It is no secret that many Americans suffer from gastrointestinal disorders, especially as they age. This is because, like cells throughout the rest of the body, the cells within the intestinal tract are quite frankly put through the ringer with time. When we are younger, these cells are automatically replaced every few days, encouraging a healthy network of intestinal stem cells. In a recent study, it was discovered that aging actually can have a very serious negative impact on these particular stem cells, resulting in a higher risk of gastrointestinal disorders. This is where stem cell therapy comes in.
Over the last several weeks we have discussed how stem cells can help repair both the brain and heart, so it should come as no surprise that we are seeing more studies come out highlighting the many wonderful uses of stem cells. When it comes to stem cells and the gut, researchers at MIT and the University of Tokyo have made a breakthrough. Their research has shown just how much of a toll aging takes on the intestine and the stem cells within that area of the body. This new information is showing us that stem cells are even more beneficial to the human body – especially the aging human body.
Stem Cell Therapy and the Intestines
The study mentioned above has been focusing on reversing the effect of deteriorating intestinal stem cells with mice, and it’s working. Researchers have been treating older mice with a compound aimed at increasing the number of intestinal stem cells. Through their observations, this compound may actually “help protect the gut from age-related damage.” According to Leonard Guarente, “one of the issues with aging is organ dysfunction, accompanied by a decline in the activity of the stem cells that nurture and replenish that organ, so this is a potentially very useful intervention point to either slow or reverse aging.”
Guarente, along with other researchers and biologists, have been comparing young mice with older mice, discovering that their intestinal stem cell populations have been decreasing with age. When researchers removed these stem cells and studied them, they found they had lower levels of sirtuin, which is the protein needed to support a healthy gut. By using the specially formulated compound mentioned earlier, they were able to activate sirtuin, eventually increasing the prevalence of intestinal stem cells.
This is a groundbreaking study that shows just how far we have come in helping the body age gracefully and heal through stem cell research. To learn more or to schedule an appointment to discuss how stem cell therapy may be of benefit to you, please contact Texas Partners Healthcare Group today.