Mesenchymal Stem Cells
In the world of health these days, there are some things that get a lot more attention in the public eye than others. One of which would be stem cells. It seems like every man, woman and their best friend Bart has heard of these tiny fragments of tissue that swim throughout the blood stream like sperm cells eager to find an egg to fertilize.
Over the course of the past few years, stem cells have made their way to the front lines as a viable treatment option in health circles. As much as they have been maligned with controversy, they have also spent lots of hours under microscopes in research labs.
Some call this form of treatment hype, some call it fake and others swear it gave them the ability to perform unimaginable feats of sports performance once again that they thought they’d never do. You can pretty much say the same thing about a lot of lateral treatments that exist in the free world.
But one thing is for sure. Getting a series of treatments that involve stem cells being administered to the body is not going away anytime soon. If you are a candidate for such a procedure and want to know more about the ins and outs, then you came to the right place. Let’s take a deeper dive into this world and you can then make an informed decision if it’s right for you.
Stem Cells 101
Are you really aware of how magical and beautiful the body is? Both the magic and the beauty “stems” from the body’s particular ability to heal itself. You get a small cut, for example, and your skin mends itself back together. You break a bone, and after getting a cast or sling, the break mends itself back together. And not only does it mend, but the bone becomes stronger! If that’s not freaking amazing, then what is?
Fast forward to stem cells. Do you know what sparks the recovery in these and all other like situations? It’s not beer and cigarettes, and it sure as hell isn’t the consumption of nachos Grande platters bathed in cheese whiz. It’s these powerhouse cells in the body called stem cells.
When you are a child, your stem cells are alive and kicking. Now, as an adult, you may also notice how much energy kids have and also how quickly they heal from injuries. If you think back to when you were a young buck or buckette, you can probably remember the same thing happening to you.
That is because your stem cells were hitting on all cylinders and they were populous in your system. A broken bone, a scraped up elbow or a massive bruise you got while playing football would heal up in no time flat.
All of this was made possible by way of a good stem cell count. But then, you started getting older. And the sad reality of aging is that stem cell production decreases AND the strength level of the stem cells you do possess become weaker.
What does this mean? Well, you heal at a slower rate, you acquire aches and pains that never seem to go away and your skin starts to become more lax. Welcome to what’s known as the aging process.
That is where the beauty of stem cell treatments come to the table. People spend good money and sacrifice many hours to travel in an attempt to treat their bodies and get back at least a shred of youthful vigor.
The process involves injections of stem cells for a series of treatments. As a patient, you lie on a table and an intravenous is used to distribute the fresh stem cells into your body. This process can be as short as 30 minutes or take up to several hours. It really depends on the severity of your condition and how many stem cells you need.
Once you do a run of treatment, it is the hope that the newly integrated stem cells do their job and cause damaged tissue to regrow and give you the results you want. But understand that results always vary with stem cell treatments. There are some folks how get great results right from the start and they last forever, and there are others who get zero results. If you are in fact considering stem cell treatment, don’t go in with high expectations. It is better to be hopeful then disappointed if you don’t get what you’re looking for.
Types of Stem Cells
OK, it’s time to geek out a bit. Here is a list of some common stem cells with expanded information for you to peruse over. Getting a better understanding of this can go a long way in your decision making when it comes to being treated or not.
✔ Adult stem cells (ASC), also known as somatic stem cells, are the most common and they can be found in areas of the body like muscle, fat, bones, the brain, skin and other areas where connective tissue is found. They are said to only be beneficial to the said area in which they derive.
In other words, if you try to get a stem cell treatment from cells that come from fat for a lingering knee joint issue, they have a low chance of “taking” and doing any good.
✔ Another type of stem cells known as hematopoietic stem cells are specifically found in the blood. Any time you hear the root word “hema,” you know it is related to blood. These ASCs would most likely be used if there was a blood disease recognized or a transfusion was necessary.
✔ Epithelial stem cells are often used by doctors of esthetics. They use them to bring back a youthful glow in the skin. In this case, you can focus on the word “epidermis.” This is the scientific definition of the skin.
✔ Embryonic stem cells are known as pluripotent. Any time you see the word “potent,” you know it brings with it a good bang for its buck. Pluripotent simply means that these stem cells can proliferate in other areas of the body when injected.
Uncommon to popular belief, these stem cells are not actually extracted directly from the belly of a pregnant woman. According to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, they derive from the inner cell mass of an embryo that has been fertilized in vitro.
