- A startup called Forever Labs freezes and stores people’s stem cells as a kind of back-up drive for their future selves.
- The company is now offering a way to bank stem cells from fat stores instead of bone marrow.
- Stem cells have a range of potential therapeutic uses in conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, since they can turn into any kind of cell.
- But for now, stem cells are used only for very limited purposes, like treating cancer.
Your next effort to prolong your life could involve an awkward conversation with your plastic surgeon. Don’t throw away the fat you’ve just removed from my liposuction procedure, you might ask them. Instead, save the excess material because it’s rich in stem cells.
Beginning this week, longevity startup Forever Labs will offer its customers the ability to bank the stem cells in their fat stores – the same material that’s removed and destroyed after liposuction. Those stem cells are seen as a key component of health. Some believe they may also hold the keys to a longer, better life.
Founded in 2015, Forever Labs collaborates with a network of specialized doctors to siphon stem cells from customers’ bone marrow. The company is now also partnering with some plastic surgeons to allow people who are already undergoing liposuction to bank the stem cells from the fat that would otherwise be discarded.
“If you’re going to throw them in the garbage, you might as well bank them,” Mark Katakowski, Forever Labs’ co-founder and CEO, told Business Insider.
Forever Labs then freezes the stem cells, delivers them to one of its cell-banking facilities, and maintains them under careful conditions. The hope is that one day, more advanced science will allow patients to have their own young cells injected back into their bodies. According to this line of thinking, these cells could then do everything from fight aging to help treat diseases like diabetes.
“This is like a back-up,” Katakowski said.
To harvest a customer’s stem cells from the bone marrow extracted by an orthopedic surgeon, Forever Labs charges $2,500 for the procedure plus $250 per year for storage – or a one-time payment of $7,000. The new method using fat is $1,000 cheaper for the procedure, but the annual storage fees or one-time payment cost the same.
What a bank of your stem cells might be used for
- A tray of stem cells at the University of Connecticut’s Stem Cell Institute.
- Getty Images/Spencer Platt
A medical physicist and former research scientist for the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan, Katakowski was spurred to bank his own stem cells in 2015 after studying their therapeutic potential in mice.
Stem cells are unique because they can develop into many different cell types, from those that make up muscle tissue to those that form the neurons in our brain. For that reason, scientists have long hoped that stem cells could be used to regenerate failing tissues or organs as an alternative to transplants, which are expensive, time-consuming, and come with a risk of rejection. Instead of getting a transplanted kidney from a donor, for example, a patient could one day hope to receive a sample of his or her own stem cells, programmed to generate a new kidney.
But stem cells are only widely used today for one procedure: bone marrow transplants. The transplants are typically used by leukemia patients who undergo the treatment in conjunction with chemotherapy as a means of replacing the healthy stem cells that the chemo has destroyed.
“Right now that’s the only approved use of stem cells,” Allison Mayle, a cancer researcher at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, told Business Insider.
In recent years, scientists have been studying how to use stem cells to treat a range of other conditions that involve a specific type of failing cell, such as type 1 diabetes (where the body’s immune system destroys the pancreas’ insulin-producing beta cells), macular degeneration, and heart disease. So far, however, those trials have only included a very small number of patients; more extensive studies have only been carried out in lab animals.
Ronna Parsa, a Los Angeles-based orthopedic surgeon, contracts with Forever Labs to do bone marrow stem cell draws. Since she started in March, she’s done roughly five procedures, she said. Parsa also banked her own stem cells with Forever Labs.
“After doing the research I can just see the vast potential for these types of therapies in the future,” Parsa told Business Insider. “By freezing my 32-year-old stem cells, hopefully when I’m 50 or 60 or 70 I can use those.”
Mayle agrees that the therapies could have potential, but she isn’t sure they’ll come to fruition in time for most patients to see a benefit.
“Would this be something that’s going to happen in our lifetime? It’s hard to tell,” Mayle said. “There certainly are things that could work in the next five to ten years, but they also might not.”
‘An ace in my pocket’
Nevertheless, stem cell banking is beginning to emerge as a trend. One recent report projected that the global stem cell banking market would grow from $6.3 billion in 2018 to $9.3 billion by 2023. Katakowski wouldn’t share how many customers he’s had so far, but said most hail from areas with tech meccas, like Silicon Valley and New York City.
