The last third of our lives isn’t as fun as the first two. We are in decline. Our bodies are shutting down and falling apart. At the level of the cell, responsive, duplicating, life-sustaining stem cells that are in the “Quiescent” state degrade into a “Senescent” state. They won’t respond to calls to duplicate. They start making mistakes in managing energy supply through the mitochondria and spin-off all sorts of “oxidants”. They develop a unique secretome of chemokines, cytokines and extracellular matrix-degrading proteins, termed the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), that can actively damage the tissues in which senescent cells reside. They are a mess. We die when too many of our cells become “senescent” and make SASP.
Last week we reported on the Mayo Clinic’s publication of clinical improvement in patients given chemotherapy drugs and quercetin (plant-based anti-oxidant) that could be shown to clean out, knock off, get rid of senescent cells.
The question arises, can you do it on your own? Are some of the foods eaten by populations that live longer rich in anti senescent qualities? Are there some foods we should add to our diet?
With that idea in mind, let’s look at the evidence. The answer might be yes! For example, fisetin is a hot topic compound right now. It’s found naturally in strawberries, grapes, apples and onions. Of the six pathways that senescent cells activate to prevent their death (making them hang around like zombies, present but not really alive) fisetin activates 4 of them leading to the cells clearing out and then dying. All the research to date has been done in mice where there is a lot of interesting evidence that it helps.
Beyond eating more strawberries and grapes, can you take a supplement of fisetin? Dr Mercolacertainly thinks so. The protocols that have been used have a doseof around 20 mg per kilogram body weight for two days in a row, here and there.
Are there other supplements that might work together with fisetin? Well, yes. Quercetin also has some beneficial effects.
Curcumin might also be helpful. It’s the yellow in curry powder from the spice turmeric. It directly binds and blocks the inflammatory pathway with NK-kappa-B and COX enzymes. Like fisetin and quercetin, it is a common food that has many points of activity, but also very low toxicity.
This deep dive can spiral down further and further. Until we have specific tests about how to measure the effectiveness and safety, the level of senolytic cells, the reduction of those cells by your intervention…on an on, it might be a bit premature. But if it doesn’t harm you, is it so bad to experiment? This is food after all! Sounds to me like eating whole, organic, fresh foods might not be such a bad strategy. Doing some strategy twice a year might not be so bad, to cut down on the building burden of senolytic cells.
Or, if you want, can you buy Fisetin take a gram of it three days in a row with a gram of Quercetin and have a nice spicy curry for three days in a row, loaded with fried curry powder so that you get all three? Do that twice a year. Four times a year?
The other strategy of reducing senolytics should not be forgotten. You can pull back senolytic cells into quiescence by exercise (2 miles of walking daily) and fasting episodically. Growth hormone will also do it.
WWW: What will work for me? Goodness. I love this idea. I’m doing my exercise pretty faithfully. I’ve been doing my 5 day fast mimicking once a month. I bought by spinach to make my soup and curry for my next session. But should I take Fisetin and Quercetin a couple of times a year? I want to find the tests that show improvement. I need one more piece of the puzzle to fall into place.
- What is senolytics? Answer: The emerging science of getting rid of old, senescent cells.
- What are the problems with old, senescent cells? Answer: They give off all sorts of damaging compounds and chemicals that infect the cells around them with aging and poorer function. They can’t multiply. Enough of them and you die.
- What are the plant-based three supplements that might be useful to naturally rid yourself of your own senescent cells? Answer: Fisetin, quercetin, curcumin found in strawberries, onions, apples and curry.
- Do you need to take these all the time? Answer: No, probably just a couple of times a year.
- Do we have human studies to prove the concept? Answer: Very few. Mostly tangential. But sure interesting.