Spermidine: a physiological autophagy inducer acting as an anti-aging vitamin in humans?

Autophagy. 2019 Jan;15(1):165-168. doi: 10.1080/15548627.2018.1530929. Epub 2018 Oct 11.


Spermidine is a natural polyamine that stimulates cytoprotective macroautophagy/autophagy. External supplementation of spermidine extends lifespan and health span across species, including in yeast, nematodes, flies and mice. In humans, spermidine levels decline with aging, and a possible connection between reduced endogenous spermidine concentrations and age-related deterioration has been suggested. Recent epidemiological data support this notion, showing that an increased uptake of this polyamine with spermidine-rich food diminishes overall mortality associated with cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Here, we discuss nutritional and other possible routes to counteract the age-mediated decline of spermidine levels.

Keywords: Autophagy; cancer; cardiovascular diseases; health span extension; longevity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / drug effects*
  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Autophagy / drug effects*
  • Autophagy / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Nematoda
  • Spermidine / pharmacology*
  • Spermidine / physiology*
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects
  • Vitamins / pharmacology
  • Vitamins / physiology
  • Yeasts


  • Vitamins
  • Spermidine

Grant support

GK is supported by the Ligue contre le Cancer (équipe labellisée); Agence National de la Recherche (ANR) – Projets blancs; ANR under the frame of E-Rare-2, the ERA-Net for Research on Rare Diseases; Association pour la recherche sur le cancer (ARC); Cancéropôle Ile-de-France; Chancelerie des universités de Paris (Legs Poix), Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale (FRM); a donation by Elior; the European Commission (ArtForce); European Research Area Network on Cardiovascular Diseases (ERA-CVD, MINOTAUR); the European Research Council (ERC); Fondation Carrefour; Institut National du Cancer (INCa); Inserm (HTE); Institut Universitaire de France; LeDucq Foundation; the LabEx Immuno-Oncology; the RHU Torino Lumière; the Seerave Foundation; the SIRIC Stratified Oncology Cell DNA Repair and Tumor Immune Elimination (SOCRATE); the SIRIC Cancer Research and Personalized Medicine (CARPEM); and the Paris Alliance of Cancer Research Institutes (PACRI). F.M. is grateful to the Austrian Science Fund FWF (Austria) for grants P23490-B20, P29262, P24381, P29203 P27893, I1000, “SFB Lipotox” (F3012), and DKplus Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases (W1226), as well as to Bundesministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Wirtschaft and the Karl-Franzens University for grants “Unkonventionelle Forschung”. We acknowledge support from NAWI Graz and the BioTechMed-Graz flagship project “EPIAge.”.