You are as old as you feel. The self-experiment by carpe diem editor-in-chief Nicole Kolisch

You are as old as you feel. The self-experiment by carpe diem editor-in-chief Nicole Kolisch

Soul, TLL LongevityLabs

You are as old as you feel.

Honestly? Oh dear.

To the ears of carpe diem editor-in-chief Nicole Kolisch, this sentence sounds like a dangerous threat. Some days she feels 102, and a self-experiment with high-dose spermidine is supposed to fix that - published in the Carpe Diem special magazine in April 2023.

I just can't do compliance. Sorry. I know this is embarrassing for a health journalist. I should know better. Compliance, by definition, is "a patient's willingness to actively participate in therapeutic measures" - in short, something I completely lack. When some god in white says to me: "Mrs. Kolisch, you must do this or that," I do - well, not necessarily the opposite, but not the recommended thing either.

As is so often the case, it starts small: take a daily dose of Spermidine. For thirty days. Can I go through with it?

If you're thinking, "Please, this is ridiculous!", you're right. It really is. It's just because I have a problem with authority. Always did. "In that respect, I don't need a spermidine makeover," I argue, "I'm still going through puberty anyway."

The only stupid thing is that my body doesn't know that. It's not fourteen, but fifty. It nips and tucks every now and then to remind me. And that's the next problem with remembering, by the way. What was I about to write?

Then there's the matter of the energy household: laundry, shopping, dishes ... So "household" I would actually have enough. Just not the energy for it. Sometimes I'm so tired that I fall asleep again in the morning while getting dressed. No joke. Between my left and right pantyhose leg is a black energy hole ... I regularly fall asleep.

"Good", I think, "old body cells, old memory cells, zero charge in the cell battery. Spermidine, please take care of it! And if I have to follow a recommendation for thirty days - well, I'll do it!" (Hopefully I won't forget in the middle of it).



Herbert told me to take it for breakfast. He works with spermidine, so he should know. What he doesn't know is that I don't eat breakfast. But I don't want it to fail because of that. So I steal the apple slices from my daughter's snack box (she always leaves them over anyway). Voilà, breakfast! In addition, there's a bottle of Spermidin. Tastes a bit like orange.


Day 2

Today I attribute everything that happened yesterday to the potency of Spermidine. For example, I was at a dinner party and didn't doze off (as usual) at the host's sofa before midnight. We were still chatting animatedly until two o'clock in the morning! Is that the effect already - or was it just the good topics of conversation? My digestion is also better. Is that spermidine - or was it the coleslaw? Can I really feel anything after two days? I'd better call Herbert.

"Well," he says, "in terms of digestion, you can definitely notice something now - because the receptors for spermidine are located in the intestines. And in young people, whose bodies still produce a lot of spermidine themselves, that's where it happens. So if you've never supplemented spermidine before and you're starting now, it's not surprising in itself if it hits here first."

"Okay," I say, "and what about all the other effects I'm already feeling?" - "Unlikely, it doesn't happen that fast. The body has to fill up the spermidine depots in the cells first. That can take a couple of weeks."


Day 4

Colleague K. sees it differently. She takes Spermidine and could already sleep better after two days. "Bullshit," I say and tell her about the cell depots. "I know! But I'm telling you, I still sleep like a baby," K insists. I'm close to explaining the placebo effect to her, but then let it go. I have more pressing things to do (we remember: digestion ...).



You can rely on the office grapevine. The whole house seems to know that I'm taking spermidine. Someone is constantly poking their head in the office door and asking, "Feel anything yet?" (Usually followed by, "If it works for you, I'll take it too!") - "No," I say, "I'm still fifty."

I make a mental note, though: there is a strong need to pull the tooth out of time. In our society, the much-quoted aging with dignity is at most Plan B. Plan A would be not to age at all. I'm only now really noticing this.



A dear friend celebrates her birthday. Also her fiftieth. "It's not so bad," I comfort her, "I've been through it. Doesn't hurt." - "Not at all", she says, "fifty is my age of longing. I was really looking forward to that."

Note: Plan B is Plan A for her. But she has always been a revolutionary - and her party is correspondingly raucous: glitter fairies and unicorns cavort on the dance floor until the wee hours of the morning. Hardly anyone under fifty (at least not according to the birth certificate) - but on this night all twenty-five.



No hangover. - Thank you, spermidine! I can't prove it (how could I ...), but I can imagine that the newly strengthened garbage disposal in the cells has already contributed a little here ...

Autophagy expert Frank Madeo said in an interview that spermidine and fasting can reinforce each other. Lets go the whole hog, I think to myself, starting today we will do intermittent fasting. (So that I suffer no lack, as a precaution I fill the chocolate depots in my cells).



Okay, once I was invited to my mom's house. It would have been stupid not to eat. And once there was a cinnamon bun. But otherwise: Intermittent fasting (starting at 4 p.m.) works great. It's much easier than I thought. Of course I'm hungry! But it's a friendly hunger. One that I can come to terms with and that doesn't turn me into a hangry monster. And I actually sleep better.

Whether that's because of the spermidine, the fasting, the combination? I honestly don't care. I feel fine.



Today I am not feeling well. Because I have the song "Every cell in my body is happy" mercilessly as an earworm. This is probably a side effect that is not noted on the package insert. There's nothing, really nothing, to stop it. But I do the box breathing. That at least provides relief.



The orange shot in the morning has become a beloved breakfast ritual. And that's not the only new thing about my miracle morning: I get up at 5:45 a.m. every day and go - running! "That's not your juice. That's your kid, who's at summer camp this week," says friend M., "of course you have more energy left than usual, so kid-bag-less, snack-less and homework-less!" - "Nope," I say, "the kid's had vacations before, and I still haven't mutated into a morning marathoni every time. Otherwise, I just slept."

M. shrugs. She's a sceptic. "And anyway," she opines, "five kilometers is not a marathon!" Haters gonna hate.



M. is right and wrong at the same time. Of course, everyday life is not a clean experimental setup, not a lab test where intervening variables are excluded from the outset. Ha! On the contrary, my life is an ongoing intervening variable.

How am I supposed to settle the chicken-and-egg question? Do I run because I have more energy (thanks to spermidine)? Or do I have more energy because I run? Do I sleep better because I run? Or do I run more easily because I am well-rested? And how does my (apart-from-cinnamon-buns) interval fasting play into this?

I'll have to think about that for another round. Preferably in sneakers.



My thirty-day pack of Spermidine and my little experiment are coming to an end. Last night I didn't sleep at all (my dog is sick, even the highest quality supplements won't comfort me). And such an after-work cheesecake ... That could have happened to anyone!

Apart from the small outliers, the balance remains quite positive. It was a good month - because it showed me: My cells are not indifferent! If I help them a little bit in cleaning out, they help me a little bit in living better. Intermittent fasting, turning off the cell phone (ahem), halfway sensible bedtimes, spermidine or at least breathing out more often - all this makes life easier for the cells.

And if the cells are doing well, Nicole is doing well. It's not rocket science.

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