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A man holding his heart and an arrow pointing at spermidine tablets. Text: Spermidine Side Effects What You Need To Know

Spermidine Side Effects: What You Need To Know

Spermidine is a naturally occurring molecule in the human body and is also found in various foods like legumes, whole grains, and aged cheese. It's a polyamine — an organic, positively charged molecule involved in cell growth, gene expression, cellular signaling, and stress response.

While dietary spermidine (from eating foods naturally rich in spermidine) is linked to a healthy aging process, some people take concentrated spermidine supplementation to fill in any gaps in their nutrient intake [1].

The good news is that high-quality spermidine supplements haven't been observed in studies to produce serious side effects and can complement various wellness goals.

In this article, we want to address some concerns and rumors regarding spermidine levels for strokes. These claims haven't been substantiated in scientific research regarding spermidine supplements.

However, as with any dietary supplement we discuss, the information in this article shouldn't replace the guidance from your healthcare professional, who can provide personalized advice based on your goals and health concerns.

Main Side Effects of Spermidine

Person holding his chest with two hands right above his heart

Research involving mice has shown that spermidine consumption does not lead to noticeable side effects, supporting its profile as a safe supplement [2]. That being said, some people have reported mild side effects like an upset stomach from taking high doses of spermidine, but additional ingredients in the formula can also cause them.

As with any supplement, it's important to check the source and ingredient list of spermidine supplements and to use them as directed to avoid any potential adverse effects.

Consuming Dietary Spermidine Side Effects

Consuming spermidine through natural food sources like aged cheese, legumes, and wheat is generally very safe. High intake of these foods is typically not associated with severe side effects. However, as with any dietary component, balance is key, and there is such thing as too much of a good thing.

Speaking of which, is too much spermidine correlated with increased stroke risk?

Relationship Between Spermidine and Stroke: Fact or Myth?

A study titled "Serum Spermidine in Relation to Risk of Stroke: A Multilevel Study" by Liqiang Zheng and colleagues sheds light on the implications of serum spermidine levels on stroke risk [3].

Serum spermidine circulates in the blood and comes from the body's internal production and digestion of dietary spermidine. Measuring serum spermidine levels is mainly used for research and diagnostic purposes to stunk links with diseases or health states.

The study noted that people with the highest levels of spermidine were more likely to experience a stroke compared to those with lower levels. Specifically, the risk was significantly higher for those whose spermidine levels were in the highest range measured by the study.

So, does having a lot of spermidine in your system mean you're at higher risk for a stroke? According to this study, the answer leans towards yes. But, this refers to spermidine levels that occur naturally in your body, influenced by what you eat and how your body functions, rather than directly from supplements.

This finding suggests that while spermidine can be great for your health, like with many things, don't go overboard.

This doesn't mean spermidine is bad or dangerous—it just means that if you're considering spermidine supplements, especially in high doses, it's a good idea to chat with your healthcare provider to check that they're safe for you.

Why Do People Take Spermidine Supplements?

Middle aged man running in the park

One of the main reasons people turn to spermidine supplements is their potential to support cellular renewal and maintenance. Spermidine helps with autophagy — the body's way of cleaning out damaged cells and making room for new ones, keeping our cells functioning optimally as we age [4].

Many of us are interested in longevity and maintaining an energetic lifestyle for as long as possible.

Spermidine has been studied for its potential role in extending life span, at least in yeast, flies, and mice [5]. These studies suggest that spermidine might help maintain the body's functions longer by supporting cellular health, which is a compelling reason for its use among those focused on longevity.

Adding more spermidine-rich foods like aged cheese, mushrooms, soy products, legumes, and whole grains to one's diet is another way to boost spermidine intake. However, for many, spermidine supplements are much more convenient and provide consistent doses of this compound without significantly altering their diet.

What Happens if You Take Too Much Spermidine?

Taking too much spermidine can lead to mild but noticeable side effects. The most common issues reported are gastrointestinal discomforts, such as upset stomach or bloating. This is similar to what might happen if you consume too many dietary supplements.

Spermidine supplements don't work like a typical medication or drug. You won't feel an immediate, powerful effect after taking it.

Instead, the benefits of spermidine are usually gentle and subtle, as they work on a cellular level, emerging over consistent, long-term use. This differentiates it from many supplements or medications offering a quick fix.

Because spermidine is not a quick-acting substance and is intended for long-term benefits, it’s important to stick to the recommended dosages outlined on the product label. Overdoing it can negate the benefits you aim for, such as improved cellular health and well-being. Taking more spermidine than recommended doesn’t speed up the benefits — in fact, it might lead to discomfort or minor health issues.

The Takeaway: Spermidine Side Effects

Spermedine bottle and tablets

Spermidine may have promising benefits for cellular and overall health. It's found naturally in our diet but can also be supplemented conveniently to boost intake.

While the benefits of spermidine are subtle over long-term use, it's important to adhere to recommended dosages and purchase high-quality spermidine supplements to avoid mild side effects like gastrointestinal discomfort.

The research looking at spermidine and stroke correlation pertains to naturally occurring serum levels, which are influenced by diet and the individual's metabolism, not directly to spermidine supplements, so most healthy individuals don't have to worry about this. This distinction is important as it indicates that while the body's natural regulation of spermidine levels includes a balance, introducing high levels through supplements might require careful management and consultation with healthcare providers.

Resources:

  1. Kiechl, S., Pechlaner, R., Willeit, P., Notdurfter, M., Paulweber, B., Willeit, K., ... & Willeit, J. (2018). Higher spermidine intake is linked to lower mortality: a prospective population-based study. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 108(2), 371-380.
  2. Schwarz, C., Stekovic, S., Wirth, M., Benson, G., Royer, P., Sigrist, S. J., ... & Flöel, A. (2018). Safety and tolerability of spermidine supplementation in mice and older adults with subjective cognitive decline. Aging (Albany NY), 10(1), 19.
  3. Zheng, L., Xie, Y., Sun, Z., Zhang, R., Ma, Y., Xu, J., ... & Wen, D. (2022). Serum spermidine in relation to risk of stroke: a multilevel study. Frontiers in Nutrition, 9, 843616.
  4. Madeo, F., Bauer, M. A., Carmona-Gutierrez, D., & Kroemer, G. (2019). Spermidine: a physiological autophagy inducer acting as an anti-aging vitamin in humans?. Autophagy, 15(1), 165-168.
  5. Eisenberg, T., Abdellatif, M., Schroeder, S., Primessnig, U., Stekovic, S., Pendl, T., ... & Madeo, F. (2016). Cardioprotection and lifespan extension by the natural polyamine spermidine. Nature medicine, 22(12), 1428-1438.
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Katrina Lubiano

Based in Canada, Katrina is an experienced content writer and editor specializing in health and wellness. With a journalistic approach, she's crafted over 900,000 words on supplements, striving to debunk myths and foster a holistic approach to healthi...