S: Hello and welcome to the Optimized Geek. I’m your host, Stephan Spencer. Today we have Dr. Harry Adelson with us. Dr. Adelson is an expert at Stem Cell Therapy. I got to sit in on his talk at the Bulletproof Conference pretty recently which is run by Dave Asprey and it just blew me away, what I heard and saw in Dr. Adelson’s session in that presentation. Dr. Adelson has performed over 4,000 bone marrow and adipose derived adult stem cell procedures placing him among the most experienced in the world with the use of autologous stem cells for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain conditions. He’s also the founder of the Docere Clinics and Practices in Park City, Utah. Dr. Adelson, great to have you on the show.
H: Thanks so much Stephan. This is fun. It’s great to be here.
S: Let’s talk a bit about the Bulletproof connection because that’s how we ended up speaking today. You injected Dave Asprey, the Bulletproof executive, with stem cells, his own stem cells in his brain and in his privates and he Facebook lived it while you guys were extracting stem cells. It just was a pretty extreme thing to have somebody Facebook Live-ing it and I don’t even think he did any kind of anesthesia or anything, any kind of painkillers.
H: To be clear, we didn’t actually inject it into his brain, we gave him intravenous stem cells. Before that, we preloaded him with intravenous mannitol. Mannitol is a medication, it’s basically a type of sugar but it’s used in the emergency room when people have any kind of increase pressure within their skull. What it does is it temporarily renders permeable the blood brain barrier. You administer this mannitol which makes the blood brain barrier temporarily permeable then you give the stem cells intravenously to allow the growth factors in stem cells to enter into the brain. It wasn’t like I put a needle in his brain, just to be perfectly clear. As far as the injection in his private parts, I actually didn’t do that one. I have another doctor, Dr. Amy Killen. She does cosmetic stem cells and she does stems cells for sexual optimization and she did those. I focus on musculoskeletal pain. I injected his knees, his shoulder, I treated his wife, Dr. Lana, who has a pretty severe post whiplash syndrome and we injected her cervical spine and her C1, C2 and along her occiput. We did an epidural injection in her cervical spine. About half the patients that come to us choose to be sedated and I prefer that they do because it makes my job a whole lot easier but of course Dave needed to experience everything because he uses his own body as an experiment. The big thing that we ran into with Dave was when we’re setting up the appointment, with Dave, you’re talking to his assistants, you’re not really talking to him so much. The instruction of make sure to have something to eat before the treatment, he didn’t somehow get that memo. He came in and I said to him, so Dave, did you have something to eat this morning? He said, oh yeah, sure. I’ve had five Bulletproof coffees. I said, okay, that’s nutritious. But I actually meant if he had any solid food and he said no. We’re trying to figure out something for him to eat from what we have in the clinic and Dave is very particular about what he eats and so we’re just getting nowhere. We finally decided to start and of course he passed out on us which only happens once every three years or something and then he immediately took a picture of himself when he woke up and posted it on Facebook. He’s got like 10 million followers or something.
S: That’s hilarious. Once in a three year thing. It’s funny. But it was good exposure, I suppose, right?
H: Oh yeah. Sure. And he is a terrific guy. It was great to get to know him too.
S: The sedation, are you completely under? Dave’s not normal by any stretch, for the normal person who goes under sedation, are they completely out? Or are they in a bit of a stupor?
H: There’s two main types of anesthesia. One is general anesthesia. General anesthesia, you’re unconscious and the medications that are used for that are pretty hard on your brain and they’re pretty hard on your liver. The other type of anesthesia is called conscious sedation or it’s also called procedural anesthesia and that’s intravenous drugs that are much gentler but they actually don’t make it so you’re unconscious, they make it so you’re asleep. For all intents and purposes, you are asleep, you don’t feel any of it, you don’t know what’s happening. You’d wake up, you have no recollection but you feel refreshed because one of the medications actually puts you into REM sleep. You feel like you just had a great nap. That’s what we do here, the second kind.
