Aging & Strength: Stem Cells May Hold the Key

Until recently, stem cells were known as the endurance-boosting, quick-healing treatment only available to elite professional athletes and the super-rich. Today, stem cell therapy has become more mainstream, affordable and readily practiced for several conditions from chronic arthritic joint pain to rejuvenating facials. However, what if stem cells could not only help to heal your body, but also keep it young and strong? That’s a question that some scientists, like Dr. Dongsheng Cai at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, are asking and wanted to find out. His findings may surprise you.

What Are Stem Cells?

Simply put, stem cells are the very building blocks of our bodies – each person is born with them, and they are a vital element to trigger our body’s healing process when we become injured. Scientists and progressive doctors have long known that stem cells have the incredible ability to target damaged or injured tissue in the body and then repair and regenerate new, healthy tissue in its place. Today stem cell technology is being used as effective therapies for everything from sports injuries to treatments for heart disease and cancer. Many doctors and scientists feel that we’re only beginning to understand the full potential impact of stem cells – including impacting how we age, stay youthful and strong.

How Stem Cells Affect Aging

Aging is an inevitable process that our bodies go through. As we age, our stem cells age with us, and our bodies suffer from age-induced deterioration. Doctors are now discovering that stem cells play a play an essential role in how quickly we age – and asking if it’s reversible by injecting various parts of our body, including our brain, with new, healthy stem cells. When stem cells age, their ability to renew deteriorates, and their ability to differentiate into various cell types also becomes altered – we’re now finding if that cell deterioration has any health implications.

Can Stem Cells Be the Real Fountain of Youth?

Dr. Cai was able to locate the specific cells that are responsible for the aging process during his studies. His findings showed that when he injected mice with new stem cells into a region of the brain called the hypothalamus, it influenced how quickly they aged. Incredibly, it slowed down the aging process. His abstract stated “In conclusion, aging speed is substantially controlled by hypothalamic stem cells, partially through the release of exosomal miRNAs.” It might not be like bathing in the fountain of youth, but it could be comparable to adding a few drops of youth water to your body, to slow down the aging process. You can read more about Dr. Cai’s study here.

Stem Cells Effect on Muscle Strength

Stem cells affect overall aging, but also our strength as we age. As early as your 30’s the size and strength of your muscles beings to decline, but new studies are showing that stem cells may hold a key to slowing muscle loss as we age.

“Even an elite trained athlete, who has high absolute muscle strength will still experience a decline with age,” said Joe Chakkalakal, assistant professor of Orthopaedics in the Center for Musculoskeletal Research at University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). Chakkalakal is leading a study investigating how muscle loss occurs in mice and trying to figure out how humans might avoid it.

He’s discovered that the loss of muscle stem cells is the main driving force behind muscle decline in old age in mice, and he and other researchers are hoping to develop a drug or therapy that can slow muscle stem cell loss and muscle decline in the future.

Read more about this URMC study and Chakkalakal’s research here.

The Future of Stem Cells

Doctors are actively studying further and newer applications for stem cell therapies, such as treatments for spinal injuries, cancer, and if and how stem cells can slow down the effects of aging on the body.

At Regenerative Aesthetics & Lasers NW, we offer stem cell therapy for the following common conditions:

Dr. Kamson at Regenerative Aesthetics & Lasers NW makes it his top priority to stay on top of the latest findings, and up to date on the scientific literature regarding stem cell news, so he can then make those treatments available to his patients. Contact us today to find out if you’re a candidate for stem cell therapy, and how it can benefit you.

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