What is Spermidine?

Spermidine is a naturally-occurring and potent polyamine (a kind of protein) known for inducing autophagy, the body's cellular renewal and recycling process. It also inhibits 9 of the 12 Hallmarks of Aging, the paths down which we age. 

2/3 of the spermidine found in the human body is produced endogenously, or in the body, by the gut microbiota and various tissues. The final 1/3 is found exogenously, or externally, in the food that we eat. 

As we age, our body's ability to produce it declines. To restore youthful levels of spermidine, we have to look externally. Otherwise, our cells' ability to trigger autophagy will continue to decline and the aging pathways will progress. 

Proven Spermidine Benefits

In addition to inducing autophagy, spermidine and its co-occurring precursor and successor, putrescine, and spermine, are associated with several essential cell functions and the maintenance of cell homeostasis. Polyamines are essential for cell growth and proliferation and tissue regeneration. They stabilize DNA and RNA, have antioxidative activities, modulate enzyme functions, and are required for the regulation of translation. They also help to control apoptosis (cell death) and play a role in learning and memory.

Supplementation with spermidine in humans has been shown to have a myriad of positive effects including, but not limited to, protecting brain and heart health, improving hair growth and fullness (including eyelashes), and strengthening nails.

According to a landmark paper and its recent update by Lopez-Otin et al, aging is driven by 12 “hallmarks”. Among them are mitochondrial dysfunction, stem cell exhaustion, disabled macroautophagy, and gut dysbiosis, which all are known to be ameliorated by spermidine supplementation. Spermidine is one of few known compounds thought to reduce or reverse the effects of multiple hallmarks; through its induction of autophagy, in particular, it is thought to impact as many as nine of the 12 hallmarks. 

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Spermidine Targets 9 of the 12 Root Causes of Aging

Impaired autophagy

Have you ever thought about what would happen if you never took out the garbage? Rubbish would begin to pile up, decompose and generally get in the way of how things ran and looked in your home. This is exactly what happens inside your body if it can no longer trigger autophagy, which is your body's cell renewal and recycling process.

Mitochondrial dysfunction

As cells age, their mitochondria (the "cell powerhouse") lose the ability to provide cellular energy and start self-destructing by releasing harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS), creating oxidative stress. Being the energy source of the cell, you would feel mitochondrial dysfunction as low energy levels.

Stem cell dysfunction

Stem cells lose their ability to divide as we age, and we are therefore unable to replace cells that have migrated, differentiated, or died. As a result, we exhibit the outward features of aging, such as gray hair, fine lines, and wrinkles, and slower muscle and wound repair.


Heard the term “inflammaging”? It describes the gradual increase of inflammation as we age. Increased inflammation can lead to various diseases and is clearly linked to all other aging pathways both in its tendency to promote the other Hallmarks of Aging, and to result from them. It's a toxic cycle!

Telomere attrition

Telomeres are the end caps of our chromosomes, and their length determines the number of times a cell can divide. When the telomeres are dysfunctional, or unusually short, premature development of diseases and aging occurs. When the telomere length is long or maintained, cells can live longer. 

Gut dysbiosis

70% of our immune system lives in the gut. Being located there, one of the immune system's responsibilities is to maintain bacterial balance in the gut microbiome. Since the immune system loses effectiveness with age, it is unable to perform its maintenance role in the gut and bacterial diversity suffers.

Epigenetic alterations

Your genome is like sheet music, and your epigenome is how that music is played. The sheet music is always the same, but we can influence how it is expressed. Without changing our lifestyle factors, epigenetic changes accumulate as we age.

Loss of proteostasis

AKA, poor protein folding. Proteins are responsible for nearly every task in our body, including cell shape, waste cleanup, inner cell organization, and routine maintenance. To function properly, proteins need to be folded perfectly.

Impaired intercellular communication

As cells age, they emit an increasing number of inflammatory signals, like "alarm bells", to alert the body that they need to be repaired. But when chronically sounded, these alarms can "inflammage" surrounding cells.

What is Autophagy?

Autophagy is a complex, tightly regulated, cell self-eating process. A leading University of Oxford scientist and member of our scientific advisory board, Professor Katja Simon, describes autophagy as, the recycling van that delivers the rubbish to the recycling center. It is very important to degrade toxic waste for the survival of the cell, and a cell without autophagy cannot survive.” Beyond the degradation of waste, we have learned that autophagy plays crucial roles in differentiation and development, cellular and tissue homeostasis, protein and organelle quality control, metabolism, immunity, and protection against aging and a diverse array of diseases. 

Ground-breaking science by Simon and others has made it clear that autophagy is a crucial process at the cellular level that benefits the entire body. It is no surprise, then, that Yoshinori Ohsumi, the Japanese scientist who discovered autophagy’s mechanism of action, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology, in 2016, for his work. He was able to demonstrate that this process of cellular recycling and renewal plays a key role in human health and in preventing the diseases of aging. We are lucky enough to work with him via the Japan Autophagy Consortium, of which we are the only non-Japanese member!

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Benefits of Autophagy

Cardiovascular health

Cognition and memory

Immune function

Healthy joint function


Our Scientific Advisory Board

Professor Denis Noble

Dr. Katja Simon

Dr. Ghada Alsaleh

Dr. Sasi Senga

Our Clinical Advisory Board

Dr. Paul Ch'en

Dr. Sandra Kaufmann

Dr. Olivia Lesslar

Amy Lamotte