A common question from patients is how to best optimize their stem cell health and count.
Another common question is what not to do leading up to your stem cell treatment.
A recent research study suggests that smoking is not a good idea and likely damages your stem cells.
What does smoking affect?
Not smoking cigarettes is considered the most preventable cause of death in the United States.
In 1965, 44% of American adults smoked, Congress required a warning to be put on the package of all cigarettes sold in the United States that stated, “Caution: Cigarette Smoking May Be Hazardous to Your Health.”
Today, only 18% of Americans smoke cigarettes.
We’ve also learned a lot more about what those health hazards are.
There have been widespread awareness campaigns from TV to children’s science museums to get the word out that smoking is dangerous.
Lung Cancer: Smoking is said to be responsible for 85% of this type of common cancer.
Throat Cancer: The leading cause of throat or larynx cancer is smoking tobacco.
Heart Disease: Approximately 20% of all deaths from heart disease are directly related to smoking cigarettes.
Complications of Pregnancy: These include miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, low birth weight, placental problems, and ectopic pregnancy.
Emphysema: This is when the tiny air sacs in your lungs get damaged, ultimately beyond repair.
Does Smoking Affect Stem Cells?
Perhaps the least known risk of smoking may be the most significant.. it’s effect on stem cells.
Stem cells are the repairmen of the body.
They work in the background all day every day as your body is in need of repair constantly.
But what’s unique about stem cells is that they’re not just repairmen..
They’re the general contractor, they orchestrate and fulfill every part of the repair process.
Of course to do this, you need to be able to find what needs fixing!
This process of stem cells being mobilized from a distant area and then finding what’s broken is called “homing.”
So, what’s new?
A new study set out to determine whether cigarette smoke affects mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow.
The researchers looked at stem cell function and homing.
To do this they administered stem cells to two groups of guinea pigs. They exposed one group to cigarette smoke, and then allowed the stem cells from both groups to infiltrate tissue before removing and culturing the stem cells.
The stem cells that were not exposed to cigarette smoke functioned normally; however, the stem cells exposed to cigarette smoke had a significant decrease in normal function and “homing” ability.
Smoking and Stem Cell Treatment
Other studies have shown that smoking damages stem cells.
Previous research has shown that smoking reduces the ability of stem cells to turn into cartilage and also reduces the number of circulating stem cells.
A piece of good news is, studies also show that it takes only about a month for your circulating stem cells to return to normal numbers after stopping smoking.
Smoking is awful for your health, that’s nothing new.
If you needed another reason to quit, damage to the cells that repair every part of your body should be good motivation.