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How Does Cell Regeneration Work?

Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights

Cellular health is an increasingly popular topic as we learn more and more about how our cells determine our overall health and how we age. The foundation of our health is in our cells, which means the healthier our cells are, the healthier we are.

Cells have the ability to regenerate and repair themselves when they are damaged. However, the regenerative process and cellular repair can only happen so many times.

In other words, cell regeneration is finite. To understand how cells regenerate and repair, we need to understand what can cause them damage in the first place.

Let’s learn about the life cycle of cells, what damages them, and how they regenerate and repair.

Understanding Cell Regeneration

Your cells make up the organs and tissues in your body that make up your entire system. Most of our cells have the ability to regenerate or repair themselves when damaged.

Some animals, like salamanders, can create entirely new body parts through limb regeneration when a limb has undergone amputation. A hydra, a small freshwater organism, can duplicate its entire body when divided in half.

Studying these organisms helps us piece together the basic science of cell regeneration and may one day allow us to stimulate more progressive regeneration in humans. Regeneration research is important, especially when it comes to figuring out the secrets to healthy aging so our cells can thrive for longer.

Types of Regeneration

Cells can regenerate several different ways across different species. Some of the most common mechanisms cells use to regenerate are blastemas, compensatory hypertrophy, and organogenesis.

  • Blastema formation. Some animals, like lobsters and catfish, are able to regenerate entire body parts by creating a blastema. A blastema is a collection of cells that quickly replicates the missing tissue of the organism. Tail regeneration is another example of blastema formation. A zebrafish, for instance, can replace an entire fin through this process of growing blastema cells.
  • Compensatory hypertrophy. This type of regeneration allows organs, such as the liver, to grow and accommodate for damaged parts. For instance, if a portion of the liver is damaged, the remaining, healthy part of the liver grows to the original size of the liver allowing it to function as it did before it was damaged.
  • Organogenesis. Organogenesis refers to the way embryonic organs develop, but some invertebrates, like the planarian flatworm, are able to use this type of development for cellular regeneration. The planarian can reproduce its entire body from one single neoblast, a type of cell that is foundational to the flatworm. The human body has these same types of pathways, and by studying planarians, we can learn how we might one day be able to extend this science to our own bodies.

In addition to compensatory hypertrophy, humans and some other mammals can also regenerate cells on a more limited basis. Good examples of the cell regeneration that happens in our bodies every day are the formation of scabs over cuts, hair and nail growth, scars, and the repair and healing of fractured bones.

What About Stem Cells?

Stem cells are cells that are able to turn into specialized cells.

You can think of a stem cell like flour. Flour is a basic ingredient used in numerous different baked goods. Flour (with additional ingredients) can be used to create a cake, donut, or cookie. The foundational element is the same but the end result is different.

Stem cells are similar in that they can form different cell types. Red blood cells, nerve cells, or even heart cells can be created from a stem cell, which is what makes them so important. Stem cells can also renew millions of times. Many of the body’s specialized cells aren’t able to regenerate in this manner.

Using embryonic stem cells could allow us to repair damage to the human body.. By studying how stem cells create other cell types we can learn how to potentially recreate these cells on a larger basis, like recreating tissues and organs. This is referred to as regenerative medicine.

Cell Regeneration and Aging

As we age, our cells age also. Aging cells have a few distinct characteristics that make them less functional than younger cells. Cells have a lifespan, and once they’ve reached it, the cells will no longer regenerate.

As cells age, they begin to decline. This is called cellular degradation. Cells become weak, fragile, and produce less energy.

When our cells begin to degrade, two distinct things happen when they regenerate:

  1. The process takes longer. You can observe this by comparing the length of time it takes an elderly person to heal from an injury compared to a child.
  2. The DNA may not be replicated correctly. Each cell that regenerates carries with it the cell-specific DNA needed to become a new cell. With each new regeneration, some of the DNA is eroded, making it less and less effective.

Taking care of our cells by focusing on cellular health can help our cells last longer, regenerate properly, and keep us feeling more youthful.

