Can Your Gut Bacteria Optimize Stem Cells? Can It Hurt Your Stem Cells?

optimize stem cells

Since yesterday’s blog focused on how industrial farming is killing off your good gut bacteria, does this factor into how to optimize stem cells for a treatment. I frankly didn’t know the answer to this question, as the science of gut microbiota (the good bacteria in your gut that’s now considered another organ of your body) is evolving rapidly. I was surprised to find an excellent article that started to explore this topic and the answer (based on animal models), appears to be that there is a likely connection.

The science in the article is quite complex, so I’ve simplified it above. Basically, when rats are fed a bad modern fast food diet, this changes the composition of their gut bacteria. Some of the bad bacteria that crop up have cell walls that are rich in substances that the body recognizes as being an infection (lipopolysaccarides or endotoxins). This endotoxin reaction leads to increased activation of the body’s inflammatory process involving a type of white blood cells (CD14+ monocytes). This in turn has a negative influence on the stem cells in fat, causing them to want to become more fat and causing a “metabolic syndrome” (overweight, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, high inflammation). This also could be one reason that the fat stem cells taken from obese patients are less potent than those taken from thinner patients. 

So what can you do if you’re trying to optimize your stem cells for treatment? First, go Paleo! Meaning, ditch the modern fast food diet and eat only organic whole grains (to avoid the Roundup exposure) in moderation (this should not be the staple of your diet). Reduce sweets and high carbohydrate foods like bread and pasta. For information on diets that might help, see information on the Paleo diet, the Zone diet, or Atkins. Second, you might consider supplementing your gut bacteria. In fact, many prescription drugs will also hurt these important helpers, so looking for a daily supplement could help. I like iFlora (which is the one I take), but there are many on the market. Look for one that has many strains, including Bifidobacteria, which is associated with weight loss.

The upshot? You likely don’t think much about your gut bacteria when you think about stem cells. However, this extra “organ” is an important one to consider as paying attention to it could help your stem cells function better.

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Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications. View Profile

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NOTE: This blog post provides general information to help the reader better understand regenerative medicine, musculoskeletal health, and related subjects. All content provided in this blog, website, or any linked materials, including text, graphics, images, patient profiles, outcomes, and information, are not intended and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please always consult with a professional and certified healthcare provider to discuss if a treatment is right for you.

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