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Spermidine is a polyamine compound found in cells throughout the human body, but concentrations decrease with age. Supplementation with spermidine has been found to increase survival in yeast, worms, and human immune cells. A recent observational study investigated the link between dietary spermidine content and disease risk.

Spermidine is one of a small number of compounds that has demonstrated anti-aging properties in animal research, likely due to its ability to induce autophagy - the process by which the body clears dead and damaged cells. While the compound is available as a supplement, it is also found in a number of foods including wheat germ, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, amaranth, a variety of cheeses, and soybean products such as natto.

The investigators recruited a group of 1,000 participants aged 49 to 79 years old from the town of Bruneck in Italy. Participants shared their full medical records with the researchers and reported their dietary habits every five years for 20 years.

The authors reported lower risk of all causes of death with increasing dietary spermidine intake. They report 40.5 deaths per 1,000 person-years in the group with lowest intake and 15.1 deaths per 1,000 person-years in the group with the highest intake. Of the 146 nutrients the authors investigated, spermidine had the strongest relationship with decreased disease risk.

This is the first study to demonstrate an association between dietary spermidine intake and increased survival in humans. Because this study is observational in design, spermidine should be tested in interventional trials to confirm these results.

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