From time to time, science is turned on its head by irrevocable, ground-breaking discoveries. In 2006, the Nobel Prize winners, Kazutoshi Takahashi and Shinya Yamanak, did just that, when they discovered that skin cells could be reprogrammed and become ‘induced’ pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). This opened the door for a whole new era of research into how pluripotent cells can be used to boost health. Somatic (pluripotent) stem cells are undifferentiated cells found throughout the body that divide to replenish dying cells and regenerate damaged tissues.
A stem cell must self-renew and be unspecialized, as well as be capable of dividing many times in the undifferentiated state. Stem cells are located throughout the body; however, they multiply more readily in the bone marrow (mesenchymal stem cells), brain (neural stem cells) and gut (intestinal mucosal epithelium). In other locations, stem cells require specific conditions to multiply.
Universal Pluripotent Implantation
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) can be genetically engineered and implanted in a host. When compared to embryonic stem cell transplants, the chance of the body rejecting iPSCs is significantly lowered as they have the same genetic makeup, so do not elicit the immune response in the recipient. To ensure that the stem cells are accepted by the host, there are several lifestyle factors to take into consideration.
Research shows that stem cells thrive in certain environments and replicative senescence occurs when the environment is not favourable. Stem cells grow and thrive due to several intrinsic and extrinsic factors:1. Intermittent Fasting and Caloric Restriction Increases Stem Cell Proliferation
Studies have shown that the number of circulating stem cells in the blood increases with caloric restriction. Additionally, the lifespan of the organs is lengthened. Intermittent fasting is a good way to induce stem cell production and increase the overall functioning of cells.2. Reduce Triglycerides (TGs)
Triglycerides (TGs) are storage systems for unwanted carbohydrates. Consuming more carbohydrates than we burn results in high TGs. People with high TGs are more likely to gain weight, resulting in metabolic syndrome. Additionally, stem cells don’t grow as well in bodies that have high TGs.
Taking more high-quality omega-3 fatty acids can balance out TGs and help stem cell growth. Omega-3 fatty acids will also support healthy inflammatory pathways, a marker for stem cell activity.3. Exercise Boosts Stem Cell Activity
Stem cell proliferation is enhanced with exercise. In particular, aerobic exercise has been proven to help stem cells turn into bone instead of fat. Scientists at the University of Illinois have found that stem cells are activated in the muscles during exercise. Mesenchymal stem cells proliferate during exercise, forming new bone and muscle structures.4. Reduce Sugar Consumption
Chronic inflammation and metabolic syndrome can occur due to too much sugar in our systems. Therefore, it isn't surprising that studies have shown that reducing glucose consumption increases stem cell longevity. Processed sugars are easy to spot, however, carbohydrates also turn to glucose in our system and fuel disease. Reducing sugar improves stem cell activity. Cutting out sugar and lowering carbohydrates is highly advised for those who are undergoing stem cell transplantation.5. Support Healthy Inflammation Pathways
Inflammation inhibits stem cell activity and reduces their production of therapeutic factors. Therefore, to boost stem cell growth, inflammation must be minimized. Refrain from ingesting inflammatory foods like processed foods, soda and alcohol.6. Stem Cell Supplementation
There are two main cases to support stem cell proliferation; the first is when stem cells are implanted and the second is to support the body’s natural stem cell production. In both cases the following supplements can help:
Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)
Vitamin D has been found to promote the abilities of stem cells to create new healthy tissue and organs. Vitamin D up-regulates stem cell activities in both embryonic stem cells and iPSCs.
Mesenchymal (bone and muscle) stem cells are researched and used widely for stem cell therapies. Resveratrol has been proven to aid bone formation. Therefore, it is an important supplement to enhance stem cell capabilities. Resveratrol supports healthy inflammatory pathway properties, and rejuvenates animal cells - especially mesenchymal stem cells.
Curcumin / Turmeric
Consuming turmeric/ curcumin supplements supports antioxidant activity, lowering free radical accumulation. Curcumin is a strong antioxidant. Additionally curcumin has been shown to increase proliferation in neural stem cells (NSC).
Neural stem cells (NSC) found in the hypothalamus have been found to reverse aging. The aging process is said to begin with a considerable loss of cells in the hypothalamus. The release of exosomal MicroRNAs (miRNAs) plays a role in intercellular communication when regulating gene expression. Exosomal miRNAs are also altered during disease states. Replenishing neural stem cells in the hypothalamus can, therefore, support a healthy aging process.7. Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Long term alcohol intake will boost the accumulation of TRGs, suppressing stem cell activities. Furthermore, chronic binge drinking alters neurogenesis due to ethanol impacting stem cell proliferation and differentiation. To promote the proliferation of healthy stem cells, alcohol consumption should be minimized.
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