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How to Activate Your Stem Cells for Healthy Aging

The term stems cells conjure up ideas of some rare type of cell with mystical powers, and in a way, that’s exactly what they are. They are special human cells that can replace damaged, old, dying, and even aging cells.

They are able to develop into any type of cell your body needs from brain cells, muscle cells, skin cells and gut cells, and every other cell in your body, and they can replicate quickly.

They are found in many different organs and tissues including the brain, blood, bone marrow, muscle, skin, heart, liver, and gut. They lay dormant until they’re needed to regenerate tissue

But unfortunately, as we age, they don’t do their job very well because, as we age, we lose our ability to activate them.

And when we can’t activate them, we get those age-related illnesses that we think of as “normal” aging but aren’t.

And they are extremely important to our aging process, we need them to keep regenerating our aging cells and tissues, and there are ways to do this so you can move the needle of your biological clock backwards instead of forwards.

I’ve been talking about leaky gut a lot recently because about 90% of us have it but don’t know it, and stimulating stem cells is extremely important to heal leaky gut.

You see, your gut lining regenerates itself on a weekly basis and these cells are replaced by stem cells that live your gut lining. So, in order to keep your gut healthy, you need to be able to activate these stem cells.

The first way to activate your stem cells through hormesis. Hormesis is when you temporarily stress your body with small stessors, that if they were large stressors they would be harmful – you know the saying what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, this is hormesis, small amounts of controlled stress we put on the body.

Exercise is a form of hormesis and so is sitting in a sauna, cryotherapy and fasting.

Studies have shown that when we fast for our bodies start to use fat for fuel instead of glucose which signals stem cells to regenerate.

The process of fasting triggers something called autophagy, this is the body’s recycling program. It gets rid of weak or dysfunctional parts of cells and proteins to make room for stronger cells.

Getting back to the gut lining for a second, most of our immune cells live on our gut lining to protect us from any foreign bacteria or toxins that may cross the gut barrier, and as we age these immune cells don’t protect us as they used to, so if we can get them to clean themselves up by triggering autophagy which in turn triggers stems cell regeneration within our immune cells, we’re going to be in great shape!

Now, you don’t have to do a 24 hour fast in order to stimulate autophagy and stem cell reproduction, that would be uncomfortable, so what you can do is intermittent fasting – Check out episode 87 of the Beauty in Aging Podcast for the specifics on that, but the basic idea of intermittent fasting is to eat only within a certain window of time and then fast for the rest of the time. Like eat for 8 hours and fast for the other 16. If you do this on a daily basis you will activate autophagy and your stem cells.

But, in order for this to happen, you need good amounts of vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is made in the body from sunlight and is found in animal sources of foods – fatty fish, liver, egg yolks and the supplement fish oil.

As for basic nutrition the best thing you can do the enhance your stem cell function is to reduce your sugar intake because the more sugar you consume the less likely your stem cells are to thrive.

I just keep adding to the list of reasons to cut sugar out of your life, don’t I??

Your lifestyle choices also impact your stem cells, as they impact everything else.

You know the ones I mean, getting enough sleep, managing stress, and probably the most important one for stem cells activation is exercise because of hormesis. When we exercise, we break down muscle and force it to regenerate and build bigger - stem cells do this.

My friends, take care of your stem cells!

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