The Undead Contributors to Aging

Aging is a natural process that we all experience. As we grow older, our bodies undergo various changes, both visible and invisible. One fascinating aspect of aging is the accumulation of senescent cells, often referred to as “zombie cells.” In this article, we will explore what these zombie cells are, how they relate to aging, and how to stop them.

Where do Zombie cells come from?

Our cells around our body are constantly hurt and damaged by DNA damage, chronic inflammation, and stress. This happens all the time and usually our cells are able to repair themselves. But sometimes they are not able to recover, and to prevent them from turning into cancer or hurting other cells, most will self-destruct, others are destroyed by the immune system.

But there are some that just lose their ability to divide and stop carrying out their usual functions. Rather than dying, they remain in a suspended state, releasing a range of harmful substances into their surroundings, which are commonly seen in premalignant lesions and sites of tissue damage.[1] These are senescent cells, or what we call zombie cells.

The role of Zombie cells in Aging

Senescent cells play a dual role in the aging process. Initially, they serve as a beneficial defence mechanism by preventing damaged cells from becoming cancerous. However, as we age, the number of these cells increases, and their negative effects begin to outweigh the positive ones.

Zombie cells can be found in various organs, including the skin, joints, and even the brain, and their accumulation can contribute to age-related diseases and conditions. The harmful substances released by zombie cells can trigger chronic inflammation and disturb the surrounding tissue’s normal functioning.

This chronic inflammation, often referred to as “inflammaging,” is believed to be a key driver of age-related diseases such as arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. [2]

Good News: We CAN kill these Zombie cells!

Fortunately, research has proven several methods of removing senescent cells from our body, allowing us to combat age-related diseases and promote healthier aging.

  1. Exercise

Regular exercise has been linked to numerous health benefits, and it may also help in clearing out senescent cells.

Physical activity stimulates the production of natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory molecules in the body, which supports the removal of zombie cells. Engaging in both aerobic exercise and strength training has been shown to have positive effects on cellular health.

2. Fasting and calorie restriction

Fasting helps induce autophagy, during which the body removes damaged cells and proteins, including zombie cells. During a fast, you’re essentially starving out the zombie cells.

3. Natural Compounds

Natural compounds, such as quercetin,fisetin, and curcumin [3], have shown potential in eliminating senescent cells. These compounds possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help combat the harmful effects of zombie cells.

4. Senolytics

Senolytics are either supplements that contain the natural compounds mentioned above or drugs specifically designed to target and eliminate senescent cells. These drugs work by triggering the self-destruction of zombie cells, allowing the body to clear them out.


In the thrilling world of medical science, the exploration of the so-called “zombie” or senescent cells in anti-aging is pushing boundaries like never before. We’re opening doors to revolutionary insights that place these seemingly destructive cells right at the heart of the aging process.

But we’re not just making discoveries, we’re engineering solutions. The advent of senolytics – potent weapons against the tyranny of zombie cells – is offering not just hope, but tangible results in combating signs of aging and age-related diseases. With every research advance, we’re a step closer to transforming the way we age. As we continue to delve deeper, we’re inching closer to the day where aging could be a condition to manage, not an inevitability to accept.


1. Anat Biran, Lior Zada, Paula Abou Karam, Ezra Vadai, Lior Roitman, Yossi Ovadya, Ziv Porat and Valery Krizhanovsky: Quantitative identification of senescent cells in aging and Disease 10.1111/acel.12592

2. Balistreri C. R., Candore G., Accardi G., Colonna-Romano G., Lio D. NF-κB pathway activators as potential ageing biomarkers: targets for new therapeutic strategies. Immunity & Ageing. 2013;10(1):p. 24. doi: 10.1186/1742-4933-10-24.

3. Viviana Barra,Roberta Flavia Chiavetta,Simona Titoli,Ivana Maria Provenzano,Pietro Salvatore Carollo and Aldo Di Leonardo: Specific Irreversible Cell-Cycle Arrest and Depletion of Cancer Cells Obtained by Combining Curcumin and the Flavonoids Quercetin and Fisetin. Genes 2022, 13(7), 112

Functional medicine Malaysia doctor

Dr. Shirley Koeh
05 May 2023

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