Information contained in Japanese scrolls leads to the development of new spermidine supplement that promotes autophagy.
British start-up Oxford Healthspan recently launched its new anti-aging supplement Primeadine. Its active ingredient, spermidine, is known for its ability to trigger autophagy, mitophagy and lipophagy, driving mitochondrial health, intracellular lipid droplet clearance, and cell renewal and recycling.
Research shows that spermidine inhibits five of the nine hallmarks of aging and has almost no known side effects, unlike rapamycin, which inhibits six, but has immunosuppressant qualities that could prove problematic in an anti-aging therapy. As well as stabilising mitochondrial DNA, spermidine is a regulator of autophagy, the body’s cellular renewal and recycling process that slows as we age. In addition to being a neuroprotector, spermidine was found to trigger some of the same responses as caloric restriction or fasting, which is also associated with increased lifespan. Spermidine also enhances brain health and improves physical signs of youth, such as thicker hair growth, stronger nails and more youthful skin.
Longevity.Technology readers can try a month’s supply of Primeadine discounted from the introductory price of $60.
For a 20% discount please use code LONGEVITY20 when you visit www.primeadine.com
Longevity.Technology: Despite having a name that inspires nervous giggles, spermidine is an important polyamine, contributing to cell renewal and helping maintain genetic stability. While its levels in our bodies decrease as we age, studies have shown that increasing spermidine levels can have a wide range of health benefits. We caught up with Oxford Healthspan founder and CEO Leslie Kenny to find out how Primeadine came into being.
Kenny, a Southern Californian entrepreneur and Berkeley and Harvard grad, has been focused on health improvement since working to optimise her own wellbeing after being diagnosed with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis in her 30s.
“My motivation for doing this is that I’m a patient too, and I really wanted to bring the safe therapies from the scientific lab bench to consumers faster,” she says. “Because I think sometimes as consumers, as patients, we feel a bit powerless over our health and we’re looking for things we can actively do to take control of the aging process.”
The events that led to the creation of Primeadine began with separate conversations with two different Oxford academics: Denis Noble, Professor Emeritus of Computational Physiology, and Katja Simon, Professor of Immunology.
Prof Noble had been working on a project in Japan, which Kenny describes as “ancient Eastern medical wisdom under a modern Western microscope.”
“He had been given access to a series of 30 medical scrolls through contact with his former pupil, the current Empress of Japan,” she explains. “The scrolls are over 1,000 years old, almost no one else in the West had seen them, in fact nobody outside of the Imperial Household had access to the Imperial Palace scrolls.”
The scrolls were written by the court physician to the Japanese Emperor in the year 984, and three of them were found to be about longevity, including handwritten notes from the physician in the margins. Kenny was interested to learn that one of the longevity scrolls was focused on sexual intimacy and appeared to echo Taoist practices, which teaches that men should not ejaculate on a regular basis.
“The scrolls seem to be saying that a man could age himself more quickly through regular ejaculation,” explains Kenny. “They clearly thought of ejaculate as a very precious fluid and, when you look at the compounds it contains, one of the key things you find is a significant amount of this awkwardly-named compound called spermidine.”
In a separate conversation, Kenny spoke with Professor Simon, who was investigating spermidine’s role in the mouse immune system, particularly the aging mouse immune system.
“As we get older, as with many other important hormones, the production of spermidine in our tissues and gut goes down. So Primeadine is really for older people – those over the age of 55, who are not gluten intolerant.”
“From the intriguing instructions in the longevity scrolls, to the work done at Oxford and the established longevity science, I was even more certain that we should put a spermidine supplement on the market,” she says. “I thought, ‘This is a safe, food-derived compound, and we should have it as part of our smart aging protocol.’”
So Kenny set about the process of creating Primeadine, beginning with finding a source of spermidine.
“One of the best sources of spermidine is highly concentrated Japanese wheat germ,” says Kenny. “I found a supplier of that in Japan – not in Tokyo, but out in the countryside – and that is how we managed to source the primary active ingredient in Primeadine.”
Fast forward to October 2020, and Primeadine is now available worldwide via the company’s web site, with one month’s supply delivering 1 mg of spermidine per day for the introductory price of $60. Beyond its potential Longevity benefits, Kenny points out that there are also other reasons to consider supplementing with spermidine.
“On the beauty side, users will see thicker hair, they will see longer eyelashes, they will see their nails grow faster, fewer deep wrinkles,” she says. “We have done a study on Primeadine in mice looking at nail growth and we can show that it enhances nail growth and thickness – the keratin gets thicker in the nail bed.”
The supplement is generally intended for older consumers, as most young people generate enough spermidine endogenously.
“Two thirds of our spermidine production is endogenous – about a third comes from the gut biome, and another third in our tissues,” says Kenny. “As we get older, as with many other important hormones, the production of spermidine in our tissues and gut goes down. So Primeadine is really for older people – those over the age of 55, who are not gluten intolerant.”
“Yes, you can get it from food, but how do you know how much you’re getting?” she adds. “Primeadine offers a convenient way of getting a standardised dose of spermidine in your diet every day.”
Looking to the future, Oxford Healthspan will continue to work with Prof Noble to explore more of the formulae and wisdom contained in the Japanese scrolls.
“Work has already been conducted into our next product, a healthy aging supplement that will be coming out sometime in the next six months,” says Kenny. “And our goal is to test other formulae contained in the hidden margins of these scrolls, find other products that hit the hallmarks of aging, and bring them to market.”