Polyamines & Keratin

POLYAMINES –  People with psoriasis usually have high levels of polyamine, an undesirable, toxic type of amino acid that is formed during poor protein digestion, another cause of food sensitivities.  Under normal circumstances (without the psoriasis condition, polyamines are beneficial for regenerating cells and promoting youth), but in psoriasis cases – unblocked – these polyamines regenerate skin cells much faster than normal.   Elevated levels of polyamine proteins (putrescine, spermidine and spermine) are found in psoriatic lesions.

The polyamines putrescine, spermidine and spermine commonly occur in the cells of living organisms where they fulfil an array of  physiological roles. Their participation in human cell growth and proliferation has been of great interest for their role in tumour  growth. However, polyamines could be useful for post-operation patients, during wound healing and for growth and development of  the neonate digestive system. Both endogenous and dietary polyamines participate in such processes. Data on polyamine contents in  foods are limited and diffused in literature and dieticians have thus limited plausible information. This review briefly summarizes  current knowledge on the biological implications of dietary polyamines for human health and collects the data on their formation  and contents in manifold foods.

While putrescine content increases by bacterial activity during inappropriate storage and processing  of foods of animal origin, spermidine and spermine originate mainly from raw materials. Higher contents of spermidine as compared  to spermine are typical for foods of plant origin, while an opposite relation is characteristic for foods of animal origin. The highest  contents of all polyamines were determined in cheeses, mainly in ripened types. High putrescine levels were reported in citrus fruits  and juices, sauerkraut, ketchup, fermented soybean products and fish sauce. Legumes, cauliflower and broccoli are foods with high  spermidine content, while meat, meat products and legumes are high in spermine. Commonly, polyamine contents range widely  within the individual food items. Extensive research is needed to extend the current limited database. (Source: 2004 Elsevier Ltd.)

Polyamines are also found in foods which through processing have had the structural integrity of their tissues ‘shocked’ or damaged through food preparation such as quick freezing or canning.

  • Putrescine: Most ‘aged’ or ‘sharp’ cheeses are very high in putrescine. Vegetables such as potatoes, canned/frozen vegetables (other than green vegetables) or certain fruit products, such as oranges and tangerines, can have very high concentrations of putrescine. Fermented soy sauce (containing wheat) is also a rich source of polyamines, particularly putrescine. Shrimp, especially the packaged and frozen types have also been shown to have high levels of putrescine. High amounts are also found in animal foods, citrus fruits, and juices.
  • Spermidine: Mature cheeses, fermented soybeans, fermented tea, Japanese Sake, domestic mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, legumes, soybean, pear (black), potatoes and fresh bread are high sources of spermidine.
  • Spermine: Cereals (other than bread), canned or frozen vegetables, legumes (seeds and beans), meat products, red meat and poultry (roasted chicken breast) are high sources of spermine.

The following is a list of polyamine-rich foods to avoid:

  1. Alcohol
  2. Broccoli
  3. Cauliflower
  4. Canned Foods
  5. Cheese (Sharp, Aged / Fermented)
  6. Cereals (Wheat, Corn)
  7. Citrus Fruits (Oranges, Tangerines, Mandarin, Grape Fruit) and Juices
  8. Fermented Foods
  9. Flash Frozen Foods
  10. Ketchup
  11. Legumes (Seeds and Beans)
  12. Lentils
  13. Lunch Meats (e.g. Ham, Turkey, Bologna, and Salami)
  14. Meat (Beef, Roasted Chicken Breast)
  15. Meat Fat
  16. Meat Liver (Chicken)
  17. Meat Ground (Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Pork)
  18. Mushrooms
  19. Mustard
  20. Parsley
  21. Peas
  22. Pear
  23. Potatoes
  24. Processed Foods
  25. Quinoa
  26. Rice Bran
  27. Sauerkraut
  28. Shell Fish
  29. Soybeans Fermented (Tofu, Tempeh)
  30. Spinach
  31. Tomatoes



Top 10 foods with the highest polyamine content
(Source: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center)

Food item Serving size Polyamine (nmol) per serving size
Corn (fresh/canned) ½ cup 560,000/902,880a
Grapefruit juice 1 cup 276,640
Oranges 1 medium 174,230
Orange juice 1 cup 154,629
Grits 1 cup 99,728
Crab (canned) ½ cup 93,555
Grapefruit ½ medium 90,176
Cream of potato soup 1 cup 70,930
Tortilla chips 1 small bag 56,717
Tomato and V8b juice 1 cup 56,181
Corn (fresh/canned) ½ cup 137,682/221,111a
Green pea soup 1 cup 65,552
Pear 1 medium 60,756
Cheese enchilada 1 medium 48,770
Tempeh 3 oz 42,618
Soy burgers 1 39,616
Peas (fresh/canned) ½ cup 35,9 20/38,165a
Lentil soup 1 cup 37,117
Pasta with meat sauce 1 cup 36,059
Tofu hotdog 1 27,121
Green pea soup 1 cup 36,988
Chicken liver 4 oz 33,226
Chili with meat and beans 1 cup 26,441
Chicken breast (grilled/roasted) 1 large 21,560/24,420a
Black bean soup 1 cup 23,786
Peas, fresh 1 medium 23,572
Peas (fresh/canned) ½ cup 20,840/22,143a
Bean with bacon soup 1 cup 22,062
Ground turkey 3 oz 21,535
Tempeh 3 oz 20,565
aThese two figures provide values for the food in the two different forms described.
bCampbell Soup Co, Camden, NJ.


Top 10 major dietary contributors of polyamines
(Source: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center)

Food item Polyamine contribution (nmol/day)
Orange juice and grapefruit juice 44,441
Oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines (not including juice) 17,613
Fresh tomatoes 10,042
Bananas 7,344
Beer (all types) 6,374
Corn and hominy 5,832
Cheese (eg, American, cheddar) 5,592
Potato chips, tortilla chips, corn chips, puffs, and pretzels 4,595
Burritos, tacos, tostadas, and quesadillas 4,411
Green pepper and green chilies 4,343
Green peas 3,283
Cheese, such as American and cheddar 3,124
Lasagna and pasta with meat sauce 2,900
Potatoes (boiled, baked, and mashed) 2,388
Burritos, tacos, tostadas, and quesadillas 1,890
Dark breads (including dark bagels and rolls) 1,736
Green salad (lettuce or spinach) 1,535
Low- or reduced-fat cheese 1,456
Corn and hominy 2,765
Broccoli 1,347
Ground meat 2,186
Lunch meats (eg, ham, turkey, bologna, and salami) 1,977
Green peas 1,905
Lasagna and pasta with meat sauce 1,443
Peanut butter, peanuts, and other nuts and seeds 1,237
Rice, noodles, and other grains 1,136
Chili with meat and beans 1,027
Bean soups such as pea, lentil, and black bean 747
Cheese (eg, American, cheddar) 670
Stew, pot pie, and casseroles with meat or chicken 656


KERATIN – responsible for cell regeneration of skin (1000 times faster than normal) and the accelerated formation of psoriasis plaques.   For more, click here.


2 thoughts on “Polyamines & Keratin

  1. Umm… what’s left? That list seems to be a pretty exhaustive list of every food in my diet. And, I thought I was eating healthy! Broccoli, cauliflower? Green pea soup? Frozen mango? Who the hell would have thought that these are not healthy???

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