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Spermidine is a polyamine compound that may increase health span due to its ability to induce autophagy, the process by which the body removes damaged and dysfunctional cells. In animal models, spermidine supplementation has been shown to prevent memory loss. Findings from a recent report detail the first experiment exploring the effects of spermidine supplementation on memory in older adults without dementia.

Episodic memory, which records specific events, situations, and experiences, declines with age, but this loss may be impeded by certain lifestyle interventions, such as caloric restriction. The effects of spermidine in the body mimic caloric restriction, making it a promising therapy for the reversal of memory loss. Previous research demonstrates the ability of spermidine supplementation to restore memory performance in fruit flies; however, the effects of spermidine supplementation on memory performance in humans are unknown.

The authors recruited 30 adults (aged 60 to 80 years) with subjective cognitive decline, a condition associated with objective cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. They assigned half of the participants to consume a capsule containing 750 milligrams of a spermidine-rich plant extract containing 1.2 milligrams of spermidine daily for three months, while the other half consumed a placebo supplement. Participants completed memory assessments and other cognitive testing before and after the supplement period.

Participants consuming the spermidine supplement had moderately enhanced memory performance after three months compared to those who took the placebo. In particular, permidine supplementation enhanced mnemonic discrimination, the ability to differentiate between new and previously encountered items. There was no difference in other cognitive functions between groups.

The authors concluded that spermidine supplementation may be an effective treatment for slowing cognitive decline in older adults with subjective cognitive impairment. They noted that this was a small pilot trial and that larger clinical trials are needed to expand on these results.

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