CELLUAR SENESCENCE: The little known cause of aging

Your health begins and ends with your cells. They are the foundation of all life – they make you who you are.

You start your life as just one tiny little cell, but by the time you reach adulthood, you have roughly 37 trillion cells inside your body. These cells help you carry oxygen to your lungs, digest food, transmit signals to the brain, and replenish your hormones.

When you’re young, your cells are constantly growing and dividing through a process called mitosis, which is when one cell divides and becomes two cells…which divide to become four cells…and on and on. This process of cellular division is the root of all life as we know it, and it keeps your body humming along – happy and healthy.

What happens as we age?

Our bodies have a built-in process that is believed to be a protective mechanism called cellular senescence. Senescence plays roles in normal development, maintains tissue homeostasis, and limits tumor progression. Jan van Deursen of the Mayo Clinic and Unity Biotechnology published an article showing evidence that “senescence guards against unrestricted growth of damaged cells” and that it “extends beyond tumor suppression into biological processes such as embryonic development, wound healing, tissue repair, and organismal aging.”

However, van Deuren and other researchers are finding that these senescent cells eventually start to wreak havoc as we age. In my best-selling book, The Longevity Equation, I point out that, “When your cells have had more than enough DNA damage, stress, and telomere shortening, they enter a state of growth arrest known as cellular senescence. This function is put in place to prevent damaged cells from turning into cancerous cells. However, in the process, it also stops allowing worn-out tissue to be replenished and rebuilt. Senescent cells often secrete inflammatory molecules that further damage the cellular environment, leading to chronic inflammatory conditions, including heart disease and osteoarthritis.” (P. 194)

A monumental discovery

The process of cellular senescence was discovered in 1961 by a young cellular biologist named Leonard Hayflick. Hayflick was studying how cells respond to viruses, but his experiments kept on running into a problem. Every time his cells would reach their fiftieth division, they would abruptly stop dividing. Initially, Hayflick thought that this was because his samples were contaminated, or he had made a mistake when he prepared the cells because, at the time, the scientific consensus was that human cells were immortal – that they could just keep on dividing forever.

Like every scientific breakthrough, Hayflick’s discovery initially caused a scandal because if he was right, it would upend everything scientists thought they knew about aging. Dozens of experiments were conducted to prove Hayflick wrong, but, in the end, they couldn’t do it, and eventually, the evidence was too great to be ignored. Everyone had to admit Hayflick had made a major discovery. Cells had a lifespan – a limited number of times they could divide – 50, to be precise – before they stop dividing forever. This became known as the Hayflick Limit.

Hayflick also discovered that when a cell reaches its fiftieth division, something strange happens. If you looked at your body under a microscope, starting at the very beginning of your life, you would see fresh, healthy, and young cells, but if we fast forward seventy years into the future and look again, we would see surprising changes in your cells. They’re called zombie cells, and even though they sound like something straight out of Hollywood, you probably have billions of them inside you right now. Zombie cells aren’t alive anymore, but they’re not totally dead yet either.  They are cells that have reached the end of their Hayflick Limit and can no longer divide, but they don’t go away. Instead, they get stuck inside you, in a state of suspended animation.

Again, from my book, The Longevity Equation, “Unlike other damaged cells, zombie cells don’t self-destruct or clear out of the way to make room for healthy cells. Instead, they stick around and interfere with the body’s natural rebuilding and replenishing mechanisms — which is a very bad thing for aging.” (P. 203) Zombie cells can turn surrounding, healthy cells into zombie cells, too. It’s like a toxic domino effect, and it means that the more zombie cells inside you, the faster you age.

Is there a solution?

Fifty years after Hayflick’s discovery, while studying aging in mice, Jan van Deursen and his colleagues at the Mayo Clinic found that one group of mice were showing signs of aging faster. When he looked closely, he found that the cells weren’t dividing like normal cells, but they weren’t dying, either. It was like they were trapped in a state of suspended animation. In other words, they looked just like the zombie cells Hayflick had discovered.

When van Deursen and his colleagues removed the mice’s zombie cells, mice that had been crippled by age suddenly began aging in reverse. Their bodies started to regenerate healthy tissue, their muscles stayed strong, their eyes were sharp and cataract-free, they could exercise for longer periods, and even their skin was plumper and more firm. It was like the longevity switch had suddenly been flipped ‘ON.’ In the nine years since van Deursen first published his findings, more than 32,000 additional studies have been conducted on zombie cells!!

What most people don’t realize is that your body actually has a built-in way to remove its zombie cells. It’s called autophagy [aw-tofuh-jee]. In Greek, it roughly translates to “self-eating.” Autophagy is your body’s own cellular recycling program. When a cell reaches the end of its Hayflick Limit and becomes a zombie cell, autophagy is supposed to break that cell down into its component parts and recycle it for use elsewhere.

When you’re young, this process actually works pretty well. Zombie cells are cleaned out of your body almost as soon as they appear, but the older you get, the number of zombie cells inside of you dramatically increases. And eventually, this overwhelms your body’s ability to clear them out.