In the US, hundreds of providers currently offer stem cell banking. A handful also offer unproven anti-aging therapies using the cells. One such company, Houston-based Celltex Therapeutics, used to inject patients with retrieved stem cells, and once treated Texas governor Rick Perry. But Celltex stopped offering the service in the US in 2012 after regulators warned them that they lacked federal approval.
Katakowski said Forever Labs is not offering any stem cell therapies, just the ability to store the cells until peer-reviewed science makes proven therapies available.
“In the back of your mind you know you’ve got it,” Katakowski said. “It gives you a little piece of mind. Is it going to be a get-out-of-jail-free card or an ace in my pocket? It might.”
Instead of combing grocery store aisles for miracle diet ingredients, consider this: the healthiest eating plan is mind-blowingly simple. It involves consuming more vegetables, fruits, and protein, and fewer processed carbohydrates.
That’s the conclusion of a growing body of research, which suggests the best way to eat to maximize your chances of a long and healthy life is to seek out whole foods. There are a variety of names for this type of eating plan. Some call it Mediterranean, others call it “plant-based.” But the gist is the same: a regimen that centers around vegetables, incorporates some types of protein and fat, and limits heavily processed foods and refined carbohydrates like the kind found in bagels and breakfast bars.
Fill your plate with plants like spinach, tomatoes, and beans, studies suggest. Top that off with proteins and fats from salmon, nuts, and eggs, and you’ll be more likely to see benefits including weight loss, a stronger heart, fewer depressive symptoms, and even a longer life.
In the latest study highlighting the benefits of this diet, researchers at Italy’s Neuromed Institute found that those who ate the most like Mediterraneans were significantly less likely to die from any cause than their peers who did not. Their research, published last week in the British Journal of Nutrition, looked at data on close to 12,000 people and found that the Mediterranean diet could be a powerful protective shield.
“The more you follow the Mediterranean diet, the greater the gain in terms of mortality risk reduction,” Licia Iacoviello, head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Nutritional Epidemiology at the Neuromed Institute, said in a statement.
Eating like a Mediterranean for a longer, healthier life
- Flickr/With Wind
For the latest study, scientists performed two analyses. First, they scored the diets of 5,200 people over age 65 to determine how closely they followed a Mediterranean eating plan, based on a widely used dietary questionnaire. Each participant got a score from 0-9 (9 being the most Mediterranean-like; 0 being the least). Then the researchers followed the participants for eight years, noting any deaths and their causes.
The team found that people who adhered most closely to the Mediterranean diet were significantly less likely to die. Those who ate the least like a Mediterranean, on the other hand, faced a higher risk of death.
For the second part of the study, researchers analyzed six additional studies on diet and mortality. Including the participants in their own study, the total number of people analyzed amounted to nearly 12,000. Collectively, that analysis also found a link between sticking to the Mediterranean diet and living longer.
In addition to potentially prolonging life, eating like a Mediterranean also appears to help protect against some of the mental declines that come with age, such as slowed cognitive performance, according to a study published last summer in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
For that research, scientists analyzed the diets of 6,000 older people against their performance on a range of cognitive tests like word lists and counting exercises. Those whose eating plans lined up with Mediterranean-style diets did significantly better than the people who didn’t eat like Mediterraneans.
In fact, the more closely aligned people’s diets were with a Mediterranean-style plan, the lower their risk of scoring poorly on the quizzes.
“These findings lend support to the hypothesis that diet modification may be an important public health strategy to protect against neurodegeneration during aging,” Claire McEvoy, the lead author of the paper and a nutritional epidemiologist at the University of California San Francisco, wrote in the paper.
Adding ‘life to years, not just years to life’
Researchers still aren’t sure why Mediterranean-style eating plans are so beneficial for the brain and body, but they have some clues.
The diet is rich in antioxidants and two types of healthy fat: monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids. Previous studies have found a link between these ingredients and a reduced risk of dementia, as well as higher cognitive performance.
The green vegetables and berries emphasized in one version of the Mediterranean diet called the MIND diet have also been shown to help protect against progressive loss of the structure or function of brain cells. This loss, known as neurodegeneration, is a key characteristic of diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Mediterranean-style diets also do a good job of satisfying all of your body’s needs – the eating plan satiates muscles that crave protein, soothe the digestive system with fiber, and supply tissues and bones with vitamins.
