Though there’s an endless array of products and home remedies that claim to halt the effects of aging, the answer might have been under our noses this whole time. A new study published in the journal Nature Medicine suggests that a compound found in stinky, aged cheese could be the key to longevity and cardiovascular health.

The compound—common in bleu cheese, and other pungent, aged varieties of fromage—is called "spermidine," and, you guessed it, also occurs naturally in semen.

The study, performed on mice, tested the cardiovascular health of animals that had been consuming spermidine-infused water, and those that hadn't. The tests proved successful, with the mice that had consumed spermidine living longer, healthier lives than those living off a more traditional foods. Even when the spermidine is paired with an unhealthy, salt-heavy diet, the mice given the compound were still able to live longer than the control subjects.

According to the study, spermidine enables a process called autophagy, causing heart cells to disable dysfunctional and unnecessary parts of themselves.

“Aging is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death,” the study reads. “Here we show that oral supplementation of the natural polyamine spermidine extends the lifespan of mice and exerts cardioprotective effects.”

As with most preliminary trials, the scientists' findings are in early stages, and they're not quite sure how the compound will affect humans. But when researchers looked at the blood make-up of people who had lived for more than 100 years, they found higher levels of spermidine than in younger men and women, suggesting the compound may help with longevity in humans. In fact, Frank Madeo, a doctor with the Medical University of Graz in Austria, told Medical Daily a trial using human subjects is in the planning stages.

With enough old, stinky cheese (or, you know, sperm...) we might just achieve immortality. The choice is up to you.

[via Gothamist, Medical Daily]