Contrary to popular belief, cheese may not actually be a dietary indiscretion. A compound called spermidine that is found in aged cheese and certain other foods might prevent the most common type of liver cancer and promote longevity, too.
Researchers at Texas A&M University who gave mice a spermidine supplement discovered that it stopped damaged liver cells from replicating. In addition, it extended the lifespan of the rodents by 25 percent. The compound is present in cheddar, parmesan and brie cheeses, as well as legumes, mushrooms, whole grains, soy products and corn.
Let’s face it: No matter how hard you try to eat healthy and live well, these days you just can’t avoid all of the harmful toxins in the air you breathe, the water you drink and the soil your food is grown in.
So chances are your liver is over-worked and struggling to do its job. If you don’t take action now, your health could continue seriously suffer.
“It’s a dramatic increase in lifespan of animal models, as much as 25 percent,” said Leyuan Liu, PhD, assistant professor at the Texas A&M Institute of Biosciences and Technology’s Center for Translational Cancer Research. “In human terms, that would mean that instead of living to about 81 years old, the average American could live to be over 100.”
According to the researchers, receiving this big of a longevity benefit would involve ingesting spermidine throughout life, starting in early childhood. However, the animals that were administered the compound later in life received a 10-percent increase in longevity, a benefit they believe could extend to humans as well.
Spermidine Is the Most Sustainable Option for Increasing Longevity
Liu explains that up until this point, studies have found three interventions that prolong life — namely, reduced caloric intake, restriction of methionine (an amino acid found in meat) and the medication rapamycin. The problem is that none of these options is particularly sustainable. “Eating less and not eating meat will not be welcomed by the general population, while rapamycin has shown to suppress the human immune system,” he said. “Therefore, spermidine may be a better approach.”
Long-term spermidine ingestion is feasible for humans if it could be made into a supplement, Liu added. Nonetheless, any amount of the compound is beneficial, even that which is consumed from eating food that contains it.
How Spermidine May Protect Against Liver Cancer
The mice exposed to spermidine showed decreased liver lesions and reduced severity of liver fibrosis, a disorder that often turns into cancer. What properties of the compound are responsible for the benefit? It works by enhancing MAP1S-activated autophagy, a process where damaged cells devour themselves. When autophagy is deficient, the defective cells aren’t destroyed. Consequently, they replicate and become cancerous. Deficient autophagy also leads to premature aging.
Aside from the anticancer and longevity benefits, some evidence shows spermidine might improve cardiovascular health. The study was published in the journal Cancer Research.
Takeaway: Cheese Isn’t Taboo
People don’t often include cheese in the category of healthful food. The dairy product has gotten a bad rap because it’s high in saturated fat. Yet, a 2008 report shows this fat is inversely related to coronary heart health in Europe. It found countries with the highest saturated fat intake have the lowest death rate from heart disease, while countries with the lowest intake have the highest death rate. The results indicate cheese made from whole milk may not be a dietary taboo.
Other research indicates cheese may play a role in the French paradox. This phenomenon refers to the puzzlingly low incidence of cardiovascular disease in France despite the consumption of a diet high in saturated fat.
A 2015 study found that people who eat cheese have elevated levels of butyrate, a compound manufactured by gut bacteria that is linked to lower cholesterol. This discovery built on a 2012 study that suggested blue cheese has anti-inflammatory properties that can help fight cardiovascular disease.
Let’s recap: Cheese appears to have anticancer, longevity and cardiovascular benefits. So enjoy this dairy product, especially aged varieties!
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.