Get your body’s “zombie cells” to stop polluting the other cells around them by encouraging them to self-destruct, and you might halt or even reverse aging. There’s an exciting line of research that says we may be able to dramatically reduce the effects of aging by killing off the specific cells in our bodies that are aging the fastest. These senescent cells have been found to release toxins and they cause a cascade of damage to cells around them. Getting them to self-destruct is being examined as a way to stop and even reverse the aging process.
In a potentially fundamental advance, researchers have opened up a novel approach to combating the effects of aging with the discovery that a special category of cells, known as senescent cells, are bad actors that promote the aging of the tissues.
Cleansing the body of the cells, they hope, could postpone many of the diseases of aging.
The findings raise the prospect that any therapy that rids the body of senescent cells would protect it from the ravages of aging. But many more tests will be needed before scientists know if drugs can be developed to help people live longer.
Senescent cells accumulate in aging tissues, like arthritic knees, cataracts and the plaque that may line elderly arteries. The cells secrete agents that stimulate the immune system and cause low-level inflammation. Until now, there has been no way to tell if the presence of the cells is good, bad or indifferent.
The answer turns out to be that the cells hasten aging in the tissues in which they accumulate. In a delicate feat of genetic engineering, a research team led by Darren J. Baker and Jan M. van Deursen at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., has generated a strain of mouse in which all the senescent cells can be purged by giving the mice a drug that forces the cells to self-destruct.
Rid of the senescent cells, the Mayo Clinic researchers reported online Wednesday in the journal Nature, the mice’s tissues showed a major improvement in the usual burden of age-related disorders. They did not develop cataracts, avoided the usual wasting of muscle with age, and could exercise much longer on a mouse treadmill. They retained the fat layers in the skin that usually thin out with age and, in people, cause wrinkling.
“I am very excited by the results,” said Dr. Norman E. Sharpless, an expert on aging at the University of North Carolina. “It suggests therapies that might work in real patients,” he said.
Dr. van Deursen’s work is the first to show that removing senescent cells is beneficial.
If confirmed, it “will be considered a fundamental advance by our field,” Dr. Sharpless said.
Aging research is a relatively young field because until 20 or so years ago the prospect of defeating age seemed hopeless.
Then researchers found that the lifespan of laboratory animals could be extended by manipulating certain genes, setting off a hunt for drugs that might influence the corresponding genes in people. This line of research remains promising but has produced few tangible results so far.
The discovery that senescent cells seem to be the cause of tissue degeneration opens out a new direction for researchers on aging to explore. …
Finding ways to kill off your cells that are starting to malfunction could be the key to living a long healthy life. I think about this with Jeanne Calment, the confirmed longest lived person and how she ate a lot of chocolate, laughed until she cried, smoked, and drank a lot of cheap port wine there in France. By some luck, perhaps everything she did had the effect of killing off her weakest cells.
Here’s something you can do right now. No guarantee it will reverse aging, but the idea is intriguing and many other people are investigating this. Consult your doctor first, this is not medical advice, just something worth trying based on everything I’ve read so far.
Quercetin to Kill Senescent Cells?
Quercetin is a plant flavonol found in many fruits, vegetables, leaves, seeds, and grains including red onions and kale.
One of the flavonols in chocolate is called quercetin, a potent antioxidant that protects cells against damage from free-radicals. – SFGate
Even the wine pigment called Quercetin is very beneficiary for health. Quercetin found in grapes acts like an anti-inflammatory healing injuries. The antihistamine property of the pigment helps in fighting various cancer causing cells. – BoldSky
500-800 mg per day of quercetin for three months to help purge accumulated senile cells and then stay with a maintenance dose of 150 mg each day thereafter.
For tocotrienols, … take around 150 mg per day for the first three months with a maintenance dose after that of about 100 mg each day thereafter. – LifeExtension
It might have benefits as a topical agent:
2% Quercetin cream could be effective in treating phlebitis caused by intravenous catheters and can be used as a useful and safe treatment modality for phlebitis management. – Mcjbums
Does Quercetin work when you consume it? Wikipedia says that quercetin gets broken down so much during digestion that effects are not likely to be the same in the body as they are in test tube studies. The Wikipedia page also says that “there is no evidence that quercetin (via supplements or in food) is useful to treat cancer or any disease.”
