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Dalton James

Can Stem Cells Turn Back The Clock?

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Dermatologists have turned to stem cells to fight wrinkles and improve skin turnover and overall appearance. 

Yep, you heard right. 

Stem cells, the same ones used in innovative medical research to treat Alzheimer’s and certain types of cancer, are now being sold over the counter in the form of creams, serums and other skin care products. 

Except there’s one major difference here: These stems cells are usually derived from plants (or occasionally animals). 

However, they work similarly to human stem cells and may offer anti-aging benefits for your skin.

 

What stem cells are and how they work

Human stem cells are unique because of their ability to divide. 

In certain organs, they can even become specialized to repair and replace damaged tissues.

“Stem cells are rapidly dividing cells in the body that have the ability to give rise to more stems cells or become other types of cells with more specialized function,” explains Dr. Sejal Shah, board-certified dermatologist and RealSelf contributor in New York City. 

Plant stem cells serve similar functions, she says.

Both plant and human stem cells contain proteins and amino acids, adds Dr. Michele Green, board-certified dermatologist and RealSelf contributor in New York City. 

“These signal the body’s cells to rejuvenate and may result in younger-looking skin,” she says.

 

Why you’re seeing stem cells in your skin care products

As mentioned above, stem cells contain amino acids and peptides, which are skin care powerhouse ingredients for skin rejuvenation. 

“These are the building blocks for cell rejuvenation, so over the past few years, there have been a variety of both animal- and plant-based stem cells in skin care products,” explains Green.

“Stem cells naturally have antioxidant properties and they nourish skin cells which promotes cell turnover and increases collagen production.”

This could result in fewer lines and wrinkles, improved skin texture and tone, and younger, better-looking skin, she says.

But keep in mind, it’s not actually living stem cells that you’re seeing in your face cream, Shah notes. 

“Most cell skin care products contain plant stem cells, and more specifically, stem cell extracts.” That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. 

She says these extracts are often rich in antioxidants and may provide growth factors to help renew and repair the skin. 

“The extracts themselves can benefit the skin, but it’s not accurate to think that part of this type of product will then become a new skin cell. 

Remember, plant cells cannot become human cells, and they are no longer living once they have been processed and added into skin care.”

Dr. Eve Lupenko, board-certified dermatologist at Greenberg Cosmetic Surgery in New York City, is starting to use treatments containing plant-derived stem cells in her practice. 

“The reason why we prefer to use plant stem cells is that you don’t have to worry about transmitting human and animal diseases,” she says. 

“We are seeing plant-based stem cells in skin care products these days because they repair the skin on a cellular level (a much deeper level). Most regular skin care products don’t penetrate into those areas of the actual skin cells.”

 

What dermatologists think 

The efficacy of stem cells in skin care depends on who you ask. 

Some dermatologists like Lupenko swear by them. 

“Stem cells have the potential to repair skin cells, and they also protect your skin from external factors and create a more youthful look,” she says. 

“They go into the skin’s cellular level, and they are able to deliver moisture and reparative agents to where they need to go.”

Others aren’t convinced about why exactly stem cells are suddenly buzzing in the skin care world. 

“They can be rich in antioxidants and often contain hydrators and moisturizers, so they can be good for the skin,” Shah says. 

“But do I think they are more effective than non-stem cell products? Not necessarily.”

Green sees the potential in using stem cells in conjunction with other treatments. 

“The products work, however, you can improve the benefits dramatically with other procedures such as the Fraxel laser, thermage, injectable fillers, botox and PRP, a mix of micro-needling with platelet-rich plasma.”

4 Ways To Maximize Stem Cells Before Treatment.

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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:

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.

 

Resveratrol:

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.

A Habit That is Completely Destroying Your Stem Cells.

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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.

Keto Isn’t The Only Diet That Will Help Your Aching Joints.

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While the first thought that might come to mind when you think of the Mediterranean may be the fantastic views of the Adriatic from the shores of Italy or Greece…
 
A close second thought would be the great food.
 
On the surface, the Mediterranean diet may seem almost indulgent.
 
People in this part of the world know how to eat, but many researchers swear by its health benefits.
 

A new study confirms a strong link between the Mediterranean diet and arthritis.

 
The Mediterranean diet lowers knee osteoarthritis risk.
 
Knee Osteoarthritis and What Causes It
 
Osteoarthritis of the knee occurs when there is too much wear and tear on or loss of the cartilage, the cushioning part of the joint.
 
To put it simply, osteoarthritis means “inflammation of the bone and joint.”
 
it is the condition of the joint cartilage commonly attributed to this inflammation, we now believe that what happens to the bone is often the forerunner of what happens to the cartilage.
 
The risk of osteoarthritis is increased in those who are overweight, those who have had injuries (for example in sports), in women, and with aging.
 
Those who suffer from osteoarthritis know the telltale signs, which include stiffness and tenderness in the joint, pain, and maybe even some clicking or grinding.
 
When the pain gets to be too much, many patients resort to the chronic use of dangerous nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which may be causing more damage; high-dose steroid injections; and even knee replacements that are risky and often unnecessary.
 
Could something as simple as our diet lower our knee OA risk or at least provide some relief?
 

What Exactly Is a Mediterranean Diet?

 
The Mediterranean diet is a specific eating plan consisting of plant-based carbs like vegetables and some fruits, whole grains, fish and poultry (very little red meat), nuts, healthy herbs and spices, and wine.
 
