Nutrition and stem cell integrity in aging
P J Stover 1 , M S Field 2 , H N Brawley 1 , B Angelin 3 , P O Iverson 4 , G Frühbeck 5
Adult stem cells (SCs) represent the regenerative capacity of organisms throughout their lifespan. The maintenance of robust SC populations capable of renewing organs and physiological systems is one hallmark of healthy aging.
The local environment of SCs, referred to as the niche, includes the nutritional milieu, which is essential to maintain the quantity and quality of SCs available for renewal and regeneration. There is increased recognition that SCs have unique metabolism and conditional nutrient needs compared to fully differentiated cells.
However, the contribution of SC nutrition to overall human nutritional requirements is an understudied and underappreciated area of investigation. Nutrient needs vary across the lifespan and are modified by many factors including individual health, disease, physiological states including pregnancy, age, sex, and during recovery from injury. Although current nutrition guidance is generally derived for apparently healthy populations and to prevent nutritional deficiency diseases, there are increased efforts to establish nutrient-based and food-based recommendations based on reducing chronic disease.
Understanding the dynamics of SC nutritional needs throughout the life span, including the role of nutrition in extending biological age by blunting biological systems decay, is fundamental to establishing food and nutrient guidance for chronic disease reduction and health maintenance.
This review summarizes a 3-day symposium of the Marabou Foundation (www.marabousymposium.org) held to examine the metabolic properties and unique nutritional needs of adult SCs and their role in healthy aging and age-related chronic disease.