Spermidine is a polyamine found in the sperm and all living cells. It is a beneficial dietary supplement that promotes hair growth, healthy aging and longevity, and many more health benefits. As we age, the spermidine levels decrease, and we must replenish them through diet or supplementation. In food, it is mostly found in wheat germ, soy, mature cheeses, mushrooms, legumes, and several foods of animal origin. Spermidine keeps our cells fresh and healthy by stimulating the process of self-cleaning.
What is spermidine?
Spermidine is a natural product, chemically classified as a polyamine. The older we get, the less spermidine is in our cells. At the same time, the vitality of our cells decreases, resulting in an increased risk of age-related diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and dementia. Researchers believe spermidine has the potential to stop the natural process of cellular aging and to fight diseases that are associated with the aging of the body.
The CAS number of spermidine is 124-20-9 (free base)and 334-50-9 (trihydrochloride). It has a molecular formula of C7H19N3 with a molecular weight of 145.250 g·mol−1. Spermidine appears as white to off-white powder, which is soluble in water, very hygroscopic, and air-sensitive. It can be synthesized or absorbed by the body, through a process called autophagy, the process of cleaning and recycling within the cell. In this way, it could lower blood pressure, improve heart function and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Spermidine hair growth
It is proven that spermidine promotes hair growth. According to the researchers, spermidine is directly related to the keratin expression, growth, cycling, and epithelial progenitor functions of human hair follicles. After 6 days in organ culture, spermidine shows increased hair shaft production. In vivo studies demonstrate that spermidine stimulates hair elongation along with prolonging anagen. Spermidine increases the percentage of hair follicles in anagen after 6 days in culture. This process directly promotes hair growth. Another fact is that spermidine slightly stimulates the human hair matrix.
Both in vivo and mice studies show that spermidine is a potent hair growth stimulator. The research was done in 100 healthy men and women as double-blinded, single, parallel-group, randomized, and placebo-controlled groups. Each patient was treated with a tablet containing a spermidine-based supplement once a day after a meal. This treatment was given for 90 days. The results show that the number of anagen hair bulbs increased between the beginning of the study and after three months, by more than 50%. Despite the placebo group, a significant difference was observed. The number of hair bulbs decreased by 20% in the placebo group.
All these studies suggest that giving spermidine-based nutritional supplements for 90 days once daily can promote anagen prolongation by increasing proliferation.
What’s the mechanism of action?
Spermidine promotes its effect through a process called autophagy. Autophagy can indeed serve as an excellent method for losing excess weight, but its important advantage is primarily cleaning the body, more precisely cleaning damaged cells, which allows them to renew and create healthier cells throughout the body. Cell aging occurs when the process of recycling damaged cells goes wrong. Taking spermidine supplementation improves various aging-related processes and reduces the number of free radicals.
What Makes Hair Grow
First of all, the hair grows from the hair root to the follicle under your scalp. Your hair roots get nourished by the blood from the blood vessels to your scalp. This creates new cells and promotes hair growth. The hair growth cycle has three phases.
The first phase is the anagen growth phase, which contains about 90% of the hair, and usually lasts from 2 to 6 years. It is interesting that the length of all body hair directly depends on the duration of this phase.
The anagen phase is followed by a transitional period of growth arrest, referred to as the catagen phase, which lasts 2 to 3 weeks and covers less than 1% of the hair. During this phase, the follicles shorten to 1/6 of their length, separating from the papilla and thus interrupting the flow of nutrients.
The last is the telogen phase, in which there are 10 to 15% of hair whose follicles are “dormant” for a period of 1 to 4 months. During that time, an average of 25-100 hairs falls out every day, which is considered normal.
Natural foods that may help grow hair
Many dietary factors are important for hair growth. Some of them are:
Biotin goes by the name Vitamin H. It is a cofactor that helps various enzymes in the body, including growing long, shiny, and healthy hair. In the setting of biotin deficiency, patients will present with hair loss, although this is a rare condition. You can get biotin from your diet, from eggs, avocados, legumes, nuts and seeds, broccoli, and many more.
Folate and iron
Folate and iron are essential for the production of red blood cells. Red blood cells are the cells in your body that carry oxygen, including to your scalp. They are responsible for nourishing the hair follicle and for hair growth. The best food sources are green leafy vegetables, brown rice, nuts and seeds, red meat, fish, and so on.
Dietary proteins contain amino acids that influence hair diameter, growth rate, and thickness. The most essential protein for healthy hair growth is keratin. Food sources of proteins include meat, fish, eggs, yogurt, milk, soybeans, nuts, legumes, kale, onions, leeks, and more.
It is an antioxidant, so it is a key in reducing oxidative stress because oxidative stress in the hair follicle and throughout the scalp is associated with premature thinning of the hair and hair loss. It is also important for the synthesis of your hair shaft. Vitamin C rich-foods are lemons, oranges, strawberries, potatoes, broccoli, and many more.
What other supplements may help grow your hair?
Other supplements that help hair growth are as follows:
Putrescine and spermine
They are both polyamines. Spermine is synthesized from spermidine, and putrescine is necessary for its synthesis. The regulation of these polyamines is important for hair follicles and proper hair function. Studies claim that polyamines are important for repairing and refining hair cuticles, which promote hair growth. Spermine and putrescine support hair growth by activating hair follicle keratinocytes, which elongates the hair growth phase and strengthens the hair shaft. Supplementation with putrescine and spermine plays a significant role in cell proliferation and leads to increased proliferation in hair follicles.
NMN stands for nicotinamide mononucleotide. NMN is working as a part of a cocktail of growth factors that help restore hair growth. This study was conducted in patients with androgenetic alopecia. They applied NMN with a micro-needling technique on the scalp. The results after three months show improvement in hair density and diameter. Therefore, NMN, together with other growth factors, shows promising benefits for treating hair loss in patients with androgenetic alopecia.