By Tereza Hubkova, M.D.
You likely have heard about stem cells and their ability to regenerate and rejuvenate our damaged tissues and organs. Stem cells have gotten a bad reputation because public debate has focused on embryonic stem cells. But focusing on non-embryonic stem cells allows us to leave extensive moral and ethical discussion behind.
The fact is we all have stem cells in our bodies even as adults. They are hidden in small nests within certain tissues throughout our bodies. Not only are they hidden in those nests, they have the ability to migrate to the areas in which they are most needed to regenerate and repair damaged and aging tissues. Unfortunately, they don’t do their job as well in humans as in other creatures. Lizards or newts, for example, can easily grow a new tail if the old one is broken.
It turns out that certain herbs and nutrients can stimulate stem cells, protect them from oxidative stress, and perhaps even encourage their travel to desired locations.
These compounds and foods are oleic acid (from the omega 9 mono-unsaturated fatty acid family found primarily in olive oil, but to a lesser degree in pecans, peanuts, chicken and turkey fat) and linolenic acid, blueberries, blue-green algae, green tea and vitamin D3. Other helpers in this process include beets, spinach, grape seed extract, fucoidan (polysaccharide found in various species of brown seaweed such as kombu, wakame or hijiki), vitamin B12, and folate. What’s also important to remember is that many of these compounds don’t exhibit the same effect when used in isolation, as when used in combination with other the other compounds mentioned. We all need a whole symphony of nutrients to thrive.
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