More often than not, patients ask us how they can improve the quality or quantity of their stem cells before a procedure.
Over a decade of orthopedic stem cell experience and research has taught us that there are in fact certain things that you may be able to do to improve your stem cell function.
Here are 9 ways to enhance your stem cells before treatment.
1: Stay Active, Exercise, and Lift Weights
Studies have shown that older animals that are more active have better quality stem cells that create more bone.
This research also shows that stem cells in muscles are increased by exercise and lifting heavy weights.
The key is consistent activity.
If you are working out sparsely now, try to amplify your routine. Visit the gym or work with a skilled personal trainer.
Do you lift weights already? Try to up your lbs.
If you bike or run, push yourself to run faster and for a longer period of time. In general, target 150 minutes per week of aerobic activity.
Perhaps a more time efficient approach to aerobic fitness is high-intensity interval training though you should talk to skilled professional before implementing.
If you have injuries or health issues that limit your workout capabilities, simply focus on what you can do.
Try light activities in the pool or take daily walks.
The goal is simply to increase your activity level so that the stem cells that we do harvest are of the highest quality from the start.
2: Supplement Your Nutrition
Common nutritional supplements may be beneficial to both stem cell and cartilage. These include vitamin D3 and C, Curcumin, Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Resveratrol, and Fish Oil.
Vitamins C and D:
Vitamin C helps our bone marrow stem cells by promoting their proliferation (increase in numbers).
Vitamin D3 can reduce the aging of our stem cells, make them healthier, and help them to differentiate, or turn into other types of cells.
Curcumin may sound familiar as it is the active ingredient in the spice, turmeric.
Curcumin has strong anti-inflammatory properties and performs well in helping mesenchymal stem cells function better.
This supplement has also been shown to upregulate bone formation and suppress oxidative stress, which alleviates bone loss.
It also seems to have a protective effect from the damage of osteoarthritis.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin:
Glucosamine and Chondroitin protect cartilage and reduce cartilage loss.
Studies have shown that resveratrol also protects cartilage and helps stem cells differentiate and multiply.
Resveratrol also helps to control blood sugar.
3: Avoid Taking Steroids When Possible
From asthma to knee pain to herniated discs, high-dose steroids (sometimes referred to as cortisone) are used for many reasons.
While they may be powerful anti-inflammatories, the issue is that steroids wreak havoc on stem cells.
Steroids have the potential for serious adverse effects. One study concluded that steroids actually “flipped a switch” on mesenchymal stem cells and made them not want to turn into bone.
If you are scheduled for a stem cell treatment and are taking steroids (oral, topical, inhaled, or injections), discuss this with your physician.
They physician can help recommend safer alternatives or acceptable substitutes to protect your stem cells, and then discuss with your prescribing provider.
4: Avoid Environmental Chemicals
Unfortunately, we are exposed to thousands of chemicals on a daily basis through food, air, and products with which we come in contact.
Although the dose of each individual chemical is rather low, the cumulative chronic exposure is now thought to negatively impact our body’s overall health and march toward disease.
Many of these chemicals disrupt key pathways in our body’s chemistry as it relates to stem cell function, hormones, the immune system, nervous system, cancer formation, and others.
We can’t control all of these factors but we can make informed decisions about products (and food) that our body interacts with on a daily basis.
It is important to note that your stem cell procedure will only ever be as effective as your stem cells are healthy.
Take this into account before receiving your stem cell treatment.