How Can You Get a Cellular Regeneration or Healing Boost?
Medically reviewed by Leann Poston M.D. on 9/28/20
Modern medicine has come a long way and done some amazing things. However, being able to wave a magic doodad over a wound and have it instantly heal, or take a pill and bust out in muscles like certain superheroes still isn’t quite a reality. That doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to improve your cellular regeneration and get a healing boost in your body. This can be useful not only when you are looking to recover from or combat a specific wound or injury but is also essential to athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness types as well. In fact, almost everyone can benefit from a healing boost, and the benefits it can provide.
In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at exactly what we mean by a healing boost. We’ll start by examining the role or benefits of healthy cellular regeneration and healing in different parts of the body. We’ll also look specifically at the benefits and need for healing boosts in athletes and bodybuilders. Then, we will examine some exciting possibilities – that a healing boost may, in fact, help reverse damage to various systems in the body caused by chronic conditions. In order to expand upon the topic, we’ll touch on the various factors that govern the healing process in the body. That sets the stage for a discussion of lifestyle choices and medical treatments or therapies that are available to help provide increased cellular regeneration and healing boost. So let’s get started!
General Benefits of Cellular Regeneration and Healing in the Body
The most obvious benefits or roles that cellular regeneration and healing play in the body is, well, healing! Whether we’re talking about a cut healing over, muscle or ligament injury healing, or recovery from an illness, the intersection of healing, the immune system, and cellular repair/regeneration mechanisms is pretty well-established. That includes many discrete but inter-related systems and processes in the body, such as:
- Replacement of dead and damaged cells
- Fighting off infections and foreign material in the body through the immune system
- Inflammation and subsequent tissue growth and repair, particularly for skin and soft tissues like muscle, ligaments, and tendons
- Creation of new blood cells to ensure adequate oxygenation of the blood
- Vascular growth and regrowth of capillaries
- Growth and development for youth and teens
- Injury recovery and wound healing
Therefore, it should be fairly clear that the efficiency and activity of cellular repair, regeneration, and healing in the body will directly impact how you fare in all of these different areas and systems in your body. The impairment will suppress some or all of these functions, whereas a healing boost can help you achieve the full performance and benefits they can provide.
Specific Benefits of Healing Boosts to Athletes and Bodybuilders
Building on the aforementioned benefits or roles within the body, a healing boost can be even more important for athletes and bodybuilders. We’re not just talking about recovering from serious injuries, though that is certainly important. Rather, the ability to grow and tone your muscles, train, and perform rely in part on these same healing processes.
It all comes down to how soft tissues, and especially muscle tissues, actually work. Training and putting a strain on muscles challenges them, a process known as muscle hypertrophy. It’s actually an injury process – the strain or challenge causes damage to the muscle fibers. Cellular repair and healing address this injury by healing, fusing the damaged muscle fibers, strengthening the muscle, and increasing its size. Several hormones and other chemicals play a role in this process, though protein makes up the crucial building blocks for muscle tissue.
Therefore, it follows that a healing boost and greater ability to heal and repair muscle tissue can mean greater gains from training and exercises, both in terms of speed and mass. This can be an indispensable advantage for athletes and bodybuilders, as well as those individuals looking to get physically fit and improve their physique. That’s why this healing process is so often exploited, in different ways, by performance-enhancing substances, including some that are quite dangerous and others that are quite safe. The important takeaway here is the mechanism and how it works, such that better healing and cellular repair can mean better physical gains from training and greater performance capability.
Cellular Regeneration and Healing Boost May Help Reverse Chronic Conditions
In addition to the above benefits and mechanisms of action in the body, cellular regeneration and a healing boost may even help reverse damage in the body caused by chronic health conditions and diseases. As most people are aware, almost every cell type and tissue type in the body is effectively replaced and regenerated over time. Your skin, for example, is replaced every 7 years. In reality, cells are constantly dying and being replaced, but it is estimated the entire thing is “new” on roughly that time scale. The same holds true for many organs and systems.
Some diseases and chronic conditions cause damage and deteriorate the cells of certain systems in the body faster than they can be repaired. By increasing the healing function with a healing boost, many people can start to turn the tide, replacing and repairing the damage at a faster pace and with greater efficiency. The net result can be improved function in a number of organs, tissues, and systems in the body, even if they have been impaired for years.
How Healing Works
As we mentioned above, numerous chemicals and factors in the body govern the healing process and cellular repair process. Without getting too technical, each of these chemical messengers or compounds work differently, as part of the overall healing and repair cycle. Injury-related repair (compared to regular regeneration and replacement) follows a fairly predictable, three-stage course, with different chemical messengers and compounds coming into play at different times. A simplified view of how healing works:
- Inflammation. Injury, whether a cut in skin or muscle damage from a workout, results in inflammation and swelling around the injury site. This causes some pain, but also allows the body to start working toward repair and homeostasis (a stable, status-quo situation). Typically, blood vessels constrict at first, to allow platelets the opportunity to seal and repair damaged tissues. Then, blood vessels dilate, allowing immune cells such as white blood cells to enter the area, fight off infection, and promote safe healing.
