about stem cells

What are stem cells?

When it comes to physical health, studies and breakthroughs in regenerative science have given stem cells the leading role. Why? Because these cells are the only ones able to produce and replenish newer, healthier cells—ones that help the body heal itself.

Published Date:  Sept 2, 2022
Last Updated:  Sept 2, 2022

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    More and more traditional and alternative medical procedures and anti-aging therapies have been working with the complexities of stem cells to treat a long list of conditions. In some countries, human stem cell therapy is now being used to help patients recover from blood diseases, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s, to name but a few. As for non-surgical, non-invasive procedures, LifeWave technology has developed phototherapy patches known to stimulate and regenerate stem cells to relieve pain and help us feel younger and more energetic.

    But first, what exactly are stem cells…

    Our Body'sRaw Materials

    Stem cells are our body’s natural building blocks and one of our most prized possessions. In utero, stem cells are responsible for the formation of our organs, and these foundational cells are the raw materials from which all the cells in our organs, tissues, blood, and immune system are generated. 

    Stem cells are the core of our internal repair system and the only cells able to produce and replenish newer, healthier cells—ones that help the body heal itself. They rebuild and repair our body’s injuries, dis-ease, and natural wear and tear, and when they feel like they need more help cleaning up the damage, they self-renew and send out a chemical call to the rest of the cellular team.

    Not likeother cells

    Our skin, nerves, blood, muscles, bones, and fat are all made up of very specific cells with very specific functions. For instance, nerve cells exist to send signals, skin cells protect the body from the outside, and muscle cells contract. Red blood cells transport oxygen and carbon dioxide while white blood cells fight off pathogens to support our immunity. These very specific roles were decided when the cells were in their embryo state, and these cells will never work at anything else.

    Unlike these which perform very specific functions, stem cells have the ability to become all kinds of other cells in the body. This process is called differentiation. They replace tired, depleted cells when they die and maintain a healthy balance in the body, a self-regulating process known as homeostasis. 

    Our precious healing system 

    All tissue repair in the body is initiated by stem cells, and this is true for sprains and cuts as well as bigger problems like broken bones, dementia, and heart disease.

    Any time you have healing after an injury, it’s a stem cell-mediated event.” Harry Adelson, N.D. and orthopedic stem cell expert

    When we have supposedly recovered from a condition but still suffer from pain or other repercussions, it’s because we either do not have enough stem cells to help us heal fully, or because the stem cells we do have are too old and no longer function properly.

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    Stem cells and aging

    By the time we’re 35 years old, stem cells have cut their activity back by 50%. By the time we’re 60, they only function at 10% of what they used to. This explains why we feel more tired as we age and are unable to heal ourselves as quickly as before.

    Sure, we get wrinkles and gray hair, but aging is so much more than that. Naturally, we lose skin elasticity, our bones become more brittle, our muscles atrophy, and we begin to lose our memory. For some of us, cognitive decline could begin as early as our late 20s! 

    Aging is the highest risk factor for a long list of conditions, including cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancers.

    But why do we age at different rates? Some 75-year-olds appear to be 50 while others look and feel more like they’re 100…

    The Hallmarks of Aging scaled

    The Hallmarks of Aging

    In 2013, molecular biologist Carloz Lopez-Otin et al published a study on The Hallmarks of Aging. The researchers found that there are nine major factors that influence the rate at which we age. These are genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alterations, loss of proteostasis, deregulated nutrient sensing, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, altered intercellular communication, and stem cell exhaustion.

    These are obviously intricate chemical processes that occur naturally in the body, and stem cell exhaustion—running out of healthy stem cells—is one of the main factors. But what if we could develop technology in which stem cells could be replenished? That has been underway for decades. 

    So is aging permanent, or is it reversible? And what if stem cell replenishment could actually help revive some of the other hallmarks of aging?

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    How do you activate stem cells?

    Our natural stem cell process

    When we are ill, injured, or experience a physical challenge, our body naturally launches a whole process for regaining optimal health.

    This healing process is spearheaded by mesenchymal stem cells, or MSCs. MSCs live along our capillaries and stimulate new blood vessel formation, which creates better circulation throughout the body. The better our blood flow, the more stem cells we have, and the more stem cells we have, the better our healing. 

    Whenever our body needs help, MSCs go to the damaged area and analyze the gravity of the problem. They collect data then communicate with the other local cells, sending out orders and releasing a variety of drug-like molecules that initiate tissue healing and repair.

    MSCs have been referred to as an ‘injury-specific drugstore’ because they react differently depending on where the damage is. They’re data-driven cells, so they analyze situations and respond intelligently to specific problems. They’re the ones who ring the alarm and get our body’s repair process going.

    From the affected organ area, MSCs begin sending out signaling molecules to our progenitor cells. Progenitor cells are tissue-specific stem cells that are unique to their organ. Heart progenitor cells, for instance, will only ever create new heart cells. 

