We've all heard about stem cells, there’s not a day that goes by that we don’t hear about some new advancement in stem cell research or some person that is undergoing stem cell therapy. We even have Mel Gibson recently talking about the wonders of stem cell therapy for improving the health of his father. But most of us don’t qualify for stem cell treatments nor can we afford the bill to go to Panama to get these controversial treatments.
But don’t despair, hundreds of studies show that we can boost the production and function of our own stem cells and regenerate ourselves on a day by day basis. That’s good news for those of us wanting to live a long and healthy life.
Let’s take a quick refresher course on what stem cells are and why they are included on the list of the 9 Hallmarks of Ageing.
Stem cells are cells that have the ability to divide and create more cells allowing tissue to regrow and regenerate indefinitely. Some of these stem cells divide and regenerate a target tissue such as the eye, while others have the ability to become any cell type in the body. Stem cells are located all over the body as they are needed quickly to replace worn out and damaged tissue and are especially concentrated in vital areas such as the brain, heart, kidneys, gut lining and pancreas, forming an essential source of new cells for this repair to take place. As these cells get damaged they decline in number and their function is greatly affected leading to accelerated disease progression and ageing. Scientists have found that we can slow or even reverse certain aspects of ageing by stimulating the number and function of our stem cells.
Interesting new research is focussed on the function of stem cells found in a small part of the brain called the Hypothalamus. This part of the brain acts as the control centre for the entire operation of our cells and organs and helps regulate many vital functions throughout the entire system via the secretions of micro-messages. It’s these micro-messages (miRNA) that influence all body activities from regulating your appetite right down to switching genes on and off. It goes without saying that if we can continually restore the number and function of stem cells in the Hypothalamus, then we can influence all aspects of ageing in our bodies.
So what reduces the number and function of our stem cells and what can we do to reverse that decline?
Like all our cells, stem cells are particularly sensitive to damage. This damage occurs at a DNA level which then causes the cell to malfunction and possibly become abnormal. The main culprit for this DNA damage comes in the form of oxidative damage from ROS (reactive oxidative species) and the amount of debris that overwhelms the cell causing it to die. Damaged oxidised stem cell DNA equals no regeneration of ageing tissue including joints, skin, brain and organs – starting to feel old yet?
This DNA damage comes from living our everyday lifestyle. Alcohol damages stem cells, processed foods with their colourings, additives and flavourings damage stem cells, pollution damages stem cells, radiation from mobile phones, radio waves, medical scans and the sun all damage stem cells. All of these exposures and many more cause DNA strand breaks and reduce the function and activity of our stem cells.
Fortunately, scientists have discovered as many protective and restorative compounds as there are damaging ones. The goal is to reduce the body’s exposure to this harmful and oxidising ROS by living a cleaner and less toxic lifestyle. We also need to increase our antioxidant capabilities especially our master antioxidant, glutathione, to protect the cells mitochondria and DNA. As we reduce our expose to the things that damage our stem cells and increase their protecting molecules then we will reach a tipping point where stem cells can increase their circulating numbers and perform their amazing function of regenerating our damaged body.
Research has identified a powerful group of polyphenols and antioxidants with a direct influence on stem cell numbers and function particularly blueberries, Vit D, green tea, goji berries, spirulina, various algae and pomegranate. Studies continue to explore the possibilities of other naturally occurring compounds but in the meantime let’s get these stem cell super heroes in to our bodies to help restore our youthfulness and vigour.
We’ve kept it simple for you. We have included all these highly studied compounds in our blends to make it easy to get all your days’ stem cell requirements to help us look and feel younger.