Stem Cells 101

You may have heard of stem cells before, but what exactly are they? Here is a basic primer on what you need to know about stem cells, how they can benefit you, and what you can do to increase your adult stem cells.

What Are Stem Cells?

These cells are like the building blocks of the human body. During the embryonic state of a human being, they are the blank slates of the cellular world, meaning they can become whatever kind of cell the body needs, forming skin cells, bone cells, muscles, and organs.

Adult stem cells exist everywhere in the body after the embryonic stage is completed. They live in a sort of dormant state unless they are activated by injury or disease, which can include degeneration from age. While they are typically thought to no longer be able to differentiate- become whatever type of cell that is needed- some early study results are showing promising evidence that some adult stem cells may indeed be able to differentiate.

Adult stem cells work by repairing or even rebuilding damaged body systems. They do this by continually dividing, creating new cells, which can then be used to repair organs or other tissues.

What Can Stem Cells Do For You?

Scientists are busy researching both embryonic and adult stem cells. Currently, people with severely damaged organs, like the kidneys, liver, or pancreas, must wait years sometimes to find an organ donor that is a match for them. They may eventually be able to grow organs in the laboratory. Embryonic stem cell research is being done on diseases that affect the brain cells, such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's. The insulin-producing cells in the pancreas that prevent diabetes are yet another area of research. As the population continues to age, a breakthrough in these areas one day could be miraculous. Adult skin cells are already being used to help graft new skin on burn victims.

So How Can You Boost Your Own Stem Cells?

Because the stem cells rush to repair injured or diseased areas in your body, you naturally want to have a strong army. Here are five ways you can help build your defenses:

  • Exercise. Animal research studies have indicated that the more strenuously active their lifestyle, the more adult stem cells they have. Consider strength training with weights as well as aerobic exercise. Not only will you look better, your body will be better equipped to handle injury and disease. Consider consulting with a personal trainer if you have been leading a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Eat properly. Cut sugars. Concentrate on getting your nutritional needs met from fruit, vegetables, grains, and quality protein.
  • Get enough sleep. The human body uses the time you sleep to regenerate cells and repair your body systems. 

Contact a center like Glory Wellness Center and Weight Loss Clinic for more information.