S: I was not looking forward to having this huge needle stuck into my back and having conscious awareness of it and just not being completely out. Thanks for clarifying. It doesn’t sound as terrifying now. But the needle is pretty long and I guess there are two different ways as you’re showing in your presentation at Bulletproof, you showed getting it directly from the bone marrow in your spine, that’s scary to me. I’m nervous about needles in general, even getting my blood drawn, but then to get it right in your spine is a little bit terrifying to me. The other type which seems more appealing to me is where you get it from the adipose tissue from the fat in your back, but the video you were showing of that, you’re going in a whole bunch of times with that needle. Can you compare and contrast those two approaches?
H: Sure. Just to clarify, when we do the bone marrow aspiration, the bone that we take the bone marrow from, it’s not actually your spine. It’s the big flat bone in your pelvis called the ilium. There’s two types of bones, you have long bones and then you have flat bones. Flat bones are rich with stem cells. When you look at skeleton, you see those big frisbee looking bones in the pelvis. That’s where we’re extracting the bone marrow from. It looks like it’s coming from the spine but it’s actually off to the side and not anywhere near the spinal cord. The thing about the bone marrow aspiration is placing the needle—if you’re awake I’m saying, if you’re sedated, you’re completely asleep. But if you’re awake, surprisingly you don’t feel the needle placement at all. You can completely numb that up and it looks the scariest but it’s actually completely painless. I’ve had it done to me so I know what it feels like. When you aspirate the bone marrow, that’s when I have your complete attention. It’s a very intense pressure sensation in the deepest part of your body. You brain, part of what makes it such a weird experience is your brain has no way to categorize the experience because the only way you’d ever experience something like that is if you were being sucked out of a spaceship. It’s just this very intense negative pressure inside your bones. Lasts about 60 seconds and it’s over. The second we stop, it’s over. For some people it’s very intense, for other people it’s not so bad. It has nothing to do with how tough you are. It has everything to do with how many nerve endings you have inside your bone. There’s really only one way to find to find out and that’s to try it and see which one of those people you are. The lipoaspiration, it’s a miniature liposuction. It’s a blunt-tip instrument that goes under the skin and then it’s manipulated around in order to aspirate the fat. That one doesn’t hurt really at all while you’re doing it but it’s pretty tender afterwards. The more thin a person is, the longer it’s tender for afterwards. I had it done to me and it was talking to me for a few weeks. It’s not unbearable, just uncomfortable. I started out as a bone marrow guy because in the beginning that’s really what everyone was doing and I was very fortunate that I was one of the early guys who learned how to aspirate bone marrow and learned how to concentrate it and apply it therapeutically. I have seven years of experience with that, I’ve done a lot of cases. Injecting with bone marrow gives very good outcomes, very consistent and good outcomes for musculoskeletal pain conditions. I started isolating stem cells from fat in 2011. But then, there are all these rumors flying around that it was illegal. I figured I would just hold off and see what happened. I continued to do it in South America but I was no longer doing it in the United States for a period of years. Then in 2014, I realized that no one was getting thrown in jail, no one was getting any letters from the FDA. Enough people were doing it, I felt okay starting to do it again. I initially had the temptation to combine the stem cells from the bone marrow with the stem cells from the fat. I thought about it and I thought maybe I should just do one or the other to see because maybe if we’re using the fat, perhaps it’s not necessary to use bone marrow, perhaps we can skip that part because nobody’s really enthusiastic about having a bone marrow aspiration. For a period of months, I offered people the option between would you rather use bone marrow which I have quite a bit of experience with, there’s quite a bit of data on it. I can tell you that routinely we help people, or we can use stem cells from fat which I have far less experience with. There is less data but we’re going to get millions of stem cells. As opposed to tens of thousands of stem cells, we’re going to get millions, and possibly tens of millions of stem cells. Potentially, theoretically, we could get a superior outcome but I don’t know for sure, what do you want to do? People would cell select. After six months, I called everybody after treating them. The bone marrow group, as had been my experience for the years leading up to it, had very consistent results. The stem cells from the adipose groups when it worked, it worked better than the bone marrow, but it didn’t work as consistently. I had about a 30% non-responder rate as opposed to a 10% non-responder rate from bone marrow. Then, my dad came to visit and my dad needed treatment and I thought what am I going to do for my dad? I wanted to do both for him. After that experience, I thought if I’m going to do both for my dad, I got to do both for everybody. For the next number of months, I combined the two. I did a similar survey, at six months, I called everybody, checked on them and what I found was combining the two seemed to give the consistency of the bone marrow and the augmented improvement of the fat. That was in late 2014. Since then, I’ve been using both combined.
