Do you agree with the adage that says you are what you eat? Do you understand that at the cellular level, stem cells are the same cells that differentiate into all other kinds of tissue? If you answered yes’ to both questions, you have just acknowledged that diet can affect stem cell activity. No worries though. There is scientific evidence to prove that this is the case.
A number of different studies have shown links between diet and stem cell activity. One such study looked at the effect of a high-fat diet on developing certain kinds of cancer, while two others investigated the relationship between the glycemic index and diabetes. Both studies were undertaken to better understand how patient diet affected stem cells.
Stem Cells and Cancer
A Whitehead Institute/MIT study released in 2016 revealed that a high-fat diet increases the chances of developing intestinal cancer. The premise of the study was not unusual inasmuch as medical science has long suspected a link between cancer and high-fat diets. Until 2016 though, the mechanism behind this link was not well understood.
According to the authors of the study, intestinal stem cells reproduce at a faster rate in people with high-fat diets. But that’s not all. There are other cells that behave like stem cells in that they can reproduce themselves and differentiate into other kinds of cells. These are known as stem-like cells. They are the cells most likely to lead to the development of intestinal tumors, according to the study.
Researchers discovered that a high-fat diet encourages higher volumes of both kinds of cells in the intestine. This suggests that a high-fat diet can contribute to a higher incidence of intestinal cancer.
Stem Cells and Diabetes
A study dating back to 2011 looked at type II diabetes and the body’s effort to repair the damage done by the disease. What researchers discovered was astounding, especially as it relates to stem cells
First and foremost, people diagnosed with type II diabetes tend to have fewer stem cells circulating in their systems. This means fewer stem cells to repair the damage. More importantly, poor control of blood sugar appears to be the cause of the lower stem cell volume.
A 2006 study sheds a little more light on the subject. This study showed that treating type II diabetes with the goal of regulating blood sugar levels more consistently actually increases the number of circulating stem cells. It is assumed that this would better enable the body to repair some of the damage done by the disease.
The implication of these two studies combined suggest that adopting a better diet to help control blood sugar levels would help the diabetic’s body produce and utilize more stem cells. This would hopefully translate into better control of the disease along with less long-term damage.
It all Makes Sense
Stem cell training provider Apex Biologix says that the conclusions reached by the three studies make perfect sense. Stem cells need fuel to do what they do, and healthy fuel would logically be better than unhealthy fuel. We already know how diet affects things like the heart and muscles, so why wouldn’t it affect stem cells the same way?
Scientific evidence suggests that diet can affect stem cell activity. As such, doctors and clinics offering certain kinds of stem cell therapies might also want to consider learning how a healthier diet can enhance stem cell procedures. If improved diet can improve what doctors and clinics are doing in the office, patient outcomes will naturally improve too.