“We think that our data launch an important message in terms of public health,” Giovanni de Gaetano, another author on the recent paper, said in a statement. “We must add life to years, not just years to life.”
For a 30 something woman, hiding my real age has become a big challenge!
I am always trying to find the most natural and effective skin care products. But every time I visit a local store to buy a moisturizer, I find it very difficult to choose from the huge number of “miracle,” “ultimate solution,” “The best,” “Anti-Aging,” “Magical”…. products that I find there.
So when it comes to choosing the best moisturizer for my skin, the choices are endless. Still, there are plenty of things to take into consideration, like my skin type, my age, and many more. Do not you agree?
Well, I spent the past few weeks searching and reading about the best moisturizers for your skin. What you are about to read, is NOT a list of “The Top 10 moisturizers to choose from“; it is a guide on how to choose the best moisturizer for your skin.
To help you choose the best one, you will need first to answer these three simple questions:
- What is your skin type?
- What does your skin need the most?
- How old are you? Do not worry; I can keep a secret 😉
One important ingredient, which your moisturizer should always have, is sunscreen with SPF of at least 25. If your moisturizer does not contain SPF factor, buy a sunscreen, and use it daily. And for the best anti-aging benefits, make sure one or more of the following are listed as an active ingredient: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone, Mexoryl SX (ecamsule), or Tinosorb. If you have to choose between applying your moisturizer or SPF, then use your SPF in the morning and your moisturizer at night.
Choosing Your Moisturizer According to your Skin Type
Your skin type plays an important role in choosing the best moisturizer for your skin. Using a lotion for dehydrated skin does not make sense; the same applies when using heavy cream for oily skin.
Oily moisturizers can clog pores and cause many problems for oily skin including acne. To avoid that, make sure to follow these simple tips:
- Normal skin: it is neither too oily nor too dry. The best moisturizer has a water-based formula that is not greasy.
- Oily skin: use lotions (water-based products) that are labeled noncomedogenic (i.e., does not clog your pores), and look for exfoliating ingredients like lactic acids, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid.
- Dry skin: you will need oil-based cream (or ointments) for your skin.
- Combination skin: this is the hardest among skin types. I have combination skin, and I know that lotions are great for the T-zone, but not quite enough for hydrating my cheeks in winter. On the other hand, creams cause my skin to breakout. I find that lotions work quite well in summer, while light creams are good for winter.
Choosing Your Moisturizer According to Your Skin Needs
Adjust your Moisturizer According to the Weather
Since your skin type might change according to the weather, for example from normal to dry on cheeks in cold seasons, you may need to switch products according to weather conditions.
Whatever kind of a moisturizer you are using, it should have one of the following:
- Humectants, like glycerin and lactic acid, which attracts moisture.
- Emollients (fatty acids and ceramides) will soften your skin.
- Occlusives, like petrolatum, Dimethicone or lanolin, which form a thin film on the surface of your skin thus sealing in moisture.
In dry cold weather, you will need occlusives (i.e., an ointment) to prevent your skin from losing moisture. This oil-based cream will help your skin retains moisture by creating a protective layer on the skin.
On the other hand, the hot, humid weather will cause you to sweat, so it is better to use a gel or a light lotion especially if you have oily skin.
Choosing Your Moisturizer According to Your Age
My skin type has changed dramatically throughout the past 20 years. When I was a teenager, my skin was very oily, as I grew up, it changed to a combination, and to dry skin in winter. I noticed that dark spots are developing all over my cheeks and forehead, and a few fine lines started to appear, too.
It makes sense then that what worked for me in my 20’s, may not work the same way now since I am almost 40. I should have to change my moisturizer and look for one that has more anti-aging power.
To choose the right one for you, you should learn the basics.
It will be useful if you bookmark this post for future reference.
Famous Ingredients that You Should Know:
- Antioxidants: These include vitamins A, C, and E. Whether you are in your 20’s or 50+, antioxidants should always be part of your daily skin care regimen. Antioxidants reduce and prevent the damage that free radicals are causing to your skin when you are exposed to sunlight and pollution without protection. Ignoring the use of antioxidants will make your skin prone to aging fast. Antioxidants also allow your skin to build more collagen.
- Dimethicone: usually used to create a smooth, flawless look by forming an oily layer on top of it, it also helps trap moisture within your skin. Hint: look for foundations and primers that contain Dimethicone if you wish to temporary dimension those fine lines.
