Stem cell health supplements are beginning to become popular. Based on the published research, what should be in them? After all, not everybody has the tremendous resources needed to test various supplement ingredients with stem cells like we did in our advanced lab. Based on the research, it looks like anti-oxidants are a safe bet.
Cells make copies of themselves by dividing into two new cells. Stem cells are known for being able to divide longer than normal cells-anywhere from almost indefinitely (embryonic stem cells) to many times (adult stem cells). When older cells divide, rarely, it doesn’t go well. Each cell may end up with slight errors in it’s DNA. Since DNA is the blueprint for how the cell should work, these stem cells with bad DNA usually die off. This whole concept of cells dividing and being able to maintain normal DNA is known as genomic stability. In a normal healthy person, when the genome becomes unstable, DNA repair mechanisms spring into action to help repair the errors.
While this study is older than most of the research we review, I thought it was so important that it’s worth discussing. In essence, the researchers took embryonic and adult stem cells (cardiac) and grew them until they acquired errors in their DNA (genomic instability). They then exposed the cells to both a physiologic dose and a high dose of various anti-oxidants. They found that the physiologic dose was needed for the DNA repair machinery to work properly so that the cells could stay genomically stable. They also found that high doses had the opposite effect.
The upshot? Deciding what to put into a supplement is tough, especially when you don’t have the ability to test the ingredients with real cells. However, anti-oxidants based on our lab research and independent studies like this one seem to be a safe bet. This is why we included several known anti-oxidants in our stem cell support formula.