Spermidine: discovered sperm substance protects against potentially fatal heart problems

Heart-protecting effect of sperm substance confirmed
Austrian researchers have found that spermidine protects the heart. This substance is contained in the male seed, among other things, but also in foods such as soybeans or grain sprouts. The findings give hope for a possible treatment of diastolic heart muscle weakness.

Positive effects of sperm substance
News of a woman from England recently made headlines, reporting that she consumes male ejaculate every day, among other things because it is supposed to prevent infections. A corresponding effect has not been scientifically confirmed. However, studies have shown that sperm, or parts of it, can have positive effects on health. Austrian researchers have now discovered that spermidine has a protective effect on the heart.

Spermidine for memory problems
Years ago, scientists from Austria reported an investigation that spermidine works against memory problems. This substance, which is contained in the semen, but also in various foods - such as wheat germ, soybeans, peas, some cheeses, mushrooms and nuts - can do even more: spermidine also protects the heart. This is now reported by researchers who were already involved in the aforementioned study.

The scientists from the Karl-Franzens-University Graz and the Medical University Graz published their results, which they won together with an international team, in the journal "Nature Medicine".

Keep heart cells healthy and efficient
Improper nutrition, lack of exercise and high blood pressure make an important contribution to the fact that older people are increasingly susceptible to diseases of the "pump" and blood vessels. At the moment, according to experts, too little is known about the basic mechanisms of the progressive deterioration of aging hearts.

Autophagy is considered one of the most important processes in the human body to keep heart cells healthy and efficient. Recently, the Japanese Yoshinori Ohsumi received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for deciphering the mechanism of so-called autophagy, "a fundamental process for the breakdown and recycling of cell components".

In this process, body cells break down their own defective components and use them, particularly during periods of hunger, to generate new building blocks and at the same time use them to generate energy. Without autophagy, the cellular waste would deposit and prevent the cell from continuing to function properly.

Researchers at the University of Graz had already found out years ago that the body's own spermidine could stimulate this cellular cleaning process beyond periods of hunger.

Positive effect on the heart
Under the direction of Tobias Eisenberg and Frank Madeo from the Institute of Molecular Biosciences at the Karl-Franzens University in Graz, and Simon Sedej and Mahmoud Abdellatif from the Clinical Department of Cardiology at the Medical University of Graz “has an international team of 59 researchers from 36 universities and institutes A positive effect of spermidine on the heart has been demonstrated in eight countries, ”says a statement.

They found that the mean lifespan of mice was prolonged by spermidine administered in the drinking water. "In animal models, spermidine increased heart elasticity and diastolic relaxation, while the thickening of the heart walls decreased," said the scientists.

The substance improved cardiac function in older mice and was also effective in rats with elevated blood pressure due to a high salt diet. Additional spermidine therefore reduced her blood pressure and improved her heart function.

So far no effective treatment
Older people in particular often suffer from a progressive loss of cardiac elasticity, accompanied by a thickening of the heart walls. “This so-called diastolic cardiac muscle weakness reduces the quality of life and leads to shortness of breath and reduced performance. Combined with high blood pressure, this form of heart failure, for which there is currently no effective treatment, is one of the leading causes of death in the western world, ”the release said.

The new research results now give hope. In the future, the protective effects will also be assessed in human studies. (ad)

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Video: Medical vocabulary: What does Spermidine Synthase mean (January 2022).