By Brian James Rose
The post-genomic era brings that the phenotype of both the normal and disease states is not very frequently predicted by the genome, and it is clear that the genetic make-up of the somatic cells keeps on changing with the lifespan of the individual. These phenotypic expressions are a means of interactions with the genome and various other factors like diet, lifestyle, epigenetics, toxins, non-genetic inheritable transmission, and environment. In the case of disease phenotypes, it is believed that these are correlating with the state of adult stem cells that are present and spread in the whole of the body, and their work is to maintain, regenerate, and repair almost all of the human tissues. In comparison to others, only the pancreas is the organ where the somatic cells themselves replicate. There is also an exceptional case in aging, and the process is tissue-dependent. Still, some tissues experience a decline in stem cell numbers, while others an increase .
What are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are the immature and undifferentiated cells present in the body of every living multi-cellular organism. Every mammal, including human beings, is loaded with a certain pack of stem cells. The role of stem cells is to self-renew themselves and transform into new cells and divide them to take their position as a function of tissues and organs, and this process is called cell differentiation.
The stem cells differentiate into internal organs, vessels, skin, and other tissues before the birth i.e., in the prenatal period, so we can say that a developing organism has the highest number of stem cells, and soon after the birth almost every stem cell gets stored in the umbilical cord blood, umbilical cord tissue, and placenta.
Stem cells are present in the adult human being as well, where they work as a repair kit and help the body to repair and renew organs and tissues. But as soon as the person gets old, these stem cells are reduced in number, and the repair process of the organs get decreased. Reduction and inhibition in the production of stem cells is a natural process called physiological aging .
The following six ways can boost stem cell production in human beings.
It has recently been found out that fasting triggers stem cell production, and it can increase the number of stem cells in the blood. As fasting makes people low on caloric levels, we can support the idea by saying that the body might start working more efficiently when there is low food consumption to provide resistance towards the infection .
Some scientists, Yilmaz, and his colleagues studied the effect of fasting on intestinal stem cells in mice. Intestinal stem cells are responsible for the regeneration and repairing of the intestine after an Injury or infection, and this happens every five days, but in older people, this process declines, and it takes a longer time to get over the damage. In this regard, mice were kept fasting for 24 hours and then the researchers took some part of the intestinal stem cells out and grew it on the culture media to check if it would develop the organoids (mini-intestines) or not, it was found that fasting increased the regenerative capacity of intestinal stem cells by two times .
Moreover, this stem cell production through fasting is also supported by the metabolic switch that the body experiences while fasting. Fasting prevents stem cells from metabolizing carbohydrates to fatty acids, and this is through peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) gene expression. If the metabolic switch turns off, fasting won’t boost the intestinal stem cell regeneration .
When the body is active, the stem cells grow more in number. The point is when we exercise, and the older cells are shed off, so newer cells are needed to overcome the loss, and that’s when the stem cells come into action .
Research in the human subjects concluded that strenuous exercise could increase the level of stem cells in the circulation, while some other studies support that very intense exercise can mobilize the stem cells to pass from bone marrow to blood circulation. Other than that, studies on athletes revealed that exercising caused the stem cells to migrate and pass into the blood serum to function better. Also, exercise aids those stem cells required for the formation of new blood vessels .
The mesenchymal stem cells are responsible for turning into either bone or fat. It was through research that work-out causes these stem cells to become bone than fat and then enhances blood formation. The study of the Department of Kinesiology’s Gianni Parise and his team demonstrated that treadmill-conditioned mice showed such stem cells turning into bone frequently than the fat as compared to sedentary mice in which stem cells become more fat than bone lessening the blood production through the bone marrow cavities .
This is kind of the fact that stem cells work properly and efficiently when you are having enough sleep . The studies revealed that the natural circadian rhythms of the body affect the stem cell aging process. If a person is having enough night’s sleep, it is highly likely that the stem cells will remain younger for a longer period. This means that if normal circadian rhythms of the body are disrupted, the overall functioning of the body will fluctuate and will affect the performance of the stem cells .
Other studies revealed that lack of sleep or insomnia could adversely affect stem cell functioning. A decrease in sleep, i.e., from 8 hours to 4 hours, causes the stem cells to decrease their migration by almost 50% while the proper 7-8 hours of sleep boost the activity of stem cells .
Asya Rolls, Ph.D., and a researcher at Stanford University School of Medicine researched whether a donor shouldn’t be sleep deprived to bring the best of the transplantation procedure. The quick recovery sleep before the transplantation may activate the donor’s cells to keep on functioning normally. This study was correlated with the sleep-deprived mice when they were provided with two hours of recovery sleep; the stem cells of those mice started to work with the normal function .
4. Proper Nutrition:
A healthy lifestyle is a cure for every issue. If a person takes proper nutrition, it will benefit stem cell growth and proliferation. Many types of research connect cellular restoration with certain foods, either diminish or promote production. One of the best things you can do in your diet is to reduce sugar intake to enhance stem cell function. The higher level of glucose in the body can be the basis of reduced mesenchymal stem cell proliferation. When you exceed the limits of sugar consumption, your stem cells will likely decrease .
