Over the past decade, several studies have shown that antioxidants can not only mitigate oxidative stress and improve the survival of Stem Cells but also affect the potency and differentiation of these cells.
Reactive oxygen species are a product of cellular metabolism that has an important role in different processes such as cell survival, differentiation, death and also play an important role in fighting bacterial pathogens. They have been found to cause damage to DNA, RNA and cell proteins.
Antioxidants are supplements that protect the cells from the stress of Reactive oxygen species by neutralizing free radicals. They can influence stem cell activities by mitigating this oxidative stress. They also increase genomic stability, improving adhesion of the cells to culture media that helps researchers to manipulate stem cell proliferation.
Some examples of antioxidants and their mechanism of action are:
- N-Acetyl-L Cysteine and Vitamin C: it was found that they significantly reduced Reactive Oxygen Species generation and increased survival of Stem cells.
- Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) and Glutathione.
- Selenium: decrease Reactive Oxygen Species through increasing glutathione.
- Melatonin: increased the expression of growth factors.
Antioxidants are prevalent supplements worldwide. However, their cell type specific actions are not yet well known. Until now we know that they can improve the viability and self-renewal capacity of stem cells.
Berries, green tea, coffee, and dark chocolate are renowned for being good sources of antioxidants. A diet rich in plants and vegetables is a good source of antioxidants. More studies need to be done in order to know the dose-effect that can have a positive effect on our body and to confirm their safety as nutritional supplements.
Source: Shaban S, El-Husseny MWA, Abushouk AI, Salem AMA, Mamdouh M, Abdel-Daim MM. Effects of Antioxidant Supplements on the Survival and Differentiation of Stem Cells. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:5032102.