✔ Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) would also count as pluripotent stem cells as they can be injected into the body and form other living cells that are totally different. These are also known as stromal stem cells and they can be beneficial to cartilage, bone, nerves, brain tissue, the skin and even eyes.
This type of stem cell is mostly harvested from the placenta and an area around the fetus. The particular fluid surrounding the fetus is known as amniotic fluid. It is said that MSCs are the strongest and best forms of stem cells to use for treatment because of their high level of potency.
Why are Stem Cells Important?
Knowing what you now know, you shouldn’t have to think too hard as to why stem cells are important. First of all, they spark the growing process as a little kid. If you did not have stem cells, you’d just be a little pile of mush that wouldn’t expand or do anything. Secondly, and this is the most important, they are part of the healing process in the body. Without stem cells, you would not survive after getting a small cut, breaking a bone or having a more serious issue take place.
Lastly, they can improve your quality of life and even save your life in some cases. There is a lot of research being done right now on organ transplants and the use of stem cells to make sure your body accepts them and uses them properly. When it’s all said and done, you can be adding years to your life and living pain and obstacle-free.
What do Stem Cells Do?
Simply put, stem cells repurpose and recreate to expedite the healing process. They are also give you strength, brain function, nerve transmission and the ability to move with grace and ease.
When they are exogenously injected, meaning they go into the body from an outside source, it is usually at a particular site where there has been significant degradation. Let’s go back to the knee joint once again.
A common problem former athletes face is the cartilage in their knees wears away from years of overuse. As they enter older age, they are often faced with the decision to get a knee replacement. But… stem cell treatment has the potential to grow back the cells in the knee cartilage, which can restore normal function.
In this particular case and others like it, stem cells help regrow tissue and give someone back the freedom of movement that was lost or severely hindered.
What can Stem Cells be Used For?
The thought of going “under the knife” can really be daunting. Not only is it scary to be unconscious while a procedure is being performed on you, but it comes with inherent risks and side effects. Plus, there is rehab after surgery.
It can take 6 to 8 months to get a shoulder back to normal after a rotator cuff operation, for example. The knee, hip and ankle areas can also take quite some time to mend. These are prime examples of situations people want to avoid at all costs. And that is where stem cells come to the table.
Most notably, they are looked to as an alternative form of treatment to stay off of the operating table and in the game. Aside from that, people resort to stem cell treatments for healthier skin, to get out of chronic pain and also treat conditions. In some cases, they are used to reverse conditions completely. Again, this is all very anecdotal and it depends on the person and the state of their present health.
Stem Sell Injection Cost
Much like HGH treatments, stem cell injections are not cheap. In fact, they are considerably more expensive than growth hormone injections. Depending on how severe a particular person’s situation is, they can run about $5,000 on the lower end all the up to $25,000 on the higher end.
And that’s not the only issue. Since medical insurance companies do not consider stem cell treatments a necessity, they are not covered under their plans. That makes the hit to the wallet even more aggressive. Especially if you have to get a series of injections.
That’s why it’s a good idea to come to our clinic in Puerta Vallarta. We have high-grade stem cells available at a fraction of the cost you would pay in the states. And our doctors are licensed, experienced and completely professional.
The Role of Growth Hormone in Mesenchymal Stem Cell
An interesting school of thought is starting to come out of research labs across the world. By themselves, stem cells have been showing promise in the regrowing of tissue and bone. But what’s starting to look very promising is the addition of growth hormone to the mix.
This has the ability to produce what are called progenitor cells. These particular cells reproduce themselves and can simultaneously produce precursor cells of other tissues. The ensuing differentiation creates a welcoming environment for regeneration. In other words, it’s a synergistic effect where the sum of the two parts is greater than the usual number they would produce. For the sake of ease, think 2 + 2 = 5.
Natural Ways to Boost Stem Cells
You should be aware that there is a way to boost your own stem cells naturally. But you’re probably going to be a bit intimidated when you find out how. All you have to do is refrain from eating or drinking caloric foods and beverages for 48-plus hours. If you haven’t figured it out, this process is called fasting.
Once you break a 48-hour fast, your body then pumps out a ton of stem cells naturally. As an added benefit, your growth hormone levels rise after about 18 hours. So if you are able to do even one 48-hour fast once a month, you can continually tap into your body’s natural mechanisms to promote the healing process.
Final Word on Stem Cells
If you have chronic pain in any of your joints and want to get back your mobility, then stem cells are definitely worth looking into. And remember, they are also being used for esthetics, hair regrowth and a whole host of other ailments popping up every day.
If you’re trying to look and feel your best without having to go through any extreme forms of procedures, then stem cell therapy just might be what you were looking for.