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Stem Cells for Anti-Aging

Mankind has searched for the “fountain of youth” for centuries.  Recently, there has been a great deal of interest in the use of stem cells to combat the effects of aging.  Can stem cells be “the fountain of youth” or a part of it?  Stem cells have been shown to provide significant benefit in numerous areas including arthritis, neuropathy, and helping heal acute injuries.  This article will discuss the principles and current state of the effort to combat the effects of aging.  It will also introduce the use of stem cells in combating the effects of aging, or anti-aging.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes aging?
Although significant research has gone into the causes of aging, we still have much to learn.  Much of aging appears to be how our cells are programmed.  As we age, we produce fewer and fewer new cells to replace and replenish old cells.  The things like collagen and elastin that support our cells are also produced in smaller amounts.  We also have fewer stem cells as we age.  Stem cells are responsible for most of healing and cell renewal in our bodies.  Possessing fewer numbers of stem cells is thought to be a significant contributor to aging.  Some other known contributors to aging are:
  • Diet, some foods that can protect us and others can do harm
  • Environmental factors such as sunlight and injuries accumulate over time
  • Genetics, some families and individuals live longer due to their genetic makeup
  • Disease.  As we live longer we have more opportunities to develop disease and diseases can cause aging

We can change our diets and avoid some of the environmental factors.  However, we can’t change our genes or avoid all disease.  There are certainly other factors that contribute to aging that we do not yet understand.  As we gain a better understanding of aging, we are better able to combat its effects.
What can individuals do to combat aging?
How does modern medicine address aging?
What can stem cells do for the effects of disease?
What can stem cells do in cosmetic anti-aging?
How can stem cells impact general aging (just growing old)?

Conclusion

For many years, the most anyone could do to help themselves live longer and healthier was eat right and exercise.  Modern medicine added treatments for disease/disorders that has further added to longevity and good health.  Now stem cells have the potential to significantly add to both the duration and quality of our lives.  This science is in its infancy, but in the years to come may represent essentially a “fountain of youth” for generations to come.  A truly exciting subject with much more left to learn.

References:
1. The American Heart Association's Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations.  
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/Diet-and-Lifestyle-Recommendations_UCM_305855_Article.jsp#.WYjOCumQzIU

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