What is Regenerative Medicine?
Regenerative medicine is a new exciting field of medicine that focuses on the restoration of youthful function. As we age the levels of certain hormones, and cell lines decrease with age this can result in the breakdown of connective tissue in joints causing pain and deterioration of the joints especially the weight-bearing joints, the knees and the hips. This aging process is accelerated by processed foods, poor nutrition and toxins in our environment. For years the average human lifespan has been increasing until the last decade. We are now seeing a reversal of this trend coupled with an increase in chronic disease.
Most people just accept these changes as part of the normal aging process. Now we can slow down and in many cases reverse this process. Rengerative, as its name suggests, are treatments that not only slow the aging process but reverses it. Joint pain, sexual function, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and skin conditions are areas that offer treatments that can reverse the disease and aging process. Many of these conditions are the result of collagen loss from the tissue.
Exosomes: Stem cells work by excreting exosomes. Exosomes are how cells communicate. Exosomes contain small vesicles containing messenger RNA, chemical signaling compounds like cytokines. Exosomes can help damaged cells repair. In an experiment an old mouse and young mouse well connected, so that their exosomes could pass back and forth. The result is the old mouse grew younger and the young mouse grew older. The old mouse receiving exosomes from the younger mouse used the information to rejuvenate its cells by using the messenger RNA from the younger mouse to produce better proteins. The key is exosomes from younger individuals can rejuvenate old individuals. As we grow older the number and quality of our stem cells and their exosomes deteriorate. By using exosomes cultured from amnionic stem cells we transmit the youthful information of a newborn into our aging cells. This results in organ repair and better function especially brain function. Using amniotic stem cells is problematic because they contain foreign DNA and tend to get stuck in the lungs. Exosomes contain no foreign DNA and go everywhere, which makes them much better treatment than foreign stem cells.
The FDA has banned many stem cell therapies because of the problems they can cause. Stem cells take from one’s body fat also pose problems because.
- They are old stem cells and have less function.
- Adipose-derived stem cells may be partially differentiated make them unsuitable for many uses. For example, one woman given stem cells around her eyes started growing bone in her eyelids.
Exosomes can be injected into joints or given systemically via an IV. Systemic exosomes can rejuvenate tissue throughout the body. They are given every three to four months resulting in rejuvenation of the body over time.
Exosomes are like drinking milk without having to eat the cow.
Joint replacement often relieves the pain, but at the cost of less capability. In some cases, the joint replacement results in permanent pain and poor function. In many cases, joint replacement can be completely avoided by modern joint repair techniques.
Many people confuse joint injections done by their orthopedic surgeon with regenerative techniques. Two examples of this are corticosteroid injections which reduce inflammation and hyaluronic acid which adds lubrication to the joint but do not repair the cartilage. These injections often offer short term palliative relief of the pain, but do not correct the underlying cause.
Regenerative techniques are designed to repair the joint and pain relief is a secondary benefit of a normally functioning joint. The key to these therapies is adding collagen and connective tissue back into the joint. Yes, you can regrow cartilage. The early treatment begins the better the results. However, even in cases where there is bone on bone contact, joint function can in many cases be restored. Pain relief with regenerative techniques is gradual as the pain relief comes with cartilage regrowth which takes time. Knee pain is a good example. Prolozone therapy, stem cells, PRP, placenta products and combinations of these treatments. These take time to be effective because it takes time to grow cartilage. Prolozone treatments are spaced at 4 weeks until pain relief is achieved. Pain relief comes when the damaged surfaces are covered with new cartilage. Pain relief also comes before the cartilage is fully restored.
Once the pain is gone the frequency of treatments can be spread out but still need to be continued until the maintenance stage is reached. Once the joint is pain-free maintenance treatments are usually required once every 6 to 12 months to maintain the result. After all wear and tear of the joint doesn’t stop just because the joint doesn’t hurt anymore. Maintaining results also requires nutritional support. In our surveys of patients, those that stop their nutritional support tend to see the pain gradually come back.
Like many other conditions, the loss of collagen is a primary factor in the deterioration of sexual and urinary function as well as the lower levels of hormones. We can help in both areas.
In women, this presents as weakening of the pelvic floor, and loss of fullness of labia majora, and thinning of the vaginal wall. Lower hormone levels also contribute to tissue breakdown and the loss of libido. The good news is these conditions respond to treatment. Collagen levels can be increased with PRP (platelet-rich plasma) restoring pelvic floor function.
BHRT (bioidentical hormone replacement therapy) is very effective in improving skin tone, brain function, libido, and sexual function. Many women are worried about HRT (hormone replacement therapy) due to some large studies showing an increased breast and ovary cancer risk with these drugs. These studies were done hormone-like drugs particularly Premarin and methyl progesterone, which are not human hormones, not bioidentical hormones. Smaller studies done with bioidentical hormones did not show these risks.
Erectile dysfunction is a common complaint in older men, but it is also increasingly common in younger men as well. We are also seeing lower testosterone in younger men as well. This is most likely caused by the increasing number of estrogen compounds found in the environment, especially plastics. We offer PRP and prolozone treatments for ED. These therapies increase blood flow and collagen in the penis. We can also improve the function of the nerve plexus that controls erectile function.