S: Got it. If you were hoping for just one and not the other, you’re out of luck if you’re going to get treated by Dr. Adelson.
H: I’m willing to do it just as long as you realize that my experience has been that using the fat stem cells without bone marrow, you run the risk of not having a good outcome.
S: Yeah. 30% non-responder rate doesn’t sound that great when you have to go in and get this procedure done and then find out it didn’t really work. Let’s back up from this whole thing of getting people freaked out about the needles and the going under and everything. Why would you even want to do this? How can this change your life? You look pretty healthy and you’ve had your own stem cells harvested, was that to bank it for later just in case or was it to treat certain injuries? Was it to make yourself younger in certain ways like Dave and his wife, Lana? He had described amazing results to their sexual performance because of the stem cell therapy to their private parts. I’m curious what was the impetus for you?
H: When I was in naturopathic school, I tore the labrum in my shoulder. I tore the ball and socket portion of your shoulder. The socket is covered with cartilage and I tore that cartilage and it threatens to sideline me from ever rock climbing again. I was not willing to take no for an answer. I had the predecessor of stem cell therapy, something called prolotherapy done to my shoulder and it worked so well, it resulted in complete cure that I decided that I wanted to devote my career to prolotherapy and the field that’s called regenerative pain medicine, regenerative injection therapy. I started out doing prolotherapy then that lead to learning platelet rich plasma and then that lead to stem cells. Stem cells is really the natural evolution of prolotherapy. There’s many uses for stem cell therapy ranging from neurologic disease to autoimmune disease to essentially the cosmetics stuff. You name it. My practice is entirely treating musculoskeletal pain disorders. We treat low back pain, we treat arthritic knees, we treat hips, if it moves in your body and it’s painful, we’ve treated it from the TMJ to the big toe. That’s what got me interested in it myself was being an athlete, having injuries and wanting to stay back in the game. The stem cell therapy that I underwent was for a torn hamstring and it worked beautifully well.
S: Amazing. What happens though if you had a knee replacement or they went in and they dug stuff out or they put metal in there. Are you still a candidate for a stem cell therapy?
H: Not really, no. Clearly, stem cells aren’t going to do anything to augment artificial material. Occasionally, we’ll get people who will have pain in the musculature surrounding the prosthetic joint. In that case, we can help them a little bit. But no, overall, we do much better when we get people before surgery. Having said that, we’ve had plenty of people with low back pain who’ve had fusions and have hardware in their spine and we help some of those people, some of those people we don’t help at all. As soon as you throw a bunch of surgery into the mix, it really becomes a big, black box. My consistent results really taper off because it’s very hard to know what the actual pain generator is in that person. It’s much easier for us to get people before surgery.
S: Would you advise somebody who’s getting booked for surgery for knee replacements, they should hold off and try the stem cell therapy first?
H: Well, if they want to. There’s plenty of people who like the idea of an artificial joint and they have no problem with it. They feel like it’s their patriotic duty to do whatever the orthopedic surgeon tells them to do and if that’s the case, that’s fine. I’d say no. Me personally, if I can avoid having my leg cut off and put back on with an artificial piece in the middle of it, I’d rather try anything to try to avoid that. The people who come to me generally think that way. If they absolutely positively need a joint replacement, they’re going to do it, but they would much rather take any and all steps possible to avoid that.
S: Let’s say that the person has no more cartilage left in their knee and it’s bone on bone, can stem cell injection from their own adult stem cells, can that regrow the cartilage?
