How to know if Stem Cell Therapy with Work for you.

Does stem cell therapy work for everyone? To answer this question we have to understand the parties expectations first and foremost. If you have terrible arthritis you’ve continuously neglected for years because your doctor was cortisone happy then you’re probably not a candidate or a poor candidate. Sometimes poor candidates or so we thought do well so we never really know how the individual will respond symptomatically. Let’s re-frame the question.

Does stem cell therapy work most of the time? Yes, with the right know how and protocols these therapies can be very successful in helping with arthritis, bursitis, tendinitis, some ligament, muscle, meniscus and labral tears. There’s a lot of contradictory information on the web so be careful and chose wisely. Try to avoid jumping on the best deal because they are likely cheaper for a reason. Find someone with prices in the middle of the road that you can trust.

Although, several companies offer similar therapies they may not be giving you the best chance of having a successful experience. Research continues to pour out which is continuously changing the landscape of regenerative medicine.

How to know if you are picking the right company to perform a stem cell or regenerative medicine procedure? Schedule a consult to fill in the gaps of missing knowledge. This is very important. Yes, these procedures can be expensive, but they can also potentially save you from a very invasive surgery or continued cortisone injections.

What Causes Arthritis and Can you Cure it?

Millions of people suffer from joint aches and pains that will never turn into arthritis.  Most doctors used to believe that arthritis ran in the family; so, if your mother or father had arthritis you would more than likely get it as well.  Today, our understanding has evolved a bit.  I’m not saying that it can’t run in your family or that there is a genetic component because there is.  But, most of the time this disease is caused from years and years of daily lifestyle choices.

If you’ve lived a life of excess for many years you’re likely to have some form of arthritis. Life of excess can be defined as drinking copious amounts of alcohol; playing a lot of sports; weight training with more weight than you should have; or running a few too many Ultra races.  Like every other machine in the World, your body isn’t immune to wear and tear.  The cartilage in the knees, hips, back and elsewhere will wear down over time. Poor dietary choices for many years can also contribute to accelerating this disease process due to excessive weight you’re carrying around.  No matter the cause there are treatments and therapies that can stagnate or even reverse the disease process to some degree.

Arthritis is not “curable” but it is highly treatable. Some common treatment interventions include may be making dietary changes like reducing the amount of sugar consumption or limiting the amount of excessive activity.

What foods cause arthritis inflammation?

Repeated inflammation over a long period of time will lead to degenerative joint disease. What you put in your gut affects how your joints feel and function. Inflammatory foods like sugar will cause inflammation and pain in the joints.  Your joint may be inflamed, but you may not always feel pain.  Click here to read more about some of the most common foods that cause arthritis. Here is a quick list: sugar, aspartame, trans fats, saturated fats, omega-6 fatty acids, MSG, gluten and casein.

What medications reduce arthritis inflammation?

  • Anti-inflammatory pain reliever drugs (NSAIDs — such as aspirinibuprofen, or Celebrex)
  • Corticosteroids (such as prednisone)
  • Other medications* include chemotherapy drugs, disease modifying treatments, biologic therapy (stem cell therapy or PRP- Natural Therapies!), or narcotic pain relievers

 

Do Vitamin D and Omega-3 Fish Oil protect against Heart Attack, Cancer or Stroke?

Evidence suggest yes if you don’t already have issues. A new study published online Nov. 10, 2018, by The New England Journal of Medicine found they may actually prevent these conditions among people who have never had these problems before.

Researchers recruited almost 26,000 people, ages 50 and older, who had no history of heart disease or cancer. The participants were divided into four groups. People in one group were given daily doses of 2,000 international units of vitamin D (an amount found to be linked to lower disease risk in observational studies) and 1 gram of a drug called Lovaza (I’m assuming Lovaza had something to do with funding this study), which contained 840 milligrams of omega-3s (two to four times the amount in two servings of fish per week). The second group took vitamin D and a placebo, the third group took the omega-3s and a placebo, and the final group took two placebos. After more than five years, the researchers found that those given omega-3s were 28% less likely to suffer a heart attack compared with those given a placebo. Those who ate fewer servings of fish (less than the average of 1.5 servings per week) appeared to have a greater benefit from the additional omega-3s while those with higher fish intake had minimal benefit.

