Stem cells are a type of cell that has the potential to develop into different cell types in the body. Because of this, these types of cells can serve as a repair system and theoretically divide without limit to replenish other cells for as long as you are alive. When a stem cell divides, each "daughter" cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a heart muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell.
Your body already produces stem cells naturally and there’s a reserve of these replacement cells inside your bone marrow and fat tissue.
But, with age, you start to lose your stem cells and they become less effective. This is caused by overall degradation in joint health and the mitochondria.
Stem cells consist of mitochondria, which are tiny organelles in your cells that produce your body’s energy. If your mitochondria are slow and sluggish, then you’ll experience more fatigue and exhaustion in everything you do, including stem cell functioning.
In theory, we might want to simply boost stem cells while we are young and then use them to keep our heart, hips, brain, and other parts our body healthy as we age.
Stem cell therapy
Stem cell therapy involves bone marrow transplants, umbilical cord blood injections, somatic cell nuclear transfers, and many other similar sources. Basically, you take young and fresh stem cells and you inject them into your body where they’ll start healing and rejuvenating your old cells and muscle tissue.
Stem cells have been used for years to treat cancer patients and it’s been found to be effective against neurodegenerative diseases and other conditions, such as diabetes, and heart disease.
Some say that stem cell therapy is bringing about a new paradigm in health and longevity research. At the same time, there’s a lot of controversy about culturing and isolating embryonic stem cells, which is associated with abortion politics and human cloning.
That’s why it hasn’t received that much publicity nor widespread use by the general public. Until now…
If possible isn’t that a better, simpler, & safer idea than getting a transplant of stem cells?
How to promote stem cell growth naturally:
Vitamin B3 Stem Cells
There have been studies on how giving old mice vitamin B3 helped them to revitalize their stem cells. B3 is also called niacin, niacinamide or nicotinamide, and it’s one of the essential nutrients that has a big role in energy production and metabolism.
Mice who were taking niacin saw incredible anti-aging effects. They saw muscle regeneration, growth of brain and skin cells thanks to stem cell activity. Their life spans were also substantially longer than the mice’ who didn’t get B3.
In another study on a group of mice, they gave half of them vitamin B3 for 3-4 months and they had more energy, less weight, and improved insulin sensitivity. They could even run 33% longer than the mice who didn’t get the vitamin.
Foods rich in niacin are fish, poultry, meat, beef, mushrooms, organ meats, peanuts, sunflower seeds, coffee, tahini and fortified cereal.
Taking a B3 supplement can also be a good idea. I recommend at least 250 mg a day.
Boost Your NAD+ Levels
Vitamin B3 helps to break down a molecule called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), which is needed for transferring calories into the mitochondria where they’ll be converted to ATP. NAD can work in 2 forms: NAD+ and NADH.
Low levels of NAD+ increase brain degeneration, inflammation, body fat, fatigue and muscle loss.
If you have too much energy coming in from the outside, then this will lead to the accumulation of NADH, which prevents your body from using its internal fat stores. Thus the mitochondria will become less efficient. Caloric restriction has been shown to raise NAD+ levels in the cells, as does carbohydrate depletion.
States of ketosis can also increase NAD+ levels by promoting the mitochondrial ability to burn fat for fuel. Other ways of increasing NAD+ are exercise, and cold-heat-exposure.
Intermittent fasting is another great way to not only boosting NAD+ but to also trigger stem cell activation.
An article recently came out saying that fasting boosts stem cell numbers. The team from USC found that even just a few days of fasting increased the number of stem cells in our blood system.
There are many studies showing how fasting for up to 3 days reduces inflammation, boosts the immune system by increasing white blood cell count, and promoting autophagy.
Curcumin or turmeric contains a bioactive compound called Aromatic (ar-) turmerone, which can induce neural stem cell proliferation.
Turmeric has also many other anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties that promote the creation of new brain cells and reduce oxidative stress in the body.
Different herbs and herbal extracts can be used to promote tissue regeneration in both stem cell therapy and tissue engineering.
Examples of stem cell boosting herbs are
- Dried root of Drynariae fortune, Rhizoma Drynariae, which contains flavonoid and triterpenoid compounds and its use increases bone cell viability and intracellular total proteins.
- Dried root extract of the Korean herb Dipsacus asper is used in the treatment of bone fracture.
- Foeniculum vulgare has been used in traditional medicine to increase milk secretion, promote menstruation, facilitate birth, and alleviate the symptoms of dysmenorrhea.
- Dhanwantram kashaya, used in Ayurvedic medicine to stimulate growth and nerve regeneration.
- The root extract of Angelica dahuricae has been used as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antipyretic, and antioxidant remedy in Chinese and Korean herbal medicine.
You get the point – aim for the more micronutrient dense herbs.
Spirulina and Algae Supplements
Mice who were fed spirulina for 28 days grew new and stronger stem cells.
Spirulina promotes stem cell genesis and protects against declines in neural stem cell proliferation.
Spirulina and chlorella also contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, and EPA, which are the most important fatty acids for the brain. They already promote cognitive functioning and neural health so it makes sense that they’ll also have longevity effects on the entire body.
The human body seems designed to increase stem cell numbers when we are more active. This makes great sense if you consider that the more active that we are the more new cells that we’ll need as we are likely to lose more of our older cells by exercising. Here are two papers backing up the idea of exercise boosting our stem cell numbers.
Macaluso, FKH Myburgh (2012) Current evidence that exercise can increase the number of adult stem cells. Journal of muscle research and cell motility. 33:3-4:187-98.
Blackmore, DG, et al. (2009) Exercise increases neural stem cell number in a growth hormone-dependent manner, augmenting the regenerative response in aged mice. Stem Cells. 27:8:2044-52.
Researchers in China have reported that people who practice the martial art Tai Chi saw a several-fold boost in their stem cell populations (by which they meant a specific type of cell called a “Progenitor CD34+Cells” cell. This seems a little too good to be true in terms of magnitude, but could fit in with the exercise boost discussed above.
Although I wrote earlier about how activity could boost stem cell levels, it also kind of makes sense that stem cells may do their thing while we are asleep. Stem cell science also supports this idea as well.
Protect yourself and your stem cells from radiation
When you read this you probably are thinking of dental or chest x-rays or CT scans, but I think a far more important source of radiation for most of us is UV light from the sun.
It is smart to protect your skin stem cells. Become an educated user of sunscreens and about sun exposure. Their use is complex and in fact may be harmful if misused as most of us do. In any case, the best protection from skin cancer is shade or if you have to be out in the sun, clothing. Do not let sunscreen increase your sun exposure dramatically or its use will backfire.
Next article will be about foods that can protect skin from sun damage.
Next article will be about foods that can protect skin from sun damage.