Three Things that Will Add Years to Your Life (And One More that’s a Lot Easier!)

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Three Things that Will Add Years to Your Life (And One More that’s a Lot Easier!) about undefined
According to an April 2017 report from Texas A&M University, scientists have identified three ways to give yourself a longer life:
  1. Drastically cut calorie intake;
  2. Restrict the amount of methionine, an amino acid found in meat;
  3. Use the drug rapamycin.
Rapamycin was originally used to prevent organ rejection in transplant recipients. In 2009, US scientists discovered it has an interesting side effect, at least in mice: it increased lifespan.1 But as an author of the report, Dr. Leyuan Liu, said, “Eating less and not eating meat will not be welcomed by the general population, while rapamycin has shown to suppress the human immune system.”2 So, scratch that idea.

Fortunately, Dr. Liu and his team have discovered a compound that may be the most sustainable anti-aging nutrient to date.

This longevity nutrient is called spermidine. It’s a polyamine, a compound necessary for healthy cell functioning. As the body ages it tends to produce fewer polyamines, which research shows is directly correlated to an increase of disease.3 This is likely because cell growth slows dramatically without polyamine synthesis. As time goes by, cell growth may actually stop without polyamines. And if you’re not growing new cells, then your tissues and organs begin to deteriorate, accelerating the aging process.

In addition to cell regulation, spermidine has also been shown to increase lifespan through several other mechanisms.

Spermidine Promotes Cell Clean-Up and Renewal

Autophagy is the natural process that breaks down and removes old, noxious or malfunctioning parts of a cell. This rids the body of potentially harmful or cancerous elements and clears the way for new cell growth. “Autophagy” literally means “self-eating.” Our immune system cells eat up old or unwanted cells.

You can accelerate this healthy process by fasting. But, as Dr. Liu rightly points out, doing without food is not attractive for most of us.

Autophagy happens constantly, but as organisms age and cell turnover reduces, this natural cleansing process may slow down.

“When autophagy goes awry,” said Dr. Liu, “it can lead to aging-related diseases like cancers that seem to stem from too many cells growing, and degenerative diseases that seem to stem from too many cells dying. Both types of diseases are caused by too little autophagy.”4 But research shows that increasing spermidine intake can help increase and regulate autophagy, which in turn can boost longevity at the whole-organism level.5 In a study of spermidine in a mouse model, the mice given an oral spermidine supplement had an increased lifespan of as much as 25%.

“In human terms, that would mean that instead of living to about 81 years old, the average American could live to be over 100,” Dr. Liu said of the results.6 The mice received supplemental spermidine from birth, and for humans to get the same results they’d have to do the same thing. However, it’s never too late to get some benefit from taking spermidine supplements. Starting at a later age can increase longevity by 10%.

How to Get More Spermidine in Your Diet

Fortunately, dietary sources of spermidine are plentiful. Aged blue cheese has high levels of spermidine, but as dairy can be inflammatory I don’t advocate eating large amounts of it. Lactose intolerance is common, especially among nonwhites.

Other sources of spermidine include:
  • Shellfish
  • Mushrooms
  • Miso (fermented soybeans)
  • Wheat germ
  • Leafy greens
  • Green peas
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Legumes
Unless you have allergies or are sensitive to any of these foods, you can enjoy fairly large quantities of spermidine with no adverse side effects.

And remember, even though reducing calorie and meat intake may not be popular, they have been proven to slow the aging process. The trifecta of calorie restriction, meat consumption reduction and spermidine increase may be a great way to increase longevity.

To get some fasting into your life, make sure a least 12 food-free hours pass between your last bite in the evening and your first food the next day. I generally finish dinner around 6:30 PM and don’t eat breakfast until after 6:30 the following morning. If you can go 14 or 16 hours between meals, all the better.

We’ve interviewed two anti-aging doctors who say they go 16 hours between those two meals. They do all their eating during an eight- window – for example between 10 AM and 6 PM.
  1. Rapamycin: Limited anti-aging effects.
  2. Spermidine-rich foods may prevent liver cancer, extend lifespan.
  3. Polyamine-rich food decreases age-associated pathology and mortality in aged mice.
  4. Harnessing a cell’s own “self-eating” behavior to fight cancer.
  5. Spermidine prolongs lifespan and prevents liver fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma by activating MAP1S-mediated autophagy.
  6. Spermidine-rich foods may prevent liver cancer, extend lifespan.

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