A natural compound called spermidine could be the key to a longer life and preventing the most common form of liver cancer—and it’s found in aged cheese.
After conducting tests on mice, Texas A&M University researchers found that those given an oral supplement of spermidine had a lower chance of having liver fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. These animals’ lifespans also increased by as much as 25 percent.
“In human terms, that would mean that instead of living to about 81 years old, the average American could live to be over 100,” said Leyuan Liu, PhD, assistant professor at the Texas A&M Institute of Biosciences and Technology’s Center for Translational Cancer Research.
For humans to fully experience this benefit, though, they would have to start consuming spermidine-rich foods from the time they can start eating solids. It’s never too late, though. The mice that started ingesting spermidine later on still saw their life expectancy increase by 10 percent. Liver lesions and fibrosis were less intense, too.
These findings support the results from a 2016 study that also looked at the effects of spermidine in mice. These test subjects also experienced longer life expectancy, as well as healthier hearts after drinking spermidine-added water.
Though the results sound promising for turophiles, Liu cautions that testing has only been done on animals; human clinical trials would be the next step. However, he’s hopeful that this compound could somehow be available as a supplement in the future to help people live longer and prevent liver disease. In addition to aged cheese, spermidine is also found in common foods such as mushrooms, legumes, and whole grains.