H: This is a long answer and I apologize in advance to any engineers who are listening to this because you’re going to hate this answer. Let’s take an arthritic knee as the example used. There are two aspects to arthritis. There’s what we can see with our eyes which is the x-ray and we call that the objective finding and it’s objective because it’s from the doctor’s perspective. And then there is also what the patient reports, how much pain they are experiencing which we call the subjective. Again, it’s from the doctor’s perspective so it’s called the subjective. You would think that the objective and the subjective, how bad the x-ray looks would closely correlate to how much pain the person reports but it doesn’t. You can get people with terrible looking x-rays who don’t really have that much pain and you can have other people who have x-rays that look like there’s nothing wrong with them and they have lots of pain. What that leads us to believe is that the narrowing of the joints, which is what you see on the x-ray, that’s not actually the pain generator. The pain generation, the actual pain is occurring on the microscopic level. It’s something that doesn’t show up on x-ray, doesn’t show up on MRI, the only way to really be able to see it is if you did, for instance, a biopsy of the joint surface and looked at it under a microscope which nobody’s going to do because it causes more harm than good. If you were to do that, you would see all these fissures in the bone, you would see these exposed nerve endings and very importantly, you’d see irregular blood vessels. The micro vasculature would have these abnormal blood vessels, even though there’s an increase in the number of blood vessels, the ability to exchange oxygen with carbon dioxide is actually hindered and you have accumulation of iron from the blood in those areas. The pain generation is because of these microscopic changes in the microscopic anatomy. Stem cell therapy works very well for that. That’s what we believe we’re targeting with stem cell therapy. We have stem cells in all the joints of our body and in all the muscular skeletal tissues, pretty much all the tissues in the body, but we’re talking about joints here so we have populations of stem cells in all of our joints. As we age, that population can diminish especially if we’re very athletic or we just don’t take care of ourselves or eat a crappy diet or just play tennis way too much, any sort of situation where we’re constantly recruiting our stem cells and then they no longer have the ability to reproduce themselves. You can deplete the population in target tissues, say your knee. Now your body has no ability to heal itself after injury and I hear this all the time where people say I had knee pain for a number of years and it just gradually got worse and then all of a sudden just one summer, it got real bad and it really spun out of control downhill. I hear that all the time. What we think is happening is that you’ve in fact depleted your population of stem cells. The concept with stem cell therapy is we’re going to another area of your body, namely, the bone marrow and the fat. Harvesting stem cells from an area where you still have a robust population, and then introducing them into the problem area, thereby repopulating, our example is your knee with stem cells, thereby giving your body the ability to heal itself naturally.
S: I’ve seen these before and after photos of horrible open wounds and things that wouldn’t heal and then the stem cell therapy, the injections totally close up the wound and then heal it very quickly. Just moving stem cells around where there’s a lot to an area where they’ve been lower and not as prevalent.
H: Right. What’s really nice about the wound care literature is you can see it with your eyes. You see this stuff happening like you described. When we’re treating knees, when we’re treating the low back, when we’re treating into the vertebral disk, you can’t see it as well. Connective tissue, there is different types, but if it works for skin, it’s real likely that it’s going to work for ligament too and that’s what we found.
S: Interesting. That’s amazing. Why isn’t this more widespread? Why isn’t everybody running and getting stem cell therapy? I would think that this is going to completely revolutionize or should have already revolutionized medicine.
H: You think so. Medicine moves at a glacial rate. Medicine is one of the most difficult places for innovation to occur and there’s a number of reasons for that. One of the main reasons is the concept of sunk cost. With the idea of sunk cost, you build a factory in order to manufacture a widget and then a new widget comes along that actually is better than the widget that you’re manufacturing, but you can’t retro your factory to make this new one so you’re stuck with this other thing. Joint replacement surgery, orthopedic surgery, all of these things are huge industries. There is enormous finance that goes on every year with these things. To really change the course of how we offer treatment is very difficult to do. Additionally, insurance doesn’t pay for these. That’s an immediate turn off for a lot for people and understandably so. People pay a lot for their insurance. Why doesn’t insurance cover this? When you think, hey look, it’s all natural and you would think that they’re going to save so much money because it’s going to prevent some joint replacements. Not necessarily, because the thing about joint replacement is most people aren’t going to rush out and have a knee replacement and lastly absolutely need it. You mentioned Kaiser Permanente earlier and I remember when I was in naturopathic school, when Viagra hit and Kaiser Permanente paid for it in the beginning and it was enormous sums of money lost on it and then they had to reverse that. It’s the sort of thing that if insurance suddenly started paying for stem cell medicine, I’m pretty sure folks would be lining up around the block for it. It most likely would not be a savings for insurance companies and insurance companies are after all publicly traded private corporations that are mandated by law to maximize profits for their shareholders. If they don’t do everything they can to maximize profits, the board of directors can be sued. It’s very tricky. It’s a complex subject, it’s sort of what you and I feel is logical and would make a lot of sense and then there’s the real world of enormous finance and how this all works. Unfortunately, the two frequently do not go hand in hand.
