Polyamines in Food: implications for growth and health

S BARDOCZ, George Grant, David Stanley Brown, A RALPH, A PUSZTAI

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

209 Citations (Scopus)


Different types of food (fruits, vegetables, meat, and milk products) were analyzed by high pressure liquid chromatography to determine their polyamine (putrescine, spermidine, and spermine) contents. All foods contained some polyamines, although the concentrations in different individual food components were variable, As was established earlier using C-14-labeled putrescine, spermidine, and spermine, polyamines are readily taken up by the gut and enter the systemic circulation. Food appears to constitute a major source of polyamines for humans and animals. The distribution of polyamines in the body, as determined by measuring the accumulation of C-14-spermidine in different tissues of the rat, was correlated with the metabolic activity and growth of particular organs. Thus, phytohemagglutinin induced both extensive hyperplastic growth and the preferential accumulation of labeled spermidine in the gut. Correspondingly, when skeletal muscle growth was promoted by the beta-antagonist, clenbuterol, C-14-spermidine was sequestered by the hind leg gastrocnemius muscle. It is concluded that food polyamines are not only necessary for normal body metabolism, but are also used and directed preferentially to tissues and organs that have been stimulated to grow by metabolic signals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-71
Number of pages6
JournalThe Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1993


  • polyamines
  • putrescine
  • spermidine
  • spermine
  • diet
  • food
  • phaseolus-vulgaris lectin
  • rat small-intestine
  • ornithine decarboxylase
  • metabolism
  • protein
  • oxidase


Dive into the research topics of 'Polyamines in Food: implications for growth and health'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this