Griffin James, an expert in Food Retail industry takes pride in disseminating information on food products sold in the US markets. On Griffin’s recommendation, the Whole Foods Market Inc., Ann Arbor presented to me the “Griffin James Quinoa Challenge Award” on Sunday, May 18, 2014. This award describes importance of the development of a food database that food consumers can easily use to make important decisions about the food products they purchase to promote their health and to prevent diseases like cancer.
Nitrogen containing amino compounds such as Putrescine, Spermidine, and Spermine are commonly described as Food Polyamines. There are three sources of Polyamines; 1. Synthesis within the human body, 2. Production by microorganisms residing in the human gut or intestinal tract, and 3. Contribution from the diet. There is extensive literature to describe the role of Polyamines in plants and animals. The Polyamines are ubiquitous polycationic compounds and are essential to male and female reproductive processes and to embryo/fetal development. Indeed their absence is characterized by infertility and arrest in embryogenesis. Mammals synthesize Polyamines de novo from amino acids or import these compounds from the diet. Polyamines are essential regulators of cell growth and gene expression and they are implicated in both mitosis and meiosis. In male reproduction, Polyamine expression correlates with stages of spermatogenesis and they function to promote sperm motility. In the female reproductive system, Polyamines are involved in ovarian follicle development and ovulation and Polyamine synthesis is required for steroidogenesis( production of steroid hormones) in the ovary. Polyamines play a role in implantation, in decidualization, in placenta formation and its function. Polyamine deprivation during gestation results in intrauterine growth retardation. Dietary arginine (amino acid) and dietary Polyamines can be stated as nutritional regulators of human fertility. Polyamines are universally distributed in all living cells. Biosynthesis of Polyamines from amino acids ornithine and methionine fluctuates according to the metabolic needs of the cell. Polyamines specifically interact with Nucleic Acids ( DNA and RNA ) and these compounds are found in intracellular organelle called ribosomes where they stimulate protein and RNA synthesis. There is an extensive literature indicating the physiological significance of these amino compounds.
However, it must be noted that current research indicates importance of reducing concentration of Polyamines in the body pool in slowing the growth of cancerous tumors. Since dietary Polyamines significantly contribute to the body pool of Polyamines, quantifying them in diet is important.
Griffin James Quinoa Challenge Award promotes importance of knowing the levels of Polyamines in different foods. It is of interest due to association of these bioactive nutrients to health and diseases like cancer. There is a lack of relevant information on their content in foods. For that reason, I would ask all of my readers to demand the US Department of Agriculture, Food Manufacturers and Food Retailers to disclose the Dietary Polyamine content of all food items sold in the US Markets.