- Hyaluronic Acid: you probably read something about it. It has been one of the most famous skin care superstars lately. Because it can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, it makes your skin feel smoother and looks plumper. It is a must in most skin care products especially for those who have fine lines and wrinkles.
- Retinol helps skin cells create better, healthier skin cells, and it also promotes the production of new collagen. Therefore, if you are looking for an anti-aging moisturizer, retinol should be on the list of ingredients.
- Niacinamide (or Vitamin B) helps smoothes your skin by increasing ceramide and free fatty acid levels in the skin. It also prevents your skin from losing water content.
- Natural substances including green tea, grape seeds, curcuminoids (derived from turmeric), soy extract, and pomegranate are all great natural ingredients that will add value and effectiveness to your moisturizer.
- Ceramides hold skin cells together. If your skin is extremely dry or irritated, that means it is losing this important factor. Look for dry skin creams that contain ceramides. Hint: it helps soothes eczema, too.
You Need to Change Your Moisturizer if…
- It is in a jar packaging. Every time you open the jar, you are exposing those delicate ingredients to air and light; anti-oxidants and peptides will break down and become ineffective. Also dipping your fingers in the jar each time you use it will contaminate the product.
- If it contains irritating ingredients like synthetic fragrances, menthol, and alcohol.
- If it is very expensive. I know it is hard to assign one scale for classifying products according to their prices. Just make sure you compare products’ ingredients before you buy one; some products contain the same ingredients, except you pay extra $$$ for the fancy packaging.
You can also Make Your Moisturizer!
If you are trying to avoid harmful ingredients in beauty products, DIY creams are the best way to go. I managed to make my whipped shea butter with argan oil; you can check my recipe here. I like to use this one for my body, and it works quite well for dry skin around my mouth in winter. Unfortunately, I could not make my light cream for my combination skin.
Whether you wish to make your moisturizer or purchase from a local store, being aware of what you put on your skin is very important. Next time you buy skin care products, make sure you check the ingredients’ list, say NO to Parabens and fancy products’ descriptions, and look for what your skin needs.
Did you like this post? It would be great if you share it with your friends!
Did I miss anything? What else should you look for when choosing your moisturizer?
Copyright: bowie15 / 123RF Stock Photo
Let’s get physical isn’t just a catchy line from an Olivia Newton John song – it’s a health intervention.
Exercise is increasingly being recognized as the closest thing to a miracle drug that we have. Not only does regular movement appear to benefit our mind and body, it also seems to protect us from many aspects of aging’s slow wear and tear.
For a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers found that older people who spent less time sitting and more time moving had fewer signs of encroaching heart disease.
The scientists had 1,600 British volunteers between the ages of 60 to 64 wear heart-rate sensors for five days. They analyzed the participants’ activity levels and compared them to indicators of heart disease such as cholesterol precursors and a substance called interleukin-6. Overall, the participants with more activity had lower levels of all of the negative biomarkers.
The effects were even noticeable when the researchers looked at participants’ activity in 10-minute chunks. Every 10 minutes spent doing some kind of movement – whether it was walking, playing tennis, or gardening – was linked with measurable improvements in at least one type of biomarker related to heart health.
Conversely, every 10 minutes spent sitting was tied to worse biomarker results.
These results add to a growing body of evidence that suggests physical activity can lower the risk of heart disease.
“It’s important to replace time spent sedentary with any intensity level of activity,” Ahmed Elhakeem, the study’s author and a professor of epidemiology at the University of Bristol, said in a statement.
2 forms of exercise may be the key to keeping your heart and brain young
- Al Bello/Getty Images
This isn’t the first time that two forms of exercise – cardio and strength training – have been tied to anti-aging benefits. Aerobic exercise, or cardio, is the type of workout that gets your heart pumping and sweat flowing, while strength training helps keep aging muscles from weakening over time.
Both of those types of exercise are important for the heart, parts of which can grow stiff with age. The left chamber of the heart, which plays a key role in supplying the body with freshly-oxygenated blood, is especially susceptible to age-related damage.
A recent study published in January in the journal Circulation found that adults who practiced supervised exercise four to five days per week saw significant improvements in their heart’s performance over two years when compared to a control group that only did basic stretching and balancing moves. Those results suggest that some stiffening in the heart can be prevented or even reversed with regular aerobic exercise.
