1. Check Your Vitamin D Levels
In the last decade, many things have been discovered about vitamin D such as most of us are deficient and need more despite sun exposure. One of the latest findings is that vitamin D levels are related to how well your stem cells are growing inside your body.
At the Black Family Stem Cell Institute (part of the Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, New York, NY), researchers discovered that the vitamin D receptor called Vdr is sitting right there in embryonic stem cells. This receptor is downregulated during the time the stem cells mature.
The scientists increased the signaling to Vdr by adding the vitamin D3 agonist called calcitriol. An agonist is a substance that makes everything go well in the direction the reaction should go. The result of this was that the stem cell colonies in the bone marrow and liver increased their numbers remarkably.
The vitamin D3 was definitely a plus for making stem cell numbers grow. This tells us there is a way to boost your own stem cells nutritionally. The vitamin D3 – and calcitriol acted as growth factors and can be counted on for stem cell growth.
2. Check to See If You Have Systemic Inflammation
A simple blood test called the CRP test (C-reactive protein) tests the level of inflammation that’s in your body. The higher the inflammation throughout your body, the more interference you’ll have with stem cells doing their work in the body.
Systemic inflammation can come from a number of causes but the top three causes that people don’t consider are a vitamin D deficiency, magnesium deficiency, and being overweight. If you are vitamin D deficient, the answer is simple: take vitamin D supplements until levels reach normal and then take a maintenance dose so they don’t fall once they reach normal levels.
If you are magnesium deficient, the answer is simple: take magnesium supplements until levels reach normal. Then take your maintenance dose. The best test to see if this is a major cause of inflammation regarding magnesium is a red blood cell ionic magnesium level.
If you’re overweight, losing 10% of your body weight is often enough to lower the levels of CRP substantially.
If you can decrease the inflammation in the body, stem cells can reproduce better and you’ll have higher numbers of them. An anti-inflammatory diet is a diet that avoids sugar and processed foods as well as oils that increase inflammation such as canola oil, vegetable oil or other “seed” oils. Olive oil and coconut oil are not inflammatory.
You have a lot of control over inflammation in your body – and thus can directly control the rate of your stem cell multiplication. Check out our full article here.
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3. Zinc Supplements
Zinc is found in eggs, seafood and meat as well as Rocky Mountain oysters. This unusual ‘oyster’ dish is found in areas of the country where young animals are castrated, such as in the West and in western Canada. Dark chicken meat is also relatively high in zinc as are black beans.
Korean scientists found that zinc creates new bone cells from mesenchymal stem cells and that higher amounts of zinc in the diet meant better differentiation of stem cells. The cells became the exact cells that were needed in the situation. Are you getting enough zinc in your diet now? One good way to find out is with a simple serum zinc test.
Researchers in Iran at the University of Medical Sciences in Hamadan took human adipose stem cells differentiating into cells of the nervous system and exposed them to calcium as well as insulin and another well-known inducer of stem cell growth in the laboratory.
Calcium fostered the differentiation of the stem cells, increasing the numbers of neuron-like cells, plus it instantly increased the numbers of the markers of the new cells of the nervous system, proving its effectiveness.
The scientists didn’t make any general statements on how calcium might be able to help our own stem cell growth but based on this and other similar studies here, it’s quite obvious what could be inferred. When you get your nutrition right, then you will boost your body’s own army of stem cells. Are you getting enough calcium in your diet?
5. Astaxanthin Supplements
Another nutrient that has been found to increase the stem cell growth rate is called astaxanthin. This is a carotenoid found in salmon roe, crab, algae, red trout, shrimp and lobster, and zinc.
Astaxanthin allows adipose stem cells to become oligodendrocytes, which are the stem cells for the nervous system. Thus, this nutrient would be a potential good addition to one’s diet if the stem cell treatments need boosting for your nervous system disorder such as multiple sclerosis.
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6. Vitamin E
There’s a lot of research proving that vitamin E can boost stem cell production, especially in the last 12 years. Here’s a recap of some of it:
- Chinese scientists used vitamin E along with bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells to see if they would repair kidney damage in animals and found positive results. The rats that had the vitamin E had the lowest creatinine levels and the highest urea nitrogen compared to the non-treated rats. They had less necrosis (killing) of the kidney cells, degeneration and expansion of the renal tubule. The combined treatment was better than either treatment alone.
- Chinese researchers at a different university discovered that delta-tocopherol boosts the production of nervous system stem cells and their maturation. They believe that one of the ways vitamin E does this is to elevate L-type calcium channel activity, which increases neuronal differentiation.
- At the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute in Bethesda, MD, scientists found that another form of vitamin E, gamma-tocotrienol stimulates high levels of granulocyte colony stimulating factor (GCSF) in mice. The GCSF is a key cytokine used to stimulate the production of new red blood cells and mobilize hematopoietic stem cell and progenitor stem cells in blood. The GCSF also stimulates vascular endothelial growth factor, which is critical for endothelial progrenitor mobilization.
At the same laboratory, scientists found that radiation treatments don’t have to reduce the stem cell production of red blood cells and white blood cells. Not if gamma-tocotrienol is used as a pre-treatment. Generally it only takes 2 days before the stem cells and progenitor cells are killed – and patients begin suffering side effects greatly.
Yet, when treated with the vitamin E, they recovered 90% of their stem cell numbers by day 7. Although the study was an animal study, it gives credence to the use of nutritional antioxidants prior to radiation treatments for cancer. Preserving one’s stem cells are of utmost importance.
The bottom line here may be that your nutritional status determines whether or not you boost your stem cell counts.
However, it’s not just nutrients that are important. Pay attention to the foods you eat – eat a plant-based diet full of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds for maximum polyphenol and carotenoid intake. These could conceivably be controlling your body’s own stem cell regeneration.