Don’t Get Dragged Down By “Zombie Cells”

Did you watch any of the zombie shows that were all over the airways a few years back?

I confess my sons and I really got into the program The Walking Dead. Watching the cast of characters try to survive in a world overrun by dead zombies was a fun way to spend some time together and wrap up a Sunday night.

Typically, when I think of the word “zombie,” I’m thinking of science fact, not fiction…

Zombie cells are known scientifically as senescent cells. These are dysfunctional cells that have stopped dividing and are nearing the end of their natural lives.

Zombie cells are too sick and damaged to carry out their normal functions.

But just like the creatures on the show my sons and I watched, they aren’t completely dead, and that prevents your body from getting rid of them.

You see, when you’re young, your immune system clears most zombie cells out of your body. But as you age and your immune system becomes less effective, zombie cells build up and accumulate.

The danger of senescent cells is that they can harm nearby healthy cells – in the same way that one moldy apple can rot an entire fruit bowl.

Senescent cells are a major driver of age-related disease and dysfunction. They even accelerate aging.

In fact, research shows that in a group of 7,000 healthy cells, just one zombie cell can start degenerative aging.1

Mounting evidence now links the buildup of zombie cells to accelerated aging, inflammation, and multiple age-related conditions, including…2

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Various cancers
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Vision loss
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis

In certain cases, senescent cells can be useful. For example, they play a role in wound healing.

But problems arise when they build up year after year and rampage around your body like an army of living dead zombies, causing inflammation and turning healthy cells against you.

The good news is that a new field of regenerative medicine called senolytics has recently emerged in the search for therapies that can stop the buildup of zombie cells.

As you might expect, dozens of Big Pharma companies are now working on a new class of expensive drugs called “senoblockers.”

They’re marketing these synthetic and experimental “zombie hunters” as the next big breakthrough in anti-aging medicine.

Use an all-natural “army” to seek out and destroy senescent cells

At the Sears Institute of Anti-aging Medicine, we always recommend natural cures before giving in to Big Pharma drugs.

And I encourage patients to clear out senescent cells with a number of natural senolytic therapies. Here’s what I suggest:

  1. Supplement with the most powerful senolytic ever discovered: I’m talking about a flavonoid called fisetin. A cell study published in the journal Aging showed that fisetin eliminated about 70% of senescent cells – while causing no harm to healthy, normal human cells.3There are a number of human trials of fisetin currently in progress.4 But an animal study has already shown striking results.

    When old mice – equivalent to 75 years in human age – were given fisetin, they lived an average of 2.5 months longer.

    That’s a 10% increase in lifespan.5

    Fisetin can be found in small amounts in many fruits and vegetables, including strawberries, apples, persimmons, grapes, and onions.

    But it’s almost impossible to get what you need from food. I recommend you supplement with 100 mg of fisetin once a day. And to increase the bioavailability by as much as 25 times, look for a supplement that also includes fenugreek. This helps protect the fisetin during digestion.

  2. Then, add in apigenin: This is another potent phytonutrient and flavonoid with documented senolytic properties.Research reveals apigenin inhibits cell senescence and pro-inflammatory compounds produced by senescent cells. It has also long been known for anti-anxiety properties, and animal studies show it to be protective against Alzheimer’s.6,7The most abundant sources of apigenin are chamomile tea, parsley, tomatoes, celery, artichokes, peppermint, and the herb basil.

    Apigenin is also available in supplement form. It can cause drowsiness, so I recommend taking 100 mg before bedtime.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD, CNS


1. Xu M, et al. “Senolytics improve physical function and increase lifespan in old age.” Nat Med. 2018 Aug;24(8):1246-56.
2. Tchkonia T, Kirkland JL. “Aging, cell senescence, and chronic disease: Emerging therapeutic strategies.” JAMA. 2018;320(13):1319–1320.
3. Zhu Yet al. “New agents that target senescent cells: the flavone, fisetin, and the BCL-XL inhibitors, A1331852 and A1155463.” Aging. 2017 Mar 8;9(3):955-63.
4. Kirkland JL, Tchkonia T. “Senolytic drugs: from discovery to translation.” J Intern Med. 2020 Nov;288(5):518-36.
5. Yousefzadeh MJ, et al. “Fisetin is a senotherapeutic that extends health and lifespan.” EBioMedicine. 2018 Oct;36:18-28.
6. Liu R, et al. “The flavonoid apigenin protects brain neurovascular coupling against amyloid-β- induced toxicity in mice.” J Alzheimers Dis. 2011;24(1):85-100.
7. Lim H, et al. “Effects of flavonoids on senescence-associated secretory phenotype formation from bleomycin-induced senescence in BJ fibroblasts.” Biochem Pharmacol. 2015 Aug 15;96(4):337-48.