Cellular senescence is a biological process in which cells stop dividing. The cells aren’t dead nor are they alive. There is a misconception that cellular senescence is only a bad thing. Those type of cells plays an essential role in the protection against cancer, embryonic development, tissue repair, etc. But unfortunately, they are also an important factor in aging and age-related pathologies
Senescence and age-related tissue dysfunction
Scientists don’t have a consensus on how cellular senescence contributes to aging and age-related diseases. One hypothesis is that senescent cells contribute to the overall decline in tissue regenerative potential that occurs with aging. Another untested idea is that the accumulation of those cells promotes inflammation through the proinflammatory growth factors such as cytokines and chemokines.
Why do senescent cells accumulate?
This question is also one that is unanswered to this day. One possible reason can be that the production of these cells might increase over time. If cellular stresses drove senescence, it would take a long time to accumulate. Therefore an alternative to the previous hypothesis is that the efficiency in which the immune system eliminates senescent cells may decrease with aging. In mice, researchers demonstrated that senescent cells could be killed and disposed of by immune cells. By these observations, the possibility rose that senescent cells are armed with a self-elimination program that proceeds by attracting both adaptive and innate immune cells (T cells, NK cells, etc.)
Senolytics: natural compounds
Senolytics are a specific class of drugs that can eliminate senescent cells. Various senolytic compounds are under investigation, and we will hopefully have an excellent senolytic medicine in the near future to stop and even reverse aging. But in the meantime, we have some promising natural senolytic agents on hand that are generally recognized as safe. These compounds are well known natural supplements that are available at almost every health store and can be found in different foods.
Quercetin is a polyphenol found in many vegetables and fruits. This compound is also sold as a low-cost dietary supplement. quercetin can induce senescence and promote cell death in numerous types of cancer cells, and luckily, it has the opposite effect on healthy cells and delays the conversion of these cells into a senescent state
Tocotrienols are a lesser well-known member of the vitamin E family. It is mainly studied in combination with quercetin. Just like quercetin, tocotrienols stimulate cellular senescence in cancer cells and slow the aging of healthy tissues. These properties make the combination of tocotrienols and quercetin the most promising senolytic agents that are widely available at this time
Similar to quercetin, fisetin is a naturally occurring plant polyphenol and can be found in strawberries, cucumbers, apples, etc. Fisetin was found to be a senolytic compound in vitro.
This said, research on cellular senescent and senolytics is still in its infancy, and I encourage you to follow this incredible, exciting field and do your online research before incorporating any of the compounds above into your longevity regime.