Kill Zombie Cells

By Shellie Rosen, Ph.D., Dipl. O.M. (NCCAOM)®, DOM, L.Ac.

Low-quality food, obesity, poor sleep, and lack of exercise are directly related to increased zombie cells. Zombie cells, or senescent cells, are non-functional cells that should die but live. In limited quantities, they have a healthy purpose, but in excess, they cause damage.

Within the past decade, researchers have discovered that the number of senescent cells increases as we age.

We have senescent cells for beneficial roles in early organ development and wound healing. However, when they accumulate from aging, obesity, stress, and damage, they crowd out healthy cells and release toxic inflammatory compounds that cause pain and disease. While senotherapeutic drugs have been shown to treat or remove senescent cells and show benefits, there is not enough research to recommend taking them as a preventive therapy.

Instead, attack zombie cells in a safe and accessible way by fasting, exercising, and eating polyphenol-rich foods, such as blueberries, plums, cherries, apples, strawberries, black currants, black olives, dark chocolate, and pecans. If medically able, fasting (consuming only water) for at least 24 hours once a week helps remove dysfunctional cells and proteins, including senescent cells.

The Journal of Food Science and Nutrition reviewed the impact of fasting on senescent cells in 2022, concluding, “There is increasing evidence that DR [dietary restrictions] reduces the accumulation of senescent cells and improves health span and life span.”

Resistance training for 20-30 minutes, two to three times per week helps clear zombie cells from the heart, liver, muscles, and fat. However, too much exercise, such as running a marathon or intensive competitive swimming, can create more senescent cells.

Refuel from your workout with phytochemical compounds from fruits and vegetables called flavonoids, which contain senotherapeutic agents such as fisetin (strawberries, as well as apples, grapes and onions); quercetin (dark grapes, apples, berries, red onions, peppers, green tea); curcumin (turmeric, best taken with black pepper); resveratrol (grapes, pistachios, blueberries, cranberries, cacao); and catechins (green tea, cacao, apples, berries, cherries, grapes.) Animal research shows fisetin to be the most effective for killing zombie cells.

Be sure to talk with your doctor about fasting, especially if you are taking medication. Spring is a perfect time to kill zombie cells by fasting, exercising, and consuming polyphenol-rich fruits. Abundant zombie-killing blessings!

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