The key seems to be the right balance and combinations of foods. Hydrogenated oils, added sugars, margarine, refined grains, butter, processed meats, and high-fat foods should be avoided in the Mediterranean diet.
 
So red meat, processed food and sugar are off the table. Also, gone are pizza, pasta, and that huge hunk of Italian bread!
 
So while a Mediterranean diet might not strictly fit the low-carb mindset, it’s easy to see how the low- glycemic values of the foods, anti-oxidant and most importantly anti-inflammatory properties from many of the vegetables, fruits, fatty fish and Olive Oil, and the Resveratrol in red wine, could be helpful.
 
Of course, if you have blood sugar issues, eliminating the grains may or may not be necessary.
 
The Study on the Mediterranean Diet and Arthritis
 
The study, published in Clinical Nutrition last month, consisted of 4,358 subjects were diagnosed with knee arthritis.
 
Researchers used a tool called a Mediterranean diet score to determine how well the subjects stuck to the Mediterranean diet.
 

Then they evaluated the results.

 
The study concluded, “Higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with lower prevalence of knee OA.”
 
Arthritis is an inflammatory disease of the cartilage, the cushioning part, of a joint.
 
I mentioned above that hydrogenated oils, margarine, added sugars, and processed foods are not part of a Mediterranean diet.
 
All things which, in some form or another, cause or contribute to chronic inflammation.
 
So it’s clear to see why perhaps a Mediterranean diet could lower the prevalence of knee arthritis, which is a result of inflammation in the knee joint.
 
As research continues to show us time and time again, our diets, what we consume as fuel for our bodies, can help or hurt us.
 
While this study is not a traditional trial where one group eats diet x and another diet y, the findings are certainly interesting.
 
So if you want to try a diet to help your aching joints, the Mediterranean might be a good choice!

Does Age Affect The Success Of Stem Cell Treatments?

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This is a question we usually asked by older patients.

 

It’s no surprise either.

 

As we age our body is much less efficient at doing many things, including healing itself.

Why would a stem cell treatment be any different?

 

The thing is, there’s not much evidence showing that these treatments are less effective for older patients.

 

If you even look at our testimonials, we have fantastic success stories of folks who are 60+ that have had tremendous results with these treatments.

 

Based on common sense and data, you’d think that if an elderly person used their own stem cells for these treatments, it wouldn’t be as effective.

Using younger stem cells would then be the way to go.

 

But, evidence has shown that this isn’t the case.

 

It has been found, based on THOUSANDS of cases that there is no correlation between a patient’s age and the success of their stem cell treatment.

 

This means that older patients do just as well, if not better in some cases, than their younger counterparts.

 

The only exception found is when it comes to arthritis, specifically in the hip.

 

This was only the case for those who received treatment at 55+ years old for it and where their symptoms had already progressed quite a bit.

 

Despite the “here say”, there is no substantial evidence that shows age is a driving factor in non successful stem cell treatments.

 

Just be aware of the fact that, like any procedure, there is always a success and failure rate. This is generally where many of the rumors and non factual arguments come up.

 

On the upside, there is so much more evidence that proves stem cell treatments are just as viable for older patients.

Something You’re Doing Every Day That Will Destroy Your Mobility.

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We’ve all done it.

It’s been a hard week, we want to have a lazy Saturday, so we load up our favorite show on Netflix.

One episode becomes two, two turns into three, and next thing you know you’re on season six of Lost and still don’t know what the heck is happening.

Most call this “binge-watching”.

Although we know we’re being utterly lazy, many of us see it as something harmless.

At least if done from time to time.

Moderation is key, of course, but what happens if you’re a relentless binge watcher?

Study after study has shown that the benefits of physical activity will trickle through life and treat you well in old age.

These activities improve your biomechanics and muscle coordination. Our emotional stability and brain function.

It even increases the intake of oxygen to the body and eases the symptoms of arthritis throughout your life.

This isn’t everything but I won’t wear you out with the details here in this one post. Simply showing the vast benefits of physical activity should be enough for now.

A much more recent study is now showing that the earlier we engage in physical activity the better mobility we will have as we age.

One of the most notable parts of this study?

Less sitting.. Specifically, less sitting in front of the T.V.

This study with 134,000 subjects recorded the effects of varied activity levels as the subjects age. These studies began 1995-1996 and 2004-2005.

The subjects were required to record the time they spent sitting, sitting in front of the T.V., and weekly physical activity. Findings, after this eight year study, were then recorded and published.

The results, in those that were active (Greater than 7 hours of activity), who sat less than 6 hours a day, did not have any sitting induced mobility issues.

Risk of mobility issues rose in subjects of this active group the more hours they sat throughout the day. Generally, greater than 7 hours. 

Those active less than 3 hours, and who sat more than 3 hours were twice as likely to experience mobility issues as opposed to the more active group.

So, even if you’re not sitting around, less activity can result in loss of mobility.

And inversely, a moderate amount of sitting won’t result in loss of mobility if we stay active regularly.

The single exception? Yep, you guessed it. T.V. watchers. More specifically, binge watchers.

Across all activity levels, sitting in front of the T.V. after your regular day filled (or not) with sitting did ,correlate to loss of mobility. Loss of mobility became quite apparent in subjects when they watched T.V. for 3+ hours a day compared to those who only watched T.V. 1-2 hours.

So, do you think you can cut own on the binge watching?

The sessions of watching “Lost” with no end in sight?

If not, can you be more active while watching T.V.?

No matter what your answer is, the results speak for themselves. More T.V. equals less mobility.

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