The study also found that those taking vitamin D supplements alone did not have lower rates of heart attack, stroke, or cancer. However, among people who later developed cancer, those who took vitamin D supplements for at least two years had a 25% lower chance of dying from their cancer compared with those who received a placebo.

So here’s the Recap:

Vitamin D alone lowers chance of cancer by 25% when taking 2,000 IU. Omega-3s patients were 28% less likely to suffer a heart attack.

The 2,000 IU used in the study is actually a lower dose than I recommend my patients to consume daily so imagine if they had the proper dosage. Over 80% of Americans are low in Vitamin D and about half those are deficient meaning if your healthcare practitioner figured it out you’d likely get a script for it or an injection or IV or something. It’s very odd that in today’s society we can’t be outside for 10-minutes a day to satisfy our Vitamin D requirements. Granted geographic location is a factor for some and season.

We fortified milk with Vitamin D for bone health. That was the big thing, but now we know healthy Vitamin D levels have important health benefits. I supplement with 5000 IU of Vitamin D daily.

Does your Doctor know this?

If you’ve ever visited your medical doctor for pain you might have experienced this…

You ask questions then they answer your questions with questions about your symptoms….meaning they won’t give you a recommendation until you tell them how much it hurts. If you said 9/10 they would recommend surgery, if you say 3/10 you will get the drug cocktail (more on this later). On my imaging I’ve seen over the years the MRI or x-ray doesn’t always correlate to how a patient feels. I’ve seen patients that have 2/10 pain, but have terribly degenerated joints.

Let’s take a look at what happens when you go to the doctor for joint pain…They prescribe the typical drug cocktail (muscle relaxer, pain killer and
anti-inflammatory) and tell you to come back in 2-weeks if it hasn’t
gotten better. What’s the problem with this?

They never addressed the source or cause of the pain. They addressed the symptom not the condition. The symptom is pain. The cause may be a meniscus tear, ligament tear, labral tear, bursitis, arthrtitis, muscular tear (rotator cuff especially), etc.

Then what happens? Well, if in two weeks you may go back because you’re still in pain. Then what? Then you get a referral to physical therapy or you get a referral to an orthopedist/pain management clinic. Physical therapy is great, but ‘ain’t nobody got time for that.’ Even if you do, great, but just know that for most chronic pain
sufferers it will only help a little. If you have DAMAGE IN THE JOINT do you think
strengthening and stretching around the area is going to fix the internal joint
inflammation, degeneration or tearing of tissue? NO. If you think I’m nuts and
disagree then fine, but know that if you elect to have a surgical procedure PT is a
must post-surgery. If you ever get operated on you 100% should do PT.
So great, you tried PT or chiropractic and you still feel like something isn’t
right or there was only so much they could do to fix the pain.

Then you turn to the Ortho. The Ortho is probably going to send you for an MRI or take and x-ray. Then they will offer their cortisone injection depending on you pain levels. This is so common place it’s alarming. We will discuss cortisone a bit later. But if the cortisone doesn’t fix it they you’re referred to the surgeon if you’re still complaining to your doctors. Look, I don’t want you to get caught up in the system of going to this doctor or that doctor for ‘x’ number of cortisone injections over time.

I want you to fix the cause of the pain. We are now able to fix internally damaged joint pain sources. No more Band-Aids!

Do steroid shots help or hurt knee/hip/back pain?

Cortisone steroid shots in the knee, shoulder, ankle, or back are a common treatment to manage swelling and reduce pain. In the doses commonly used (milligrams), these drugs are very powerful anti-inflammatories.

However, these doses may be too powerful, as research shows the array of cortisone steroid shots side effects are many and negative.