Here’s the good news!

I have developed a potent blend of phytonutrients that can help stimulate autophagy and dramatically enhance the number of zombie cells that your body can eliminate. It’s the only supplement of its kind that works on a cellular level to help flush toxic zombie cells out of your body and pave the way for fresh, new, rejuvenating cells to take their place.

It’s called Restori-Cell, and it gives you a way to rewrite the script and change the way you think about aging. It boosts mental clarity, promotes youthful, all-day energy, and supports a natural, healthy weight. Restori-Cell meets the highest standards of quality and features five highly specialized nutrients in scientifically-supported doses:

·         BERBERINE HCL (Berberis aristata) (root): Studies have shown that berberine can lower unhealthy cholesterol and triglycerides, slash blood glucose levels and restore metabolic function, and protect human brain cells from toxic proteins that cause cognitive decline. South Korean researchers published a study that demonstrated how it activates a very special enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). It’s like the “autophagy master switch.” When your cells reach the end of their lifespan, AMPK tells your body it’s time to recycle the cell. It can help your body target the zombie cells that are sabotaging your health, flush them out of your body, and create space for healthy, fresh, and new cells to take their place. In fact, a study published in the journal Aging Cell found that it could extend the lifespan of mice by 16%! Berberine is such a potent cell-restoring nutrient that many people report that they can almost feel it working its magic.

·         HESPERIDIN (Citrus aurantium) (Citrus peel): Hesperidin is a special flavonoid extracted from the peel of bitter orange. It’s highly effective at helping you wipe away wrinkles and fine lines. That’s because zombie cells deplete your collagen, which is what keeps your skin firm, hydrated, and supple.  Hesperidin has been shown to stimulate the removal of those zombie cells and restore healthy collagen levels. It’s also been shown to strengthen your skin cells against environmental toxins, protect them from UV damage, and improve wound healing.

·         GYNOSTEMMA (Pentaphyllum) (leaf extract 20): Gynostemma is native to Japan, China, and Korea, where it’s long been called the ‘little herb of immortality.’ That’s because inside its leaves are powerful plant flavonoids called gypenosides that activate AMPK and help supercharge your natural autophagy. There is evidence that showed gynostemma could have powerful effects of weight gain associated with zombie cells. Another study demonstrated how gynostemma could improve nitric oxide production and help protect healthy cardiovascular function, support normal blood glucose levels, and promote a strong immune system.

·         QUERCETIN: Studies show that quercetin actually slows down the rate of cellular aging and can even rejuvenate old cells before they reach their Hayflick Limit. So, you might not even have to worry about zombie cells in the first place. Quercetin’s cell-protective benefits have been demonstrated to improve energy levels and increase exercise endurance. It’s also been shown to dramatically reduce pain. In a separate study, quercetin was even shown to reverse markers of chronic brain degeneration and improve performance on memory tests.

·         FISETIN: There’s truth in the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Fisetin is a natural plant compound found in fruits like apples and strawberries. Fisetin is one of the most exciting anti-aging discoveries of all time. Researchers have discovered that fisetin could destroy 50% of the zombie cells in mice!! More impressively, the mice in the study that started fisetin late in life still lived up to 15% longer than the control mice, and even though the mice were living longer, their physical health didn’t decline. Fisetin also boosts immune function, stimulates neuron growth, balances blood glucose levels, decreases age-related bone loss, and even reduces symptoms of low mood by increasing circulating serotonin levels.

At The Institute for Human Optimization, my team and I leverage the most cutting-edge advances in genetic testing, nutritional, and functional medicine to help our patients treat the root biological imbalances that cause aging. I believe that a long healthspan – not just a long lifespan – is the most important thing you can cultivate. A long healthspan means you don’t miss out on life as you get older. It means remaining independent and having the vitality to travel and see the world.  A long healthspan means that you can be there – in full body and mind – for the people who need you the most and that every day will feel like a gift.

The Institute for Human Optimization provides the most comprehensive, data-driven, personalized approach to wellness. It is:

·         Predictive – We use genomics and advanced biomarker testing for risk stratification and empowerment.

·         Personalized – We use data-driven health information to curate actionable change for disease mitigation and prevention.

·         Preventive – We utilize highly individualized programs tailored to your unique genomic blueprint.

·         Participatory – We empower engagement in personal choices, which allows for improved outcomes and enhanced results.

Let’s work together to make a long healthspan your future reality!

4 replies
  1. Maureen Perkins
    Maureen Perkins says:

    I noticed a difference almost right away. My brain doesn’t feel foggy anymore. My body isn’t sluggish anymore. I have more energy but I need to workout to build up my body strength.
    I am 67 and have bad osteoporosis, polymyalgia rheumatic and giant cell Arteritis.

    • Charlene Vairy
      Charlene Vairy says:

      Thank you for letting us know, Maureen! That is wonderful to hear. Perhaps you can check with your doctor about starting a gentle workout routine with your newfound energy!
      Be well,
      The IFHO Team


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