“Based on a series of studies performed by our team over the past five years, this ‘dose’ of exercise has become my prescription for life,” said Benjamin Levine, the author of the study and a professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern.
Regular movement has benefits for the aging brain as well.
In May, a large review of nearly 100 studies published in the journal Neurology: Clinical Practice found that older folks who got roughly 40 minutes of exercise three times per week showed significant cognitive advantages compared with people who did less exercise or none at all.
Those benefits included better processing speed and superior performance on tests that measure skills like time management and the ability to pay attention.
“This is evidence that you can actually turn back the clock of aging in your brain by adopting a regular exercise regimen,” said study author Joyce Gomes-Osman, a rehabilitation scientist at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine.
The intensity of a workout matters less than moving regularly
A growing body of evidence suggests that the time you spend on a single workout matters less than the total time you spend at the gym over long periods. That means whether your latest workout was five or 50 minutes is less important than whether you hit the track or pool regularly – at least several times a week.
When it comes to the heart benefits observed in their latest study, the American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise like walking or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity exercises like kickboxing, along with muscle-strengthening exercises two or more days a week.
If you’re curious about how to get started, we recently spoke to a physical trainer and exercise scientist who laid out an easy weekly plan. Try it for yourself!
This is a guest post courtesy of Christina C., the lead esthetician at Silver Mirror Facial Bar.
We all want to fight off any visible signs of aging, but many of us aren’t necessarily doing it properly. Many people will do the bulk of their anti-aging skincare routine in the evening before they go to bed, but the truth is there is a lot you can do in the morning.
What better way to ensure you maintain a youthful, radiant glow through the day than by putting the work that you’ll get to show off all day?
Here are some proven techniques that you can invite to your morning anti-aging routine.
Have a Fruit Smoothie
There are some important compounds in certain fruit that help strengthen your skin, boost its production of healthy skin cells, and protect it from photoaging. Things like antioxidants, vitamins C and E, and other minerals have been shown to have anti-aging properties to protect your youthful skin.
So first thing in the morning, make yourself a smoothie with blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, kiwi, oranges, papaya, guava, and other fruits that are high in those minerals.
Apply Natural Sunscreen
Before you set out for the day, you should always apply sunscreen to your face and your neck. Most of the damage to your skin that you will accumulate in your life comes from UV radiation from sunlight, so you should have sunscreen on even if you are sitting inside by a window.
Find a good, natural sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher and comes with moisturizing properties. Avoid anything that says it has ingredients like retinyl palmitate, retinol, and especially oxybenzone as they have been linked to causing skin damage.
Use Natural Oils
There are some good natural oils that can be very beneficial to your skin’s health. Coconut oil and olive oil are both excellent sources of antioxidants, which was mentioned above as being great for anti-aging.
You don’t have to use both these oils, however, so pick which one you like best. Coconut oil can be massaged into your skin after washing your face in the morning as a natural moisturizer, while olive oil has good natural protection against sun exposure.
Give Yourself an Acupressure Massage
Speaking of massaging, after you wake up you can give yourself a quick acupressure massage.
Take your index and middle finger and apply light pressure between your eyebrows, on each temple, and then the joints of your jaw while lightly clenching your teeth. Rotate the fingers on each spot for around 10 seconds.
This quick massage helps relax the muscles in the area and smoothes the skin there to prevent them from wrinkling due to tension caused by stress.
Apply Eye Cream
The skin around your eyes are usually the first part of your face to show wrinkling, due to you rubbing your eyes, smiling, crying, and other sources of stress on the skin.
Even as early as your 20’s, you should be applying eye cream around your eyes to help strengthen the skin there and fight off wrinkles from forming. Do it in the morning when you get up to help keep the skin around your eyes protected when you are out in the sun, smiling, laughing, and feeling stressed. That’s when your skin will need the help.
You can start with a lighter cream that also moisturizes and fortifies your skin with vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and antioxidants.
Christina C. is the lead esthetician at Silver Mirror Facial Bar on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, NYC. She has over 18 years of experience in the beauty and spa industries, both as an educator for top skincare and makeup brands, as well as a highly sought-after esthetician providing high-end facials. Silver Mirror Facial Bar has been a natural step in Christina’s journey as it encompasses results-driven facials and treatments in a dynamic and skincare-loving environment. Connect with Christina on Twitter.