Exosomes: What Are They and Why Are They Important?
Next Health Staff | | 0 comments
Exosomes have been known for some time, but they’ve only recently made a splash in many medical and health wellness communities. That’s because scientists only recently discovered evidence indicating that it may be the exosomes of stem cells that have led to a variety of health-related breakthroughs, not the stem cells themselves.
As a result, health optimization clinics like Next|Health have begun offering exosome therapies to bolster bodily health and to target certain conditions. But before you try exosome therapy for yourself, it’s important to know what exactly exosomes are and why they are important for the future of medical science. Let’s dive in.
What Are Exosomes?
Exosomes are types of extracellular vesicles, which can be thought of as small bubbles or miniature shuttles that operate largely outside the cells of your body. Although exosome science has marched on these vesicles’ discovery, exosomes have been known to science for about 30 years ever since small bubbles were discovered being secreted by most cells.
It’s thought that exosomes contain various types of cellular information or instructions, often packaged as RNA or other types of proteins. Cells send out exosomes to communicate with other cells, and it’s clear that regular cellular functions would be impaired or impossible without these vesicles and their unique properties.
Through exosomes, cells can communicate about:
- The status of the immune system
- When certain cells are replicating out of control
- When the body needs certain vitamins and nutrients
Note that exosomes are not the only type of cellular vesicle. Instead, they are a distinct class that is becoming more and more notable due to their potential health benefits.
How Were Exosomes Discovered?
Exosomes were first discovered decades ago, and the term was coined in 1987. But it wasn’t until 1989 that scientists recognized exosomes as unique vesicles that were responsible for many types of cellular transmission or communication throughout the body.
How Are Exosomes Formed?
Most exosomes are created through vessels called intraluminal vesicles or ILVs. It’s important to note, however, that some ILVs produce different types of cellular vesicles, while others are specialized for exosome production. The exact formulation process for exosomes is largely still unclear, but scientists do know that these vesicles are created in the endosome.
Upon being created, exosomes are filled with different types of cellular information or instructions. They are then progressively filtered out to the cell wall and dispersed into the surrounding blood or other intracellular fluid.
Different exosomes can be created depending on the packaged proteins and nucleic acids that are packed inside. These may impact a given exosome’s function or shape.
While these are indeed messenger vehicles, it’s important to recognize that exosomes are not released with any targeted function. Instead, cells are created with the ability to recognize certain types of exosomes and allow them inside their own bodies. The cellular information is then released, which has the possibility of altering a receiver cell’s function or operation.
What Exosomes Do
Exosomes are not remarkable purely because of their main function as communicative vessels. But some exosomes, like those released by stem cells, have the possibility of bolstering bodily health and other major benefits.
Indeed, exosomes do different things based on their cell of origin. For instance, an exosome that is released by a regenerative stem cell could inspire healing and repair in other cells that receive its unique bundle of proteins and nucleic acids. Cells can communicate through the endocrine system for hormone production. On the other hand, exosomes made by diseased cells could help scientists detect and diagnose various bodily conditions like cancer – these are technically a type of biomarker.
Put another way:
- Exosomes communicate with other cells through carrying a unique package of nucleic acids and proteins.
- The receiver cells unpack the nucleic acids and proteins. Depending on what exactly is inside, this may change the receptor cell’s composition or attributes, or it may inspire some other behavior.
- By “messaging” this way, exosomes have the capacity to change cellular behavior and affect the body across the board.
This is why many scientists are looking into exosome therapy as a way to treat various conditions or illnesses. Since exosomes come in many different types and quantities, it’s still not clear exactly how far exosome therapy can go and what limits – if any – apply to the health benefits that they may be able to provide to a patient.
Why Are Exosomes Popular For Rejuvenation Therapies?
Stem cells are the baseline or regenerative cells of the body. Our bodies are formed from stem cells initially when they’re developing in the womb. But as we get older, more and more of our cells are replaced with “normal” cells instead of stem cells.
However, our adult bodies still retain some stem cells even into adulthood. It’s thought that stem cell exosomes could carry the ability to cause repair and regeneration even in non-stem cells. The potential applications for this medical find are immense.
Health optimization clinic like Next Health are trailblazers in this new scientific frontier, offering exosome therapy for those looking to potentially benefit from all of these vesicles’ possible health boosts.
Depending on the goals of the therapy, exosomes can be applied either generally throughout the body or introduced to specific target areas.
Potential Benefits of Exosomes
Let’s break down some of the benefits one may experience upon signing up for exosome therapy.
Remember, stem cells are regenerating by nature. If exosomes from these types of cells are successfully spread throughout the rest of your body, you might experience significant anti-aging effects, including better skin, greater vitality, improved cognition, and much more.
This occurs since stem cell exosomes have the potential to correct cellular degradation over time. Aging in general is a direct result of gradual but progressive cellular decay – as your cells replicate, they obtain flaws and start to fail over time, and each successive generation is more flawed than the last.
But stem cells could help hijack this process and return cellular replication health back to “normal” levels, counteracting some of the effects of aging.
One of the more potential targeted uses for exosome therapy is for treating hair loss. Lots of people end up experiencing hair loss since their hair follicles degrade over time. This is particularly true for men as their testosterone begins to dip with age.
If the right kinds of exosomes are injected into hair follicles, those follicles may behave differently and may even start to regenerate. This can sometimes result in better hair growth or thicker hair growth, counteracting the effects of male pattern baldness and other conditions.
Healing and Longevity Promotion
Certain autoimmune diseases, like Lyme disease and arthritis, are harmful to the body since they compromise your system and cause too much inflammation. However, exosomes loaded with the right proteins and nucleic acids could interrupt this inflammation process and counteract some of the symptoms of diseases like arthritis or Lyme disease, particularly if they are injected or applied in the correct area.
Note that none of this is to say that exosomes can treat any disease or automatically halt the effect of aging wholesale. Instead, exosomes are best thought of as potential solutions for a variety of conditions. It’s possible that, as scientists gain more information about these cellular vesicles, exosomes will leap to the forefront of medical treatments for a variety of illnesses and bodily needs.
Where Can You Try Exosome Therapy
The best place to try something like exosome therapy is at a professional and well-regulated health optimization clinic like Next Health. This is because exosome therapy can only be applied through the use of injections or IV drips, both of which required training in order to perform properly.
You should never attempt exosome therapy at home or by yourself, even if you manage to get exosomes in some way.
When signing up for an exosome therapy session, you’ll normally meet with a wellness expert or advisor who can go over your goals for the treatment and help you determine whether exosomes are a good solution for your condition or needs. Then you’ll be able to schedule a session on a day that works best for your lifestyle.
Exosome therapy can take up to several hours, so it’s important to set aside enough time for the therapy to run its course from start to finish.
In the end, exosomes are merely one more piece of the biological puzzle that is the human body. But although they are still being studied, there’s plenty of evidence that exosomes might offer great potential strides in human healthcare and anti-aging efforts. Time will tell whether exosome therapy becomes a mainstay of the wellness industry or not.