S: Yeah, unfortunately. Let’s say the hypothetical situation, an elderly loved one breaks his or her hip and the prognosis for that is usually a quick dive towards death. If before that person went in for surgery or some major invasive procedure, what could you do from a stem cell therapy standpoint to change the likelihood of death so that it’s much more in that person’s favor now than it was for them going onto this horrible surgery? They’re elderly, too.
H: That’s a little more difficult of a situation because for one, when you talk about broken hips in the elderly, that’s more caused by osteoporosis and osteopenia. I’m not aware of research using stem cells to treat osteoporosis and osteopenia. It’s essentially a demineralization of the bone. The truth is I don’t know the answer to that question.
S: Okay. If you’d heard of osteoporosis being treated effectively by stem cells, you would have a recommendation to try that first but you don’t have any research.
H: What you’re talking about is really osteoporosis and I’m not aware of any research around stem cells and osteoporosis.
S: Got it. What would be some things that you would be surprised that stem cell therapy could be a treatment for, like neuralgia, what would be some of the things that this would be a really good fit for stem cell therapy as a treatment?
H: Things that would be surprising. One that I just learned about recently was there was recently a paper that I saw about using stem cells to treat opioid resilience. When people take opioid drugs, after they take it for a period of time, they build up a tolerance to it. It takes more and more of the opioid drugs to derive any benefit out of it. I actually read a paper about using intravenous stem cells to allow these people to use a much lower dose of opioids than they were accustomed to taking. I was very surprised by that.
S: Interesting. Going back to the topic of Dave and Lana and their amazing results in terms of sexual performance from the stem cell therapy, is impotent something that can be treated with stem cell therapy?
H: It depends on what’s causing it. I don’t know that impotence is necessarily an indication but erectile dysfunction absolutely is, especially when it’s a vascular problem which it frequently is. When you talk about erectile dysfunction from diabetes or something or people that have it with heart disease. It is a circulatory problem. In order to achieve and maintain an erection, it has to do with the circulation on the penis. What you were describing earlier about these incredible before and after photos in wound care of applying stem cells to a wound and the wound healing very quickly, what the mechanism is with that is a growth of new healthy blood vessels, it’s called Androgenesis. Similarly, especially in South America, there’s a lot more data on this, injecting stem cells into the penis has been shown to improve angiogenesis and treat erectile dysfunction.
S: When you say that the ED is a canary in the coal mine, you probably have pretty severe issues coming down the pipe in terms of heart disease and things if you have erectile dysfunction?
H: You better believe it. Canary in the coal mine is a good way to put it because that’s something that guys pick up on quickly. People use Alzheimer’s and Dementia interchangeably but they’re not. Alzheimer’s disease is a specific disease. The majority of dementia is hardening of the arteries of the brain similar to heart disease but the arteries of the brain and its calcification of the arteries in your brain. If you got it in your penis, you got it in your brain too.
S: What if you have dementia or you have a loved one who has dementia, what would be the procedure of the stem cell therapy approach for dealing with that?
H: Theoretically, you could give intravenous stem cells. I, personally, have not treated it. I keep my practice focused to treating musculoskeletal pain. I know there is a number of studies going on. I haven’t seen any that are overwhelmingly supportive of using it for dementia.
S: Let’s talk about banking your stem cells. Does this make sense? I’ve heard of people that go in and get their stem cells banked because they want younger stem cells, they want to capture that moment in time when they’re super healthy so that if their health deteriorates or as they age, they can go back to this stem cell bank and use that instead of harvesting the stem cells at the time that they need it.
H: Yeah, you bet. The big advantage to harvesting stem cells and banking them at a young age is exactly what you said. Your stem cells are young and robust and extremely viable. The tricky part is currently in the United States, there’s a very narrow range of conditions for which you can retrieve your stem cells. If I were going to recommend the best thing to do, it would be go ahead and bank some in the US but go ahead and bank some abroad, maybe in Colombia or some other South American country. That way, if you have an off-label use which is most conditions, then you could make a trip down there and have them applied to you.
