Today on Health Bites, I’m going to be talking about your body’s cells and why you don’t want them to become zombies AND, how to get rid of them if they do.
I know that sounds strange but it really can happen. This is a really interesting and important concept that directly affects your health and how fast you age.
Most normal cells in your body periodically go through the process of cell division, where the cell creates a duplicate cell, to carry on their various tasks throughout the body. Every time they divide, they experience a loss to the structure of their protective telomeres, which are like protective bumpers situated at the end of their DNA strands.
As they get older, and their telomeres get shorter, they start to experience more DNA damage, which can adversely affect the function of the cells. The cell’s DNA can also get damaged from other environmental stresses often caused by poor lifestyle habits.
And when your cells get older and stop dividing, they’re supposed to go off and kill themselves through a process called apoptosis.
But sometimes, they don’t get the message that they should be offing themselves, so they live on as zombies. Technically, these zombie cells are called senescent cells.
The problem is that because of all the wear and tear on their DNA, these senescent cells no longer can function like they’re supposed to. Instead, they just hang about and spit out useless proteins that accumulate in the cytoplasm of the cell. Typical zombies, right?
So, when the zombie cell starts spitting out all that crappy protein, your immune system responds to what it thinks is a foreign invader and attacks the junk proteins, thus increasing your inflammation. Not good.
And, to make things worse, these zombie cells can retaliate by becoming cancer cells. Friggin zombies.
So, how do prevent your cells from becoming zombies?
You basically, want to make sure that they get the original message to commit hari-kari when they lose functionality.
Well, scientists have been madly working on this. They have developed some promising drugs, but it’s very hard to test them on anything except for rats. There’s a lot of promising ideas, but no real solutions in the pharmaceutical department yet.
But, we do know that the simple, lifestyle hacks, that I have been sharing with you have the beneficial effect of coaxing your senescent cells into the big sleep, so to speak.
You may remember my last health bites podcast where I talked about the positive benefits of hormesis. That’s the term for benefits of low-level stresses to our health.
Well, it turns out that one of the positive hormetic benefits of exercise, intermittent fasting, sauna use, and the consumption of broccoli sprouts, and other such natural lifestyle hacks, is that it helps to encourage your zombie, senescent cells to kill themselves. And as a bonus, these hacks also, through a process called autophagy, help to remove all those dead zombie carcasses along with all their protein expectorants.
So, there you have it. Why you have zombie cells and how to get rid of them.