Typically, when the cells in the body grow old or get damaged, they destroy themselves and make way for new cells. But some cells are death resistant and refuse to die, even when they are worn out.
And as you grow older, these cells, also known as senescent cells or zombie cells, build up in your organs, leading to premature aging and causing diseases such as inflammation, arthritis, cognitive decline, cancers, etc.
By getting rid of these senescent or zombie cells you can enhance the overall cellular function in your body and also increase your lifespan. Fortunately, there are many ways by which you can eliminate the build-up of zombie cells and prevent aging.
So, read on to know about how to get rid of zombie cells.
What Are Zombie Cells And How Do They Impact You?
As discussed earlier, zombie cells or senescent cells die but do not disappear from the body like normal cells.
These cells do not divide or work efficiently and instead clog up the system and produce proinflammatory proteins that trigger inflammation. These proteins disrupt the healthy cells, causing widespread damage to the body.
They reduce energy production, compromise the immune system and can increase the risk of diseases including diabetes, cancer, kidney and liver diseases, osteoarthritis and neurodegenerative diseases.
Over time, the zombie cells keep building up, causing cumulative damage, hastening the aging process and resulting in degenerative diseases.
There are different types of senescent cells including:
Senescent Immune Cells:
When you have an infection or get cut, typically the immune cells start dividing, helping you to heal very quickly. Once the damage heals, these immune cells get destroyed, when your body is functioning efficiently.
But zombie cells don’t get destroyed and remain in the body, preventing your immune system from responding to any future threats and making you age more quickly.
The mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cells and provide the body energy to function. Zombie cells collect in the dysfunctional mitochondria and shut off the power supply to the body, leading to SAMD (senescence-associated mitochondrial dysfunction), which is a major cause of aging.
Senescent Connective Tissue:
These cause joint inflammation, leading to arthritis.
How To Get Rid Of Zombie Cells
The immune system in your body is designed to identify the senescent cells and remove them by a process known as autophagy. The stress response to the zombie cells causes them to be ingested in an autophagosome.
They are then removed from the body, making room for newer and healthier cells. The process of autophagy is especially effective in the case of damaged mitochondria and the process that gets rid of mitochondria specifically is known as mitophagy.
Another way to remove the harmful zombie cells is by immunosurveillance or strengthening the immune system, which is very similar to autophagy, which identifies and removes the senescent cells more efficiently.
Other Methods To Remove Zombie Cells Include:
It has been seen that intermittent fasting or time restricted eating is quite an effective tool to combat zombie cells.
When you fast, it increases the natural stress response in your cells (autophagy), which helps the cells in your body to remove the damaged cellular portions and reduce the number of zombie cells present.
Typically, autophagy is a naturally occurring process but as you age, this slows down and can be strengthened via intermittent fasting.
It has also been seen that intermittent fasting can help to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, which are associated with senescence.
Oxidative stress also leads to the shortening of telomeres, which can influence the cells into becoming zombie cells. And, some of the ways by which you can reduce oxidative stress include:
- Avoid refined sugar, processed foods and alcohol
- Eat around 1 lb of organic veggies daily
- Quit smoking
- Lower the cortisol (stress hormone) levels in your body by including meditation, deep breathing and other stress management techniques
- Limit your environmental toxin exposure by using chemical-free beauty products, avoiding the use of highly concentrated cleaning products and changing your air filters regularly
- Avoid exposure to industrial chemicals and pesticides
This is a pharmaceutical tool that is popularly used to remove zombie cells. Senolytics are essentially compounds, which target the pathways that are activated in the zombie cells and kill them.
The dead zombie cells are then removed from the tissue by your immune system, making way for new cells.
There are many natural senolytics that have been identified by researchers that have shown to promote autophagy, helping to get rid of the zombie cells more quickly and efficiently and creating space for newer cells that function properly.
This, in turn, results in better cellular operation and better health now and even in the future. Some of the natural senolytics include fisetin, quercetin and piperlongumine. These natural compounds have shown great promise, but more research is needed.
Some of the popular natural and pharmaceutical supplements that can get rid of zombie cells effectively include:
A natural polyphenol that is found in foods like strawberries and seaweed, fisetin is loaded with antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties that may offer several health benefits including helping to combat cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, etc.
A lot of research has been done to examine the efficacy of fisetin in removing zombie cells. According to a 2018 study, it was seen that fisetin is effective in reducing markers of senescence and increasing the lifespan in rodents.
As per the study, it was seen that when administered in high doses over 2-3 days, fisetin was able to eliminate around 25%-35% of the zombie cells that were accumulated in different tissues and organs.
According to another study, it was seen that fisetin causes cellular death (apoptosis) by targeting different types of senescent cells, especially endothelial cells.
Fisetin is essentially a plant-based micronutrient that is found naturally in many foods, but they are also available in the form of supplements. Some of the common sources of fisetin are strawberries, apples, persimmons, grapes, onions, cucumbers and seaweed.
A plant flavonoid, quercetin is found in berries, onions, apples, red wine, green tea, St. John’s Wort, Ginkgo Biloba and buckwheat tea.
A powerful antioxidant having anti-inflammatory properties, quercetin may help in conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.
According to research, quercetin is also a mild senolytic, which occurs via the AMPK longevity pathway. It also helps to boost NAD+ levels, which helps sirtuins, proteins that perform several functions, including controlling cell death.
Also known as piplartine or pippali, piperlongumine is an amide alkaloid extract of the long pepper fruit (Piper longum), which is a pepper plant native to India and Southeast Asia.
The compound is inexpensive and easily available. It has shown to have therapeutic effects against heart disease, diabetes, intestinal diseases, joint pain, obesity, cancer and other illnesses and is used widely in Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese herbal medicine.
Research shows that piperlongumine can kill zombie cells and may help to extend lifespan.
A prescription drug used for diabetes, metformin, has shown positive anti-aging effects and also against age-related diseases. Metformin works by inhibiting the secretions of the senescent cells.
Metformin helps to combat cancer and by reducing senescence, it helps to increase the lifespan of human cells.
In conclusion, senescent or zombie cells build up in your body leading to premature aging and also cause various diseases like inflammation, arthritis, cancers, cognitive decline, etc.
You can boost the overall cellular function in your body and also enhance your lifespan by getting rid of the zombie cells.
Research shows that consuming a healthy diet, regular exercise and reducing stress can play a very important role in preventing age-related diseases and also slowing down the aging process.
Other methods such as intermittent fasting, metformin and senolytics such as fisetin, quercetin and piperlongumine from natural food sources or in the form of supplements are also quite effective in combating and getting rid of zombie cells effectively, thus reversing aging and also reducing the risk of age-related diseases.