When we think about food, our first thought is probably not how the nutrients within what we’re eating are essentially building blocks for many internal processes that are going on every day in our bodies – even down at a cellular level. Granted, not everything that we consume is healthy…there are plenty of toxic things that can get into our bodies that aren’t helpful at all. However, what you put into your mouth every day can certainly set the stage for how well stem cells within the body grow, proliferate, and even protect against toxins.
Intermittent fasting, or a cycle of time between when you eat and don’t eat, is a popular trend in the fitness and wellness world that can help to boost those stem cells as well. This is due to the fact that while you are fasting, your cells are repairing themselves, and are essentially cleaning out old, defective proteins inside the cells. Intermittent fasting can be done in multiple different ways, but one prime example would be a scenario such as the 16-8 method; this is done by limiting what hours of the day you can eat, such as between 11 am-7 pm or something similar. Breakfast is usually skipped during this protocol as well. Even though there are many different ways to break up your eating and fasting time periods, speak with your physician to see what they recommend in regards to improving your metabolism and approaching this health and wellness goal appropriately.
If you’re not looking to fast like this, you can always supplement your diet with foods rich in vitamins and minerals. These micronutrients are not only necessary for fueling appropriately during the day, growing bones, balancing fluids in the body, and boosting your immune system – they’re also very important in reducing inflammation and helping stem cells grow.
While there are many different types of vitamins and minerals, one in particular that is water-soluble (essentially, these vitamins are able to dissolve in water and aren’t stored very well in the body) is called niacin, or Vitamin B3. This vitamin is broken down and is a part of each cell in the body, and it aids in breaking down the food that you eat into usable energy in the mitochondria of the cell. This powerhouse then increases how fast stem cells are made!
You can find niacin in plentiful amounts in meats like grass-fed beef, salmon, chicken and even in products such as eggs. Other foods that have been found useful in helping stem cells to grow include the following:
Berries – not only are these high in antioxidants, they’re also high in flavonoids, which help repair damage to cells.
Broccoli/Broccoli sprouts – this green cruciferous veggie helps to decrease inflammation in the body and up regulates >300 anti-inflammatory enzymes and detoxification pathways
Nuts – typically best when unroasted and unsalted, nuts are a fabulous source of Omega-3’s, which are necessary in order to reduce inflammation.
So, what are Omega-3’s, and why are they so important in relation to stem cells? These fatty acids aren’t made by the body, so you must consume them through the foods that you eat – and are typically found in foods like chia and flax seeds, grass fed beef, and salmon, to name a few. Omega-3’s play critical roles within the body, so that’s why it’s important to supplement your diet with something like fish oil if you don’t consume enough. These fatty acids not only protect the body against illness, but they are also a potent factor in protecting the body from inflammation.
In regards to stem cells, Omega-3’s may have the ability to help them grow significantly – which is wonderful news, especially if you’re needing your body to make more! Omega-3’s are also able to be incorporated into the cell membranes throughout the body, and have been found to enrich the membrane to be both protective and able to change signals – and therefore help stem cells to repair and rejuvenate.
If you’re looking to incorporate Omega-3’s into your diet, or have questions regarding intermittent fasting, speak with your local Boulder functional medicine doctor for more information!
What else provides those stem cells with the nutrient so they can help you repair-damaged tissue? N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), is a potent anti-oxidant that we use for many reasons. It can protect stem cells from becoming damaged from environmental toxins and it can promote the growth of stem cells when exposed. This sulfur based amino acid can also help fight infections and helps to produce glutathione, your bodies strongest anti-oxidant!
What about drinking something pleasant to improve stem cells? Organic green tea (EGCG) has been shown through medical trials to both increase healthy stem cells and decrease production on cancerous stem cells. You may not have realized that cancer produces its own stem cells! Green tea seems to have its impact through the polyphenols and its acids on promoting healthy gut bacteria. Daily consumption of green tea is a wonderful way to promote your stem cells into a healthier state!
Lastly we wanted to mention a food that we are absolutely in love with – Oleic acid. This is actually better known as olive oil! Olive oil is known to produce the “Mediterranean Diet” effect and has a huge list of benefits. With Mesenchymal Stem Cells, it can increase viability, differentiation, proliferation and the cells ability to regenerate. The polyphenols seem to be the reason and these are what give the oil its natural color. Keep in mind first press oils done by mechanical means are the only ones we recommend!
So, what is our list we recommend to keep stem cells happy and to promote their ability to help us regenerate?
- Fasting, either intermittent or via restricted time periods throughout day
- Niacin or a high potency B vitamin or Multi vitamin complex
- Higher doses Omega 3 fatty acids found from animal sources
- NAC at higher doses
- Green tea / EGCG
- High quality Olive Oil
Whether you have invested in Stem Cells via regenerative medicine or you just want to age with grace, these nutrients can help you remind these critical cells that they are well taken care of – and they will keep regenerating and providing the benefits of long term, abundant health!
Interested in attaining the best quality products listed above? Check out our online portal for supplements! We stock the world’s best (serious, not even slightly joking) olive oil in house. Come in and check out our latest selection!
Contact Dr. Autoimmune if you need product recommendations and we can’t wait to let your stem cells soar!
Functional medicine, functional neurology and regenerative medicine for Boulder and the Denver metro area.
Ian Hollaman, DC, MSc, IFMCP