S: That’s an important distinction. I wouldn’t have thought about that. Is there a shelf life for banked stem cells? Do you need to periodically get these refreshed?
H: No, as long as they’re stored properly, no.
S: What about cord blood? Let’s say you are about to have a baby, do you want to bank the stem cells in the cord blood? Does that have a shelf life of use?
H: No. If it’s stored properly, it’s going to last the human life. I think it’s a great idea, it’s a great thing to do.
S: Awesome. Do you have your stem cells banked in multiple locations?
H: I do.
S: What happens, let’s say you’re in Europe on a trip and something semi-catastrophic happens and it would help to have stem cells available but they’re in Colombia and in the US. What do you do in that situation?
H: Depending on what country you’re in. There’s always the possibility of using either placental stem cells, or in some countries you can have embryonic stem cells. My opinion has always been that I would much rather use my own stem cells unless it was absolutely necessary to use the embryonic stem cells for instance. They’re the most robust, the most potent of all of them. I haven’t found it necessary to do anything other than your own stem cells for treating low back pain, knee pain or the sorts of things we treat but if I came down with Parkinson’s or ALS or some hideous neurologic disease, then you bet, I would consider using the other stuff. None of it’s currently legal in the United States, you’d need to go abroad for it.
S: Many of them will have ethical considerations too about using embryonic stem cells.
H: The thing about embryonic stem cells is actual embryos that are used. When a couple is undergoing in vitro fertilization, the doctor takes a woman’s egg and he takes the man’s sperm and he puts them in a petri dish and he creates a bunch of embryos. He picks the best ones, the ones that look the healthiest. Those are the ones he uses in the in vitro fertilization. The rest of them go in a freezer until kingdom come. They go into a freezer until there’s no more electricity in the world. They go into a freezer and they are never going to be used. When you talk about embryonic stem cells, that’s actually what is used. If you have this idea that it’s like aborted babies or something, it isn’t. It’s embryos from in vitro fertilization labs that are not being used for anything ever forever. If people take issue with embryonic stem cells, they should take issue with in vitro fertilization because that’s where they come from.
S: That’s a good point because I think a lot of people, they misconstrue the source of the stem cells. Let’s talk more about the FDA and allowed uses, disallowed uses and so forth. For example, you’re required to use the stem cells on the same day. That has to be a same day procedure, otherwise it would be outside of FDA guidelines. Why is that?
H: Currently, as it stands in the United States, if I take stem cells from your body and I inject them into you on the same day, into the same person, that is considered an autologous tissue transfer. It’s the same category as like a hair transplant. As soon as you store the cells overnight, two things happen. One is your facility becomes a stem cell bank which is a whole other regulatory nightmare and your stem cells are now considered a drug. Same thing if you do stem cells from one person to another person, those cells are suddenly considered a drug. That’s the line in the sand that we’re left with and what were left to work with is same person and same day.
S: That’s so arbitrary. You could look at it different 24-hour time period and it goes into the next day. Does that still count? It seems red tape for the sake of red tape.
H: The issue is the FDA is set up to regulate food, drugs and medical devices. They’re not set up to do biologics because biologics are different. It’s a different animal altogether. The biologics fell into their world because we don’t have anything else set up. There’s no other organization to deal with it, they just took over by default. You’re right. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. I agree with you.
S: I’m curious. Are there age restrictions for stem cell therapy? If somebody is in their 90s and they have an issue that could be treated by stem cell therapy, basically, if you don’t have stem cells in your body, you’re dead. The person has stem cells in them. Is there a point where you decide that it’s too much stress on them to do the procedure? Is there some reason why age would come into the decision-making process whether they get the stem cell therapy or not?
H: As we age, our stem cells age and you can get a good idea from looking at a person how robust their stem cells are because you look at one 85-year-old versus another 85-year-old. One of them might be real vibrant and look 15 years younger and the other one might be looking very much their age, if not more. That potentially could be a real indicator of stem cell function. What I found is that we get very consistent results up to a certain point and then the results split. Somewhere around past the age of 75, closer to 78. Once you get to 77, 78 and beyond, then suddenly some people respond well and other people don’t respond at all. I make it very clear to people that that’s the case. Unfortunately, there’s not any easy way commercially to test that but once you hit about the second half of the 70s then the results do start to split.
