With one in six people affected by fertility across the world and fertility having dropped by 50% in the last 50 years, scientists are constantly on the hunt for solutions to help. Research shows that women are born with around one to two million eggs, which gradually decreases over their lifetime as they age. Advanced age is a primary risk factor for female infertility, due to the reduced ovarian reserves and the quality of eggs, but there can be plenty of other factors too, such as stress and environmental factors. An exciting recent study taking place on mice showed that a compound called spermidine could actually solve some of these potential pitfalls.
The research found that older mice had lower levels of spermidine naturally in their ovaries than younger mice. Yet it found that supplementing with spermidine could help rectify this, since it provided a range of fertility benefits: such as improving declining egg quality in older mice and thus overall fertility. Whilst this study was on animals, it does still suggest that more research should be undertaken with humans to see if spermidine could be a potential strategy in tackling fertility issues.
So, what is spermidine? Spermidine is a polyamine that naturally occurs in things like breastmilk and semen, as well as foods including mushrooms, cereals and, a variety of aged cheeses such as cheddar and parmesan.
Leslie Kenny, longevity expert and founder of Oxford Healthspan https://oxfordhealthspan.com/ which creates premium food-derived spermidine supplements, shares more about what this study really means and how we can benefit from it.
“This is a very exciting study by the prestigious journal Nature Aging which shows the natural polyamine spermidine can actually enhance fertility in middle-aged mice. Female mice who had spermidine had better oocyte (a precursor to eggs), follicular reserve (a metric that is often used to determine if a woman has entered menopause), development of embryos, and overall fertility.
This is very exciting in the world of fertility-many women like me delay having children until later. I myself was 43 when I had my first biological child. Finding something in our diet that naturally occurs in foods like spermidine which we find in things like mushrooms, legumes, cheese, and fermented foods, that can help our fertility is great. However, it’s important we don’t jump to synthetic supplements to solve the problem. The study also suggested that too much synthetic spermidine actually decreased all of these positive fertility effects I’ve mentioned. Opting for food sources of spermidine is a great way to do this and, if you are going to opt for spermidine supplements, it’s really important that you use food-derived supplements such as our own Oxford Healthspan’s Primeadine,” she adds.
This isn’t the first time research about spermidine has hit the headlines. It’s thought to help activate autophagy, our body’s natural cell recycling system that slows down as we age, so intake of spermidine has also been linked to a longer lifespan, improved cognition and supporting the immune system.