Medical Director Dr Devashana Gupta was interviewed by TV3’s AM show hosts Laura Tupou and Ryan Bridge about a recent study looking at how spermidine supplementation in mice reduced the ageing of cells in their ovaries.
Can spermidine extend the female reproductive lifespan?
Spermidine has been around for a long time, it’s not anything new. It’s a natural compound present in every living thing and can be found in certain foods. In this recent study they introduced spermidine into the diet of ageing mice and found it rejuvenated in some ways the ageing ovaries – it improved their follicle numbers which are what contains the eggs, and it possibly reversed menopause.
How much spermidine did these mice get and how would we get the same amount, through food or as a supplement?
It would be sufficient to get spermidine in our food, such as kale and spinach, leafy greens and fresh berries. They also found in this study that if there was too much spermidine it could have a toxic effect, so it’s all about balance. While we don’t yet know how that would correlate with humans, through doing a human study, it’s important to stress that it’s not all about one thing making or breaking our health or fertility, but rather it’s a combination of everything and being healthy from childhood through to end of life.
It’s also important when we talk about the reversal of ageing or of these oxidation processes, to understand that it’s better to prevent these oxidation processes by leading a healthy lifestyle. That means eating a healthy diet, minimising toxins and exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).
Will there be a human trial?
There might be, it’s hard to say. This research focus falls under the ovarian rejuvenation area of research which arises from the increasing infertility in women in later age. There is more data around Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) which has been shown to rejuvenate ovaries in some studies at the moment.
As I’ve said, it’s more about having a combination of everything rather than just having one antioxidant or supplement will make a big change.
Photography credit: AM show, Mediaworks.
If a woman is able to have a child later in life, is it guaranteed that there are no complications for the child?
It’s a good question. What they did find in this study in mice was that it also reduced the chromosomal error rate because of, potentially, better separation of chromosomes because of this implementation of this antioxidant, or chemical.
As a woman ages, her eggs age as well and currently we don’t have any specific chemical or molecule that will reverse that. So the best option is to genetically test the embryos before you replace the embryos.
Here at Repromed we have Pre-implantation Genetic Screening also known as PGT-A, which involves screening embryos for chromosomal defects during a standard IVF cycle. Embryos with the correct number of chromosomes can then be selected for transfer which improve the chances of pregnancy per embryo transfer and the development of the baby.
At Repromed we are passionate about offering highly personalised fertility care. We offer a free 15 minute phone consultation with a fertility doctor for new clients, so if you are interested in starting fertility but are not sure where to start, we welcome you to get in touch with us to book a phone consultation today.
Or, if you’re ready to get started with treatment, you can make a first consultation with one of our fertility doctors where we can go in more depth with a treatment plan and provide you with next steps and if applicable, we can review eligibility for public funding. You can get more information about this appointment and book, here.