A chemical found in aged cheeses can prevent liver cancer and enhance longevity
A new study has shown that there can be a simple way to reduce the incidence of liver cancer and prolong life: eating mushrooms, soy, whole grains, and aged cheeses, foods rich in spermidine.
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The researchers found that mice fed orally spermidine supplementation, were less likely to develop liver fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) – the most common form of liver cancer – compared to rodents that did not receive the supplement. In addition, the research team – from Texas A & M University in college Station – found that spermidine increased the lifespan of mice by up to 25%.
Recently, findings from the study by Leyuan Liu, Ph.D. and his colleagues from the University of Texas A&M Institute for Life Sciences & Technology, were presented in the journal Cancer Research .
Spermidine is a polyamine – a compound that has at least two amino groups – that was first isolated in semen, hence its name, and then in a variety of foods, including aged cheeses, mushrooms, legumes, and soy. , whole grains and corn.
Previous research has shown that spermidine-rich dietary choices can have significant health benefits. A study published in Nature Medicine last year, demonstrated the strong association of spermidine supplementation with improved heart function and longevity in mice, and a recent study linked it to lower blood pressure.
In the latest study, Liu and his associates, examined whether spermidine may have anti-cancer properties.
Dietary supplement spermidine led to a “dramatic increase” in life expectancy.
The researchers administered a spermidine dietary supplement to mice predisposed to developing HCC or hepatic fibrosis – scar tissue in the liver that could lead to cancer. The bottom line: these rodents, in addition to being less likely to develop HCC and liver fibrosis than those who did not receive the supplement, survived much longer.
“There has been a significant increase in the lifespan of experimental animals by 25%, and as Liu puts it: ‘This could mean that if the supplement were given to human organisms, they could be over 100 years old.’
At this point it should be noted that a 25% increase in survival was observed only in mice receiving the spermidine supplement for life. Those given the supplement later in life had a 10% increase in survival.
“A new strategy for life expectancy.”
It is known from previous studies that the lack of autophagy (Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology 2016) – the process by which cells “eat” their own “problematic” parts – contributes to the development of cancer.
In this study, Liu and his colleagues also found that the benefits of spermidine are diminished by the absence of a protein called MAP1S. This protein is significantly involved in the process of autophagy and therefore researchers believe that the cancer-protective effects of spermidine, are directly related to MAP1S activity and autophagy.
Further studies are needed to determine the safety and effectiveness of spermidine supplements in humans, but researchers believe that its use could offer significant health benefits. “It’s still early days, but perhaps one day this approach could provide a new strategy for prolonging life, preventing or reversing liver fibrosis and preventing, delaying or treating human hepatocellular carcinoma.” reports Leyuan Liu, PhD, assistant professor at the Texas A&M Institute of Biosciences and Technology.