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Human Cell Regeneration—A Whole New You

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You’re not the same person you were yesterday. You may look and feel the same, but your body has been busy creating a new you. Humans can’t regrow limbs or entire fully functioning organs (at least not yet, though scientists are constantly researching regenerative processes). But an even more incredible process is going on right now as cells renew your body’s organs on a clockwork schedule ordained by our all-wise Creator.

Ultimate Renewal

Even though the body’s regenerative abilities are amazing, infinitely more miraculous is God’s ability to renew us spiritually.

We’re born with a wicked heart, but he promises a new heart to everyone redeemed by his Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for our sin. “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).

Salvation creates the ultimate new you! “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).


Illustration by Mads Abilgard

24 Hours: Cerebrospinal Fluid

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is clear fluid in and around the brain and spinal cord. In addition to cushioning these vital organs, CSF nourishes these structures of the central nervous system with glucose, proteins, lipids, and electrolytes. Each day humans make approximately half a quart (500 ml) of fresh brain fluid.

10 Days: Taste Buds

Sensory receptors on the tongue, roof of the mouth, and throat recognize the five tastes—sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami (savory)—and alert the digestive system that food is on its way. An average adult has around 10,000 taste buds, which slough off every 10–14 days and grow right back.

2 Weeks: Stomach and Intestinal Lining

Talk about rough work conditions. The intestinal tract labors almost nonstop in an acidic swamp. With all that wear and tear, these cells last up to only five days, requiring a new lining every two to three weeks.

27 Days: Skin

As the body’s first line of defense against damage and pathogens, the skin takes quite a beating. But don’t get too comfortable with the skin you’re in, because the epidermis (the top layer) renews itself roughly every 27 days.

13 Months: Liver

The liver is a filter, cleansing toxins from the body. It’s a strenuous job, so the liver must replace all its cells every 300–500 days. But even more incredible, if the liver is damaged, it is the only organ able to regrow from only 25% of its original mass.

10 Years: Bones

We think of bones as sturdy and unmovable; they are, after all, the body’s scaffolding. But their cells are always changing to adapt to needs, such as pregnancy or weightlifting. Throughout an adult’s life, some bone cells (osteoclasts, or “bone breakers”) remove bone material that’s no longer needed, while other bone cells (osteoblasts, or “bone makers”) build up the bone where it needs to be stronger. New bone forms throughout our life.

10 Years: Fat Cells

Fat cells play a major role in keeping our energy and glucose in balance. Too many or too few of these cells can cause serious problems. Humans renew about 10% of their fat cells annually.


A few body parts never regenerate, such as your tooth enamel, the neurons in your brain’s cerebral cortex, and the cells in the core of your eye lenses.

Dr. DJ Mattson earned his EdD from Liberty University and DPT from the Institute of Health Professions in Boston. He has been teaching in higher education for over three decades and currently serves as faculty at both The Master’s University and Liberty University.

Answers Magazine

March–April 2019

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