Lisa Fortin, MD
As a medical doctor, it is important to understand the processes that drive our body's natural ability to regenerate and repair itself. This understanding allows us to better advise our patients on how to maintain optimal health and well-being.
One of the most fundamental processes in the body is cell renewal. Our skin cells, for example, are replaced every 7 days. The lining of our gastrointestinal tract is also continually renewed, with a complete turnover occurring every few days. Even more remarkable is the liver's ability to regenerate - it can completely regenerate itself within a matter of months. In fact, it's estimated that within 6-7 years, the majority of cells in our body have been replaced.
This means that, in essence, you are a "whole new you" every 6-7 years!
Stem cells also play a vital role in our body's ability to regenerate and repair itself. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that have the ability to develop into various types of specialized cells such as blood cells, nerve cells, and muscle cells. They also have the ability to self-renew and divide to produce more stem cells. Without stem cells, our bodies would not be able to repair damaged tissue and fight off disease as effectively.
Our biology is also pre-programmed to repair DNA damage, remove misfolded proteins, store away or break down waste products and toxins, and repair oxidative damage. These processes happen constantly and without our knowledge, keeping us healthy and functioning at optimal levels.
However, it's important to note that while our body has the ability to repair and regenerate itself, it's not invincible. Making healthy lifestyle choices, such as maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, can greatly aid in the body's natural regenerative processes and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
There are several changes that can be made to support cell renewal and stem cell activity, including:
Eating a healthy diet: A diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, real fats, & whole grains, and low in processed foods & sugar, can provide the necessary nutrients for cell renewal and stem cell activity. Foods that are particularly beneficial include those that are high in antioxidants, such as berries, leafy greens, and tomatoes, as well as those that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.
Exercise: Regular exercise can help to promote cell renewal and stem cell activity by increasing blood flow, which delivers oxygen and nutrients to cells and helps to remove waste products. In addition, exercise has been shown to increase the number and function of stem cells in the body.
Getting enough sleep: Sleep is important for cell renewal and stem cell activity as it allows the body to repair and regenerate itself. A lack of sleep can lead to inflammation, which can inhibit cell renewal and stem cell activity.
Reducing stress: Chronic stress can inhibit cell renewal and stem cell activity by increasing inflammation in the body. This can be counteracted by engaging in stress-reducing activities such as yoga, meditation, or mindfulness.
Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption: Both smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can inhibit cell renewal and stem cell activity. Smoking is known to damage DNA and causes inflammation, while excessive alcohol consumption can lead to inflammation and damage to the liver, which is important for cell renewal.
Supplements: Some studies have shown that certain supplements can support cell renewal and stem cell activity such as Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Coenzyme Q10.
It is also important to note that these changes should be done in a balanced way, as an excess or deficiency of any of these elements can have negative effects on the body, and it's always best to consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your lifestyle. In conclusion, understanding the processes that drive our body's natural ability to regenerate and repair itself is crucial for maintaining optimal health and well-being.
Aging and degeneration are not synonymous. Getting older is inevitable, but aging with grace is a choice everyone should try to make.
By making healthy lifestyle choices and understanding the importance of cell renewal and stem cell activity, we can help to ensure that our bodies continue to function at their best.
Please note that the information provided in these blog entries is for general informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It's always best to consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your lifestyle or starting any kind of treatment.