredient labels stating 'wheat germ with spermidine'? Well, we have tested a few of these back in the lab in Japan and while they do indeed contain wheat germ and spermidine, they contain almost no spermine or putrescine. In nature, wheat will have a ratio of spermidine: spermine: putrescine of around 7:4:1. The fact that these products contain only small traces of spermine or putrescine indicate that their capsule contents have been 'cut' with synthetic spermidine, likely for cost reasons. 

So does handedness make a difference to your cells recognizing synthetic spermidine? Well, does it matter if you wear your gloves on the wrong hands? Some fingers will fit, but others won't. No studies have yet been conducted in humans on the safety or efficacy of synthetic spermidine. 

If you'd like to learn more, you can read this chemistry class review on why handedness, 'chirality' and 3-dimensionality matter.

Reading next

Fasting and hypothyroidism: Friends or foes? | Oxford Healthspan
Longevity Salad Series: Shiitake, Goat's Cheese & Arugula Salad | Oxford Healthspan

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.