Another point is cutting the calories. Different studies support the calorie restriction as it can trigger stem cell availability and activity when demonstrated in mice. You can adopt this lifestyle through intermittent fasting continued for 12-16 hours a night as it is the stem cell activator. But before starting this, the wise decision is to talk to your physician first [9, 10].
The following foods in your diet can bring stem cell production and natural cell growth.
● Berries such as blackberries, goji berries, pomegranate, blueberries, and raspberries can act as powerful antioxidants.
● Ginger root for upset stomach and reduces systemic inflammation.
● Cruciferous vegetables are best for boosting stem cell growth and reducing inflammation.
● Mushrooms like maitake and shiitake have polyphenols that detoxify liver cells.
● Seed and Nuts are a good sources of proteins and beneficial fats.
● Seafood and Fatty fish act as an antioxidant and are the activators of stem cells because of omega-3 fatty acids in them .
5. Protection from Radiation:
With radiation, the words that might have struck you are dental or chest x-rays or CT scans, but there is something other than these things, which is the main source of radiation for all of the people, and it is none other than the UV radiations from the sun. The UV light can adversely affect the body cells and, most importantly, the stem cells. As the overuse of sunscreen can backfire, and it might harm rather than benefit you, so the only way to protect yourself from the harmful effects of UV radiation is to cover yourself properly when going out in the sun .
UV exposure affects human health in terms of DNA damage, inflammatory responses, immunosuppressive processes, aging, tumor formation. DNA damage triggers cellular responses like cell arrest, DNA repair, cell death by apoptosis, and necrosis. Studies suggest the damage UV exposure caused damage to the genomes of keratinocytes, fibroblasts, and melanocytes also in the genomes of epidermal and mesenchymal stem cells .
Having a healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition is key to everything and can be a good outcome for stem cells. Besides other things that have been mentioned before, the following ways might also help in stem cell production.
· Acupuncture is another excellent way to allow the body to increase stem cell production and also the healing mechanisms of the body. All you are required is to keep breathing while acupuncture is being done. Acupuncture also balances the nervous system and circulation to heal the body .
· Chinese researchers reported that when people learn the martial art Tai Chi, they may have many folds rise in their stem cell production, specifically Progenitor CD34+Cells cell. This might be linked with the exercise we have discussed earlier .
· Alcohol and cigarette smoking also interfere with proper stem cell functioning. Smokers need greater time to heal than non-smokers. It would cause liver diseases and put oxidative stress on the brain .
Does Donating Blood Correlate with the Stem Cells Production?
There are many potential benefits to donating blood. According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, 88% of the people who donate blood have a very low chance to suffer from a heart attack. The reason is as you donate the blood, you are allowing the blood to flow properly, and thereby the viscosity of the blood reduces greatly, leading to less or no damage to the blood vessels. Similarly, high iron levels in the body also is a source of blood vessel damage, so when you donate the blood, your body maintains the iron levels, and further replenishment after the blood donation helps the body to bring iron to a beneficial low level .
How does it link with stem cell production? When you donate the blood, the red cells are replaced to a greater extent, and this sends signals to the bone marrow about the low oxygen level of the body compared with the oxygen requirements. This, in turn, boosts stem cell production as a means that it would quickly replace what has been lost, i.e., red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. This concludes that donating blood could be beneficial for stem cells because of their repairing power .
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2. Cryo Bank, “What are Stem Cells and How are They Obtained?”
3. Paul Knoepfler, (July 16, 2014), “Top 5 Possible Natural Stem Cell Boosts.”
4. Anne Trafton, MIT News Office, (May 3, 2018), Fasting Boosts Stem Cells’ Regenerative Capacity.”
5. Written by Catharine Paddock, Ph.D. Fact checked by Jasmin Collier, (May 4, 2018), “A ‘Metabolic Switch’ May Explain Why Fasting Boosts Gut Health.”
6. Chris Centeno, MD, (December 16, 2011), “Exercise and Stem Cell.”
7. McMaster University, (September 9, 2011), “Exercise Boosts Health by Influencing Stem Cells to Become Bone, Not Fat, Researchers Find.”
8. Cade Hildreth CEO TBI Therapy, (January 10, 2018), “Sleep and Stem Cells.”
9. Regen Center, (March 2, 2020), “Top 6 Ways to Boost Your Stem Cells Naturally.”
10. Physio Logic, (January 29, 2019), “3 Ways to Boost Your Stem Cells Naturally!”
11. André Passaglia Schuch, Natália Cestari Moreno, Natielen Jacques Schuch, Carlos Frederico Martins Menck, Camila Carrião Machado Garcia, (January 17, 2017), “Sunlight Damage to Cellular DNA: Focus on Oxidatively Generated Lesions.”
12. Paul Ramey, (August 9, 2019), “What Happens to Your Body When You Donate Blood?”