    The messages from the MSCs to the progenitor cells are sent via vascular cells, capillaries, red and blood cells, and platelets. These carry all the necessary healing instructions and elements throughout the body to the damaged section. There, specific cells work to either reduce inflammation, produce new blood vessels, or divide to create new cells that become new tissue or strengthen the area’s surrounding healthy tissues.

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    Different types of stem cells

    Stem cells exist in two major stages: embryonic and adult stem cells.

    Embryonic stem cells

    As their name suggests, embryonic stem cells are young stem cells that can adapt, or differentiate, to become any kind of body cell. They are also pluripotent, which means they have the ability to go wherever the body feels a need for them, so to whichever part of the body is feeling weak or damaged. Since they have great potential, embryonic stem cells are the ones most studied in medical research. 

    Adult stem cells

    Adult stem cells, also known as tissue-specialized cells, are multipotent, meaning they can only be found in one specific bodily tissue like, for example, the skin, liver, or blood. Adult stem cells are found in umbilical cords, placenta, bone marrow, and even fat, or adipose tissue. Adult stem cells replace the specific organ’s existing cells once they wear out and die.

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    Stem cell research

    Researchers in regenerative medicine have been experimenting with the use of human stem cells to replace bodily tissue that has been damaged or injured. Their goal is to encourage stem cells to generate and regenerate all the cells and structures of the body to create new tissue for the parts of organs, bones, and cartilage that no longer function as they should. 

    Scientists have also been testing stem cell use to treat diseases like Parkinson’s and diabetes by creating, for example, new brain cells that send signals throughout the body to treat specific conditions. There has been success with organ transplants, regrowing limbs, and revitalizing immune systems. When it comes to our blood, hematopoietic stem cells, or HSC, transplantation still comes with a risk of complications and is reserved for patients with life-threatening conditions. Nevertheless, HSC transplants have been used as a successful treatment for cancers and other immune system disorders.

    The possibilities of stem cell research and technology are endless! 

    The ethics of stem cell-based treatments

    While stem cell therapy has produced positive results, the subject of stem cell engineering comes with its share of controversy and ethical issues.

    For their research, many scientists have been using embryonic stem cells, donated from leftover embryos in fertility clinics. Embryonic cells are undifferentiated and pluripotent, which means that they can be grown into any kind of bodily tissue—these are by far the most versatile stem cells. Yet some people are opposed to their use since it means that the embryos used for research or therapy will never become human life. 

    Another factor that raises questions is the fact that stem cell therapy is an extremely lucrative business, and some question the legitimacy of the treatments and of the so-called professionals administering them. Many promise results, but few can offer certainty. After treatment, stem cells could differentiate into the wrong kinds of cells and cause tumors, for example. There are no studies showing the long-term effects, and still so many unanswered variables out there.

    The most profound ethical and moral dilemmas arise from medical practitioners’ willingness to experiment with these risks on human lives. 

    Sure, we may be able to remove genetic diseases and design “better” humans, but as some people ask, should we really be interfering with Mother Nature?

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions, so they say.

    Induced pluripotent stem cells

    Researchers have been engineering and experimenting with versatile stem cells, known as induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPSCs. This practice refers to when regular cells found in any type of bodily tissue like the skin, fat, or liver, are engineered to behave like embryonic stem cells, which can then be transformed into any other kind of cells.

    The Yamanaka Factors

    In 2006, Shinya Yamanaka and his partner had a veritable breakthrough in regenerative science. They discovered four genes that allow adult cells to be reprogrammed into pluripotent cells—cells that are induced to become any other type of cell.

    The scientific names of these four factors are Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, and cMyc (or OSKM), and they are referred to today as the Yamanaka Factors.

    By observing the different kinds of stem cells, we can learn a great deal about cellular behavior, how distinct cells transform, and how tissues heal and regenerate. 

    The more insight we have into how the body works, the more progress can be made to find effective cures for cancer, heart disease, and more.

    How to empower stem cells naturally

    In the meantime, LifeWave has developed a natural, non-invasive way for our body to stimulate its own stem cell production. Through phototherapy or light therapy patches, the researchers behind LifeWave’s X39 patches found that elevating our body’s naturally occurring GHK-Cu, or copper peptides, also increased our count of healthy pluripotent stem cells.

    Read more about light therapy and copper peptides here.

    LifeWave X39 patch reflects

    How doesthe X39 work?

    An organic crystal in the LifeWave X39 patch reflects our own body’s lightwaves back to our skin, sending out a signal to our brain to produce more GHK-Cu. These copper peptides are super antioxidants produced by our bodies in the form of plasma to repair tissue, yet by the time we’re 60, our natural levels of copper peptides have decreased by more than half. 

    When using LifeWave X39 patches, however, we get a sudden boost of copper peptides in our bloodstream. This not only helps to reverse our cells’ aging process but also attracts healthy immune cells and heals wounds more quickly and effectively. By replenishing our own pluripotent stem cell count, our body is able to recover from damage and we feel younger, longer. And all this, without the need for risky, costly stem cell treatments.

    Learn more about LifeWave’s X39 groundbreaking stem cell therapy here.