But is that true? We ask because 1) small amounts seem to work according to the titles of some studies we browsed. 2) Like Aubrey De Grey, True Strange News thinks of aging as a curable disease and we wonder, was it quercetin in natural forms that worked for Jeanne Calment, with her port wine and copious chocolate habit? 3) We found many peer reviewed studies on scholar.google.com that seem to show quercetin may be beneficial to fight cancer. If it’s a dead end, scientists sure have wasted a lot of time and money being excited about it for decades now! Here are a few examples:
Low Concentrations of Quercetin and Ellagic Acid Synergistically Influence Proliferation, Cytotoxicity and Apoptosis in MOLT-4 Human Leukemia Cells – The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 133, Issue 8, August 2003, Pages 2669–2674
Ellagic acid and quercetin interact synergistically with resveratrol in the induction of apoptosis and cause transient cell cycle arrest in human leukemia cells – Cancer Letters – Volume 218, Issue 2, 10 February 2005, Pages 141-151
Quercetin arrests G2/M phase and induces caspase-dependent cell death in U937 cells. Cancer Lett. 2006;240:234–42. [PubMed]
Effects of low dose quercetin: Cancer cell-specific inhibition of cell cycle progression. “… studies showed that quercetin is able to work as an anti-cancer agent by inducing apoptotic cell death [Yang et al., 2005; Lee et al., 2006].” – J Cell Biochem. 2009 Jan 1; 106(1): 73–82.
Quercetin induces protective autophagy in gastric cancer cells: involvement of Akt-mTOR-and hypoxia-induced factor 1α-mediated signaling. K Wang, R Liu, J Li, J Mao, Y Lei, J Wu, J Zeng… – Autophagy, 2011
The flavonoid quercetin inhibits pancreatic cancer growth in vitro and in vivo.
Pancreas. 2013 Mar; 42(2): 223–229.
On the precautions side, some web sites report side effects of quercetin including headaches, tingling of the arms and legs (rare), upset stomach, at high doses and at “very high doses of Quercetin may cause kidney damage.”
One alternative health site lists several natural sources of quercetin:
Apples, Peppers, Red wine, Dark cherries and berries (blueberries, bilberries, blackberries and others), Tomatoes, Cruciferous veggies, including broccoli, cabbage and sprouts, Leafy green veggies, including spinach, kale, Citrus fruits, Cocoa, Cranberries, Whole grains, including buckwheat, Raw asparagus, Capers, Raw red onion, Olive oil, Black and green tea, Beans/legumes, Herbs, including sage, American elder, St. John’s wort and ginkgo biloba
Who eats raw asparagus? Well, plenty of other options.
Is there a pill we can take? Surprisingly, there is work in that direction and one of the stars of the show is our friend quercetin. This article calls aging cells zombie cells.
Think of “zombie” cells as little vacuum cleaners that no longer work efficiently. But because they still work a bit, they’re not cleared out by the body. At the same time, they’re too damaged to carry out their normal functions or repair tissue. So they clog up the works, leading to a gradual deterioration of the body. … The new treatment, named DQ, uses a drug called dasatnib, which is already licensed for killing cancer cells in people with leukemia, and the drug quercetin, a common plant pigment found in red wine, onions, green tea, apples, berries, Ginkgo biloba, and St John’s wort. The drug combination began clearing out the “zombie” cells within 30 minutes, and within 24 hours, all senescent cells were gone, the researchers reported. – HealthLine
Dasatinib is a type of drug called a protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI). Tyrosine kinases are proteins that act as chemical messengers to stimulate cancer cells to grow. Dasatinib blocks the tyrosine kinases from sending chemical signals that tell the cells to grow. – CancerRes
We might well wonder what natural things could perhaps act like the drug dasatinib and there are a few that might be worth considering. Curcumin, the major pigment in turmeric, has anti-tyrosine kinase activity, as does genistein. You may find others with research.
To boost your immune system, don’t forget laughter! In addition to reducing stress, studies show that it improves immune system cell function. Laughter increases NK cell activity, which matters because low NK cell activity is linked to decreased disease resistance and increased odds of death in persons with cancer and HIV disease.