Cellular Health

There’s a lot we can do to support our cellular health — when we think in terms of improving our health, we usually think about changing our diet and getting a little more exercise, and while these changes are good and necessary (and beneficial for your cells), there is more we can do when it comes to cellular support!

Improving cellular health begins by focusing on ways we can help our cells become resilient as they age. There are several factors that can harm our cellular health that simple lifestyle adjustments can help to address.

Cellular Damage

Cells decline as they age, but the process can be quickened by certain external stressors, many of which we can prevent. Free radical damage refers to oxidation of cells by both internal and external factors.

Free radicals are unbalanced molecules that are in a constant search to become balanced. To become balanced, they steal components of other molecules, leaving the cell where that molecule resides damaged.

We can protect our cells from oxidative stress by avoiding sources of free radicals like:

  • Pollution
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Alcohol
  • UV rays from the sun
  • Industrial cleaning products

We can also protect our cells from free radical damage by ensuring we get enough antioxidants in our diet. Antioxidants act like a shield to our cells, offering their own resources to free radicals so our cells remain safe.

Protecting Our Cells

In addition to antioxidants, there are other ways we can keep our cells healthy.

While helping dolphins live healthier lives, Dr. Stephanie Venn-Watson, a veterinary epidemiologist, discovered that some geriatric dolphins had less age-related illnesses than others.

Dr. Venn-Watson found that higher circulating levels of a particular fatty acid were responsible for many of the health benefits that were seen in the healthiest dolphins. She went further, looking into the health benefits of this molecule in human populations and 3 yrs later, published her findings in Nature's Scientific Reports in 2020.

What fatty acid was responsible for the health benefits you ask?

The fatty acid was C15:0, aka pentadecanoic acid, an odd-chain, essential, saturated fatty acid that can reverse cellular aging, giving our cells a fighting chance to remain healthy as they age.*

C15:0 and Your Cells

Keeping our cells resilient is within reach with C15:0. This sturdy fatty acid integrates itself into our cells and helps keep them strong.*

C15:0 is found in trace amounts, primarily in whole-fat dairy products. But simply increasing your intake of full fat dairy may not be the best way to get more of this essential fatty acid, as you would have to consume a lot of the unhealthy, even-chain saturated fats, as well as the extra sugar and calories.

The solution? Fatty15, the first and only C15:0 supplement that contains just one ingredient, FA15™, the pure, vegan-friendly version of C15:0.

Elevate your cells. Elevate your self.

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Fatty15 helps support your cells in three important ways:*

  1. Improves mitochondrial function. The mitochondria in our cells generate power to carry out cellular function. As our cells age, mitochondrial function declines, leaving our cells sluggish. Fatty15 improves mitochondrial function by 45%, so our cells can generate energy more efficiently and give us back some of that youthful energy no matter what age we are.
  2. Strengthens cell membranes. Our cells’ membranes protect them from external stressors, but as they age they can become weak and flimsy. Fatty15 integrates into our cell membranes, keeping them fortified and strong.
  3. Improves cellular signaling. By activating PPAR receptors located throughout our bodies, fatty15 helps bring back homeostasis to regulatory processes like sleep, mood, appetite, and even immunity, which is why people who take fatty15 have reported improvements like thicker hair, deeper sleep, healthier skin, and more energy.

Cellular Support, the Fatty Way

Cells repair themselves to form new cells and to begin tissue regeneration. Cellular regeneration depends on our cellular health and the cells’ ability to continue replicating its DNA.

We can support our cellular health by making better lifestyle choices, eating a balanced diet, getting enough exercise, and taking the only supplement that contains cell-rejuvenating C15:0, fatty15.

Give your cells a fighting chance and feel healthier for longer with fatty15 — get started with your first 90-day supply here.

Sources:

Self-Repairing Cells|NCBI

Epimorphic regeneration of the mouse digit tip is finite | Stem Cell Research & Therapy | Full Text

Regeneration|NIH.gov

Reviewed by Eric Venn-Watson, MD, MBA.

Profile photo for Eric Venn-Watson

Eric Venn-Watson M.D.

Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.

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