These include

  1. Disrupts blood sugar in diabetics. For example, a recent study looked at what happened to patients after a steroid epidural (for low back pain and sciatica) and an intra-articular (inside the joint) injection of steroids. In diabetic patients, there were significant increases in blood sugar that lasted for about a week.
  2. Damages the cortisol control system in the body. Most concerning, were changes in the body’s own cortisol system that lasted for more than 3 weeks when patients received these steroid shots epidural. This cortisol suppression caused by steroid epidural shots throws off the body’s ability to manage infections, control blood sugar, and regulate other important body functions involved in the metabolism of processing foods.
  3. Kills off cartilage and stem cells. Is there other evidence showing that steroid shots may be a problem? Repeated joint injections of steroids have been associated with greater cartilage breakdown in animal models. In our closest animal relative (primates), repeated steroid shots have been shown to cause ligament failure and breakdown. Even at much lower doses than those commonly used by doctors to inject into joint (about 100 times less), certain steroids still kill cartilage cells. In particular, a steroid suspension containing the preservative benzalkonium chloride was very toxic toward cartilage cells, with the preservative being the main offender. Even without the preservative, steroids have still been shown to kill cartilage cells (called chondrocytes). Even steroids given orally to help swelling can lead to cartilage degeneration. In particular, steroids combined with local anesthetic (the most common way steroid is injected into joints), makes the steroid even more toxic to cartilage cells. How do steroids impact your stem cells? The same. In this study, steroids reduced the ability of bone stem cells to make new bone. This fits with other studies that show why some patients on oral steroids can develop avascular necrosis of the bone (death of bone maintaining stem cells).

Is there a better way? Yes! Instead, our experience mesenchymal stem cells work to correct the cause of the pain and inflammation rather than remove the inflammation and damage internal joint cells and tissue.

Call 678-888-5181 to schedule an appointment to see if one of our Regenerative Cell Therapies will help you.

Stem Cell Therapy Cures HIV for the 2nd time

This week it was reported a person with HIV seems to be free of the virus after receiving a stem-cell transplant that replaced their white blood cells with HIV-resistant versions. The patient is only the second person ever reported to have been cleared of the virus using this method.

The patient was able to stop taking antiretroviral drugs, with no sign of the virus returning 18 months later. The stem-cell technique was 10 years ago for Timothy Ray Brown, known as the ‘Berlin patient.’ Timothy still remains HIV-free from his 2009 treatment.
Researchers warn that it is still too early to say that they have been cured. It is unclear if others were treated by the same methods and it failed.

How to beat HIV

So far, the latest patient to receive the treatment is showing a response similar to Brown’s, says Andrew Freedman, a clinical infectious-disease physician at Cardiff University in the UK who was not involved in the study. “There’s good reason to hope that it will have the same result,” he says.

Like Brown, the latest patient also had a form of blood cancer that was not responding to chemotherapy. They required a bone-marrow transplant, in which their blood cells would be destroyed and replenished with stem cells transplanted from a healthy donor.

But rather than choosing just any suitable donor, the team — led by Ravindra Gupta, an infectious-disease physician at the University of Cambridge, UK — picked a donor who had two copies of a mutation in the CCR5 gene that gives people resistance to HIV infection. This gene codes for a receptor which sits on the surface of white blood cells involved in the body’s immune response. Normally, the HIV binds to these receptors and attacks the cells, but a deletion in the CCR5 gene stops the receptors from functioning properly. About 1% of people of European descent have two copies of this mutation and are resistant to HIV infection.

The researchers report that the transplant successfully replaced the patient’s white blood cells with the HIV-resistant variant. Cells circulating in the patient’s blood stopped expressing the CCR5 receptor, and in the lab, the researchers were unable to re-infect these cells with the patient’s version of HIV.

The team found that the virus completely disappeared from the patient’s blood after the transplant. After 16 months, the patient stopped taking antiretroviral drugs, the standard treatment for HIV. In the latest follow-up, 18 months after stopping medication, there was still no sign of the virus.

Aggressive treatment

The good news is Brown’s successful treatment ten years ago wasn’t just a one-off. Gupta says that the latest patient received a less aggressive treatment than Brown to prepare for the transplant. The new patient was given a regimen consisting of chemotherapy alongside a drug that targets cancerous cells, while Brown received radiation therapy across his entire body in addition to a chemotherapy drug.

This is great because stem-cell transplants in HIV patients would not necessarily need to be accompanied by very aggressive treatments that might have particularly severe side effects.

Graham Cooke, a clinical researcher at Imperial College London, believes the risks outweigh the reward for patients without bone cancer. “If you’re well, the risk of having a bone-marrow transplant is far greater than the risk of staying on tablets every day,” he says. Most people with HIV respond well to daily antiretroviral treatment.

But Cooke adds that for those who need a transplant to treat leukemia or other diseases, it seems reasonable to try and find a donor with the CCR5 mutation, which wouldn’t add any risk to the procedure.