This week, it is important we give you some information on the role that nutrition plays in Regenerative Medicine. There is so much information out there on this subject that it becomes complicated to write about it without getting bogged down on the details.
Yes there will be a quick list of the beneficial foods for stem cells proliferation and health towards the end, but the more interesting question is:
Is eating or fasting more effective when it comes to health and tissue regeneration?
For my money, this is absolutely clear: fasting is the best way to help your cells and organs rejuvenate and regenerate. Our cells begin to age right after birth. We all have a cellular ‘clock’, known as the Horvath Clock, which tells you how fast this aging occurs. And that rate can change depending on lifestyle. There are known mechanisms to increase rate (e.g. smoking) or slow rate (e.g. exercise, caloric restriction). When fasting, mechanisms turn on sirtuins, genes that are implicated in longevity. Fasting causes NAD levels to increase and sirtuins have more substrate to repair DNA and keep genes that normally cause aging silent. It is also associated with cellular turnover through autophagy, where aged cells die off.
We now know that several 5-day cycles of ProLon, the fasting mimicking diet, increases the stem cell content in bone marrow. This makes them more likely to contribute to the regeneration of various cell types and systems. In fact, fasting is one of the strategies that we actively ask our patients to employ during our customized regenerative programs. We recently had one patient who increased her bone marrow stem cell content several fold by fasting prior to her procedure!
But the benefits of fasting do not stop at improving the bone marrow stem cells content. Some of the other impressive perks include:
• Extended longevity
• Lowered visceral fat
• Reduced cancer incidences and skin lesions
• Rejuvenated immune system
• Slowed loss of bone density
• Improved cognitive performance
• Decreased diabetes
• Decreased cardiovascular disease
Now, this all seems to point to NOT eating… But of course, we have to. It is then important the we remember the core rules: eat a nutrient dense, plant-based diet. Eat less meat, cut down on alcohol, and eliminate processed foods and sugar. Lastly, don’t forget that happy stem cells run on fat.
And now for the list of “good foods”. Many of these should come as no surprise, as they have multiple benefits across different systems, not just for regeneration. Some of them are a little bit on the “weird” side, but hey, it’s OK to be adventurous, right?
1. Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries - their antioxidant and flavonoids content reduce inflammation and repair cellular damage
2. Broccoli - promotes liver function, reduces inflammation in the blood
3. Ginger Root - combats inflammation
4. Nuts and Seeds - contains anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats and plant sterols
5. Mushrooms - detoxify liver cells
6. Fish and Seafood - through their omega 3 fats are anti-inflammatory
7. Colostrum - bovine milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk. All are rich in proteins, growth factors, and antibodies
8. Spirulina - nutrient-dense cyanobacterium. Spirulina promotes stem cell genesis and protects against declines in neural stem cell proliferation
9. Chlorella - single cell freshwater algae containing chlorophyll also promotes stem cell health.
10. Aloe Vera - plays a role in modulating various biological activities, including preventing cancer, scavenging free radicals and exhibiting antimicrobial activity by rupturing bacterial cell walls
11. Coffeeberry fruit extract - has been shown to significantly stimulate brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is responsible for the development, differentiation, and protection of neurons in the central and peripheral nervous systems and is also strongly supportive of both cognitive and mental health. In addition, it significantly upregulates sirtuin enzymes in a manner that can offset the aging process triggered by oxidative stress, as well as support stem cell functions, particularly when the body is under chronic or acute stress
12. Moringa extract – moringa is a plant called the drumstick tree or the miracle tree, and no wonder: its benefits, if real, do sound miraculous. Moringa extract protects the liver from various drugs and chemicals. The plant‘s antioxidants might help prevent heart damage. Especially important for our practice, the plant is antinociceptive (pain-reducing). In studies, extracts from the flower of the plant have been shown to cause a significant increase in the proliferation of mesenchymal stem cells, while the root can cause an increase in cytotoxicity to cancer cell lines, effectively killing off cancerous cells. Extracts from the leaves are known to combat high blood pressure, reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation and reduce the effects of diabetes.
13. Curcumin -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
14. Dark chocolate - need I say more?
15. Niacin (vit B3) - 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
16. NAD+ - 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
Are you still with me? I hope so.
Regenerative Medicine is a way of putting your body in the best possible position to heal itself. Nutrition is extremely important in this endeavor. Moreover, fasting, along with good sleep, is amongst the best strategies of nutrient manipulation to increase both the number and the health of your stem cells.
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