S: Let’s say that somebody is in their latter 70s but they got their stem cells banked when they were in their 50s.
H: Yeah, that’s great.
S: They’re still a great candidate then.
H: You bet.
S: It makes all the difference. Basically, every listener out here should be running off and getting their stem cells banked both here and abroad so that they have off-label ability to use the stem cells as well. Let’s talk about going offshore. Why Colombia? Why South America? What are the hotbeds for the best stem cell therapy treatment centers in the world? I’m in LA, Tijuana would be certainly a lot closer for me than Colombia. Why not just find a place there?
H: First of all, it depends on what it is that you’re treating because I found that using same day autologous stem cells worked great for orthopedic conditions. For pain conditions, it’s not really necessary to go offshore. For other things like if you want to treat a neurologic disease or if you want to use embryonic stem cells, you need to go abroad. A major consideration is quality control, clearly. The upside of going abroad is you can get all the stuff done that you can’t get done at home. The downside is what are you getting? What’s the quality control of that clinic? I’m not familiar with any of the centers in Tijuana. I’ve heard of some good ones and I know there’s some less good ones. I mentioned Colombia because I’ve done some work in Colombia. I’m friends with Carolina who runs the Colombian Institute for Infertility and Sterility which is really an in vitro fertilization clinic and lab. Her and her brother have created this stem cell laboratory. They treat mostly diabetes with stem cells. In South America, Colombians are considered by many to have the best health care. That’s why I brought up Colombia. There’s a lot of centers out there. I’m not familiar with most of them. I’m probably the wrong guy to ask.
S: Let’s say that somebody is deciding to not go for stem cell therapy but they’ve decided to go for cosmetic surgery and they’re going to go to Colombia because it’s much cheaper to have it done there. Maybe like a face lift. Would that be a good candidate for stem cell therapy instead? Maybe still go to Colombia but get stem cells injected into their face instead of getting a surgery?
H: If someone’s having stem cells injected into their face, I would hope that this person would be under the age of 75. You can do that here at home too. You don’t need to travel abroad to do that because using your own stem cells injected cosmetically works very well. I think it depends on what your motivation is. A face lift is a face lift. A stem cell treatment is a stem cell treatment. If you have big sagging skin and the shape of your face has changed, you need a face lift. If you just want to restore elasticity and hydration to your skin, you should have stem cell therapy. Face lift or stem cell therapy are not interchangeable. They’re for two different things.
S: Let’s say that person has bags under their eyes. Will that be something that you would recommend they try stem cell therapy for?
H: If they have dark circles under their eyes, stem cells work very well because dark circles is capillary fragility. It’s where you’re leaking red blood cells into the tissue under your eyes. Injecting stem cell, I did this to my mother and it worked beautifully, it strengthens the capillaries and disallows for that pulling of blood into the tissue. If it’s actual bags, folds of skin, you got to talk to a surgeon for that.
S: What about acne? Can that be treated with stem cell therapy?
H: I have heard some presentations on it. I have no experience with it personally.
S: Do you know anybody who was treated for diabetes with stem cells? Any friends, family that had an incredible outcome?
H: I do not, but I have been to Carolina’s clinic and 90% of her patients are there for diabetes. Her practice is loaded with success stories.
S: Have you met any of those patients? Seen the impact of the treatment?
H: Just in passing. I didn’t take the whole case but I know that it’s a common use.
S: If somebody, a loved one or themselves have severe diabetes, they might want to look into that institute in Colombia for help. Let’s circle back again to the sexual performance thing because why not? There’s this thing that women can get the O-Shot but that’s not something you at your facility or you have a different person in your facility do it?
H: O-Shot and the P-Shot, we do it here at my clinic. I just don’t do it. I have another doctor, Dr. Amy Killen and when people want that then we just bring her in for that.
S: What’s typical as an outcome from this? Whether you’re a man or a woman because I know Lana Asprey on stage at the Bulletproof conference, she’d get toe curling orgasms and her breast size increased and she’s got all these extra benefits she wasn’t expecting. What happens from this strange sounding procedure getting a shot up with your own stem cells in your private?
