How the Human Body Regenerates New Cells Every Year

Stefan Chin and Savannah Rose Geary of SciShow explain how the human body can regenerate new cells every year, whether through natural or intentional means.

Every year around January 1st you’ll hear people say ‘New year, new me’ and while it’s not tied to the calendar there might actually be some truth to that statement. Like when your body literally makes new parts of itself.

Geary spoke in depth about new discoveries in regenerative science, particularly stem cells.

Stem cells are the most flexible kind of cells in your body and as they reproduce they can differentiate into specific and different kinds of tissues. …Basically regenerative medicine is the stuff we do to try to help a body heal its own tissues and for a while the most promising thing we’ve been able to throw at this problem has been stem cells.

There are some drawbacks, however, to stem cell regeneration.

Embryonic stem cells have had limited use because of two major problems first the ethics of destroying an embryo even in the name of life-saving research are still hotly debated. Second, fresh embryonic stem cells are just hard to come by.

The latter problem has scientists looking for new stem cell resources in odd places, such as menstruation.

Menstrual fluid scientists had a hunch that the uterus might be utilizing stem cells for its monthly redecorating, so in 2007 they collected menstrual fluid, isolated the cells, and got to work testing them to see if they were actually stem cells. There are two basic tests that confirm whether a cell is a stem cell or not can it clone and can it differentiate into other types of cells. The answer to that was yes on both accounts.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails. Lori can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.