- Cellular Proliferation and Repair. The first phase of response literally and metaphorically stops the bleeding but doesn’t replace damaged tissue or knit closed a wound. That happens in this second phase. Healthy cells, including stem cells that can become new cells of any type, move into the injured area to start to replace damaged or dead cells. Collagen fibers are produced and form a framework for new blood vessels to organize.
- Remodeling. While the wound or injury has healed, and a new matrix of the right cells have organized to replace the damaged cells, it can take some time to return to full strength, resiliency, and function. In some cases, this phase can last several years. The wound site often undergoes a process of toughening up and short-term cellular replacement to return things to a like-new condition.
A healing boost can accelerate these process, and increase their efficacy, thus speeding the healing process for any injury or wound. The same holds true for muscle building and growth, as discussed in our athlete and bodybuilder section featured earlier in this guide.
Lifestyle Choices for a Healing Boost
So, the next natural question most people will have is, “How do you achieve a healing boost?” There are generally two different categories of things that can improve cellular regeneration and a healing boost: lifestyle choices and medical therapies/treatments/supplements. Lifestyle choices are things you can directly control and do more or less in your regular daily life. Medical therapies, treatments, and supplements often need to be undertaken with a doctor’s supervision, prescription, or as part of a concerted and managed program of care specifically aimed at achieving the desired results. We’ll discuss the latter category in the next section.
Examples of Lifestyle Choices
In terms of lifestyle choices that can provide for better cellular regeneration and a boost to your healing capabilities, many align with existing advice for overall good physical health. These include:
- Ensure you eat a balanced, healthy diet. That will help provide your body with the vitamins, minerals, and essential building blocks needed for healing and repair.
- Drink sufficient fluids. Dehydration suppresses immune function and cellular repair, especially seeing as the human body and its cells are mostly made up of water.
- Exercise regularly. If you are an athlete or bodybuilder, this is already part of your routine. For us average folks, however, it is recommended we get at least 2 hours of mild to moderate exercise per week.
- Reduce or stop smoking and alcohol consumption. Both can negatively impact circulation, immune function, and healing capabilities of the body.
- Cut down on stress. Stress releases chemicals that can compromise healing functions in the body and cause additional cell death and damage. Meditation, mindfulness, psychotherapy, and medications can help if you suffer from chronic stress or anxiety, too.
- Be sure to get 7 to 8 hours of good quality, restful sleep every night. Your body is designed to rest, repair, and reset during sleep, and a lot of the healing processes take place during sleep.
Medical Therapies and Supplements for a Healing Boost
Sometimes, however, lifestyle choices or improvements are not enough to see noticeable results. This may especially be true if you are putting your body under a lot of strain, such as building muscle for athletic competition. In order to get a healing boost in these cases, or where lifestyle choices alone have failed to help, there are therapies, treatments, and supplements that have been shown to impact one or more mechanisms of the healing process.
Examples of Treatments
Some examples include:
- Consider taking vitamin supplements or a multivitamin supplement. Vitamin C and zinc are both essential for cell proliferation and regeneration.
- Low platelet levels impair healing function. Likewise, blood thinners reduce platelet concentration and clotting ability. Medications to address these conditions can improve injury healing and repair.
- Reduced levels of growth hormone, as you get older, can make it harder to heal. Taking a growth hormone-releasing supplement can help you produce more of your own natural growth hormone from the pituitary, and thus provides a healing boost.
- Blood flow is essential for the healing process. Addressing blood pressure, cholesterol, and related circulatory issues, to ensure sufficient nutrients and oxygen are available, can speed healing. Medications to improve blood flow and moderate blood pressure, cholesterol, and cardiac function are therefore quite useful.
- Angiogenesis, or the creation of new blood vessels, is also critical for healing and repair. Certain supplements and medications can help significantly improve angiogenesis, and therefore speed healing. BPC-157, a synthetic amino acid peptide, is one of those supplements. It can also help increase collagen production, which is the building block of most soft-tissue repairs in the body.
Modern medicine may not yet allow you to instantly heal from an injury like Wolverine from X-Men. But, it does certainly offer a number of ways to achieve greater cellular repair and regeneration and improve your healing processes. Lifestyle choices and medical therapies, including supplements and medications, can provide a safe and effective healing boost to speed injury and wound repair, boost muscle growth, and enhance athletic and fitness performance.
While we strive to always provide accurate, current, and safe advice in all of our articles and guides, it’s important to stress that they are no substitute for medical advice from a doctor or healthcare provider. You should always consult a practicing professional who can diagnose your specific case. The content we’ve included in this guide is merely meant to be informational and does not constitute medical advice.