H: This is all coming back to increasing blood flows, strengthening microvasculature in the genitals. As we age, the vasculature is compromised. I think it’s the same exact thing as with men except it’s internal genitalia instead of external genitalia but you’re improving the blood flow to those areas.
S: Does that increase the elasticity of the skin as well? Does it increase the nerve sensitivity? Besides the vasculature improving, are there other benefits? It was surprisingly to hear, for example, her breast size would increase.
H: That was unusual and neither Dr. Killen nor I really have any idea. She was the first person we ever had tell us that that happened. We were pretty surprised by that. We don’t know what that was about. Your guess is as good as mine on that one.
S: What about the elasticity of the skin and all that? Is that a typical benefit that happens as well.
H: Yeah, because one of the things that we know that injecting stem cells does is it triggers the growth of new regular collagen fibers and elasticity is largely about the health of the collagen fibers.
S: One last question here. Inflammation is seen as the source of a lot of our chronic diseases in western society. How would stem cell therapy fit into this overall issue with inflammation being the cause of our demise when we end up working ahead of the future, what is going to take us out is inflammation and the effects of that inflammation either as heart disease or cancer or whatever else. Where does stem cell therapy fit into this whole inflammation stuff?
H: We know that one of the growth factors that stem cells release or group of growth factors are target inflammation and/or have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Having said that, it’s important that we don’t adopt an allopathic model of using stem cells as a drug and ignoring everything else. You need to figure out what is it, why are you having inflammation and stack the odds in your favor. The four pillars to health, I consider it being diet, exercise, good sleep and having your emotional needs met, having fulfilling interpersonal relationships. The first step is figure out why are you having inflammation? Remove the cause to disease and address the problem then we could start talking about stem cells but I think it’s real hazardous to just look at stem cells as a drug to lower inflammation across the boards.
S: Right. You’re not going to keep smoking. Thank you so much, Dr. Adelson. This was amazing and I am super inspired to go out and get my stem cells banked and try some stem cell therapy. Not necessarily just to deal with some chronic pain or something but to rejuvenate and get a tune up, essentially. Sounds like both use cases can be very effective, either you get something that’s symptomatic and hurting or you want younger skin or you want to be more sexually vibrant and this can work either way.
H: That’s right. This has been great, Stephan. Thanks so much for giving in the opportunity to speak with you.
S: How would somebody who wants to have you do the therapy on them, how would they contact you? Where’s your practice located? I know it’s in Park City but how would they get from listening to this podcast to getting in your offices and having a procedure done.
H: The best thing to do is to look at our website which is docereclinics.com. Have a look around and see if it resonates with you. We’ve put a lot of work into that website. There’s a lot of information on there. There’s also the video podcast with Dave Asprey. If there’s any question that wasn’t answered, you can watch that podcast. This one will be up there. There’s a lot of information up there. Just reach out to either the email or the phone number on the website. That’s what we found as the best way to get people into the system is through those avenues because we treat everybody like a VIP. As soon as we try to give anybody VIP treatment, stuff gets dropped and missed. We run it through the normal channels which is our phone number and our email.
S: Is there a price range that people should expect to pay? I don’t know what kind of procedure would be that they’re going to get whether it’s for their knee or whatever but is there a ballpark?
H: Sure. Mostly what we do here is combine stem cells from fat with stem cells from bone marrow. That’s what we find works best. If that’s what we’re talking about doing, for something simple like a knee or maybe a knee and a shoulder it’s usually around between $5,000 and $6,000. If we’re doing super complex case with lots of injections into the spine and maybe they’re being sedated and maybe they want a P-Shot or an O-Shot along with that, then it can get up to $10,000 as much as $12,000.
S: Still affordable for many people. It’s just not going to be covered by insurance and they need to save up some money for that. Thank you again Dr. Adelson. Listeners, do check out the show notes for this episode that will include links to the video podcast on Bulletproof radio that Dr. Adelson did with Dave Asprey and the website for Docere Clinics and other great resources that were mentioned in the show, the Colombian Institute for Infertility and so forth. Go to Optimized Geek website which is optimizedgeek.com. We also have a checklist of actions that you can take from this episode. You’ll find that there as well, optimizedgeek.com. This is Stephan Spencer signing off. We’ll catch you on the next episode of the Optimized Geek.