You’ve probably heard of stem cells before. Most likely it’s been in the context of a debate over their use in research. But do you know just what they are and how they can improve your health? Time for a little stem cell 101.
Your Body’s Cells
Most cells in your body are specialized. For example, in the brain you have neurons, in the blood you have red blood cells, and other cells comprise your muscles and bones. All of these cells carry your unique DNA
. The differentiating factor of the cells is that some of them have certain genes either turned on or off. The genes are encoded in the DNA. The genes are all the same. However, the gene expression differs. The genes expressed in a red blood cell are different to those expressed in a lung cell. The red blood cell will always stay a red blood cell. It is not able to change into a lung cell one day. But stem cells can. The cells within your body have to be replaced. Your taste buds, for instance, are replaced every ten days. Skin cells are replaced every two weeks, and your liver cells are turned over every 300-500 days. The cells that do the replacement are called adult stem cells.
The Stem Cell Difference
Stem cells are unspecialized cells that give rise to specialized cells in a process called differentiation. When a stem cell divides, the new cells can either remain as stem cells or become other cells that have a specialized function. There are two main types of stem cells:
- Adult stem cells
- Embryonic stem cells
Adult stem cells are also known as somatic stem cells. They can be used to repair and maintain the tissues in which they are found (the brain, skin, and bone marrow). This is hugely beneficial if you suffer an injury. Embryonic stem cells are located in the blastocyst phase of an embryo, when it is just 4-5 days old. While adult stem cells can be grown in culture for a period of time, they cannot grow for as long or as fast as embryonic stem cells. Also, adult stem cells used in surgery are more likely to be rejected than embryonic stem cells.
Stem Cell Medical Use
During a bone marrow transplant operation, stem cells
are injected into a patient who has somehow damaged his bone marrow. The stem cells then create new bone marrow cells. This allows the body to once again produce healthy blood cells. Stem cells can also be used for organ and tissue regeneration. If the cells differentiate in just the right way, they can act as a renewable source of replacement cells. For example, stem cells beneath the skin can be used to make skin cells for burn victims. This can have the result of reducing the reliance on organ donation. It would also make the wait list for transplants a lot shorter. Stem cells also have the potential to replace damaged brain tissue. This will help to treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s
. Embryonic stem cells could differentiate and form insulin producing cells that could treat people with Type 1 Diabetes. In fact, the potential list of treatment applications for stem cells is endless.
Stem Cell Controversy
The controversy with stem cells involves those taken from embryos. These cells are not obtained from fertilized eggs in a woman’s body. Rather, they are gathered from eggs in an in-vitro fertilization clinic. These are the eggs that were not implanted in a mother’s uterus and were willingly donated for research purposes. The debate revolves around whether a life was destroyed in the process of taking the stem cell for medical application.
The use of stem cells is endless. Fortunately we don’t have to rely on medical injection of stem cells to reap the amazing benefits of these unspecialized cells. There are now completely natural products available that will stimulate your body’s ability to mobilize your own stem cells. They will also increase the number of stem cells within the body. One of the immediate benefits of a higher stem cell count is that they include what are called endothelial precursor cells (EPC), which are responsible for upholding the health of your blood vessels
. Stem cells offer an exciting new direction in medical research. Maximize their potential in your body by supplementing with all natural products, like Stem-Kine, that will maximize your stem cell activity and number to give you a powerful advantage when your body needs to renew itself.