Mediterranean diet and polyamine intake: possible contribution of increased polyamine intake to inhibition of age-associated disease
Phan Nguyen Thanh Binh1, Kuniyasu Soda2, Masanobu Kawakami3
1Department of Food and Nutrition, Japan Women’s University, Tokyo, Japan; 2Cardiovascular Research Institute, 3Department of Internal Medicine, Saitama Medical Center, Jichi Medical University, Saitama, Japan
Abstract: The Mediterranean diet is a dietary pattern associated with increased longevity, and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Based on the findings that natural polyamines are strong anti-inflammatory substances, we have found that continuous and increased polyamine intake prolongs murine lifespan. Because polyamines are contained in most foods in widely varying concentrations, we sought epidemiologic evidence that supports an association between the Mediterranean diet and increased polyamine intake. The amounts of food supply in 49 European and other Western countries in 2005 were collected from the United Nations database, and the amount of food polyamine was estimated using polyamine concentrations in foods from published sources. The Mediterranean diet pattern was characteristically observed in Mediterranean countries. For all 49 countries and for foods such as olive oil (Spearman r = 0.602), fruit (r = 0.804), fruit and vegetables (r = 0.611), seafood (r = 0.461), and cheese (r = 0.411), the ratios of the amounts of these foods to total calories consumed were all positively associated (P < 0.05) with the amount of polyamine per calorie. Legumes per calorie (r = 0.379), wine per calorie (r = 0.285), and the amount of seafood and poultry meat relative to red meat (r = 0.313) had a trend of positive association with the amount of polyamine per calorie (P < 0.05), while several foods in the non-Mediterranean diet group had a trend of no or negative association. Food polyamines are absorbed quickly from the intestinal lumen, and long-term increased polyamine intake increases blood polyamine concentration. The present findings, together with previous studies on polyamines, indicate a possible role for the food polyamines that are abundant in the Mediterranean diet in prolonging human life.
Keywords: Mediterranean diet, polyamine, longevity, age-associated diseases
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