Coming up on this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy.
Dr. Mark Hyman:
You might want to use them if you have a chronic illness to help with renewing the brain, the heart, immune system, your mitochondria. They might help you improve the frailty of aging, the loss of muscle mass, improvement in endurance, energy, organ function.
Welcome to The Doctor’s Farmacy. I’m Dr. Mark Hyman. That’s Farmacy with an F, a place for conversations that matter. If you’re wondering what’s new on the longevity front, that’s what I’m going to talk about today in this special episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy called Health Bites, which gives you small steps to take to improve your health in the long run.
And today, I’m talking about the science of longevity and how it can help you feel younger and be younger by aging in reverse, and it’s all based on my new book, Young Forever, which just came out. So, get a copy everywhere you get your copies. Go to youngforeverbook.com or wherever you get your books.
And now, over the past several weeks, I’ve talked about longevity and aging, and how it’s not an inevitable part of life. We can’t change the fact that time moves on, our chronological age, but we can change our biological age. And we know now many therapies that are being explored that show that this is possible, particularly in animal models, some in human models.
So, I’m very excited about this data and I’m excited about the science. It’s going very fast. And some scientists are even talking about hitting longevity escape velocity, which I’m not so sure I like the idea of, which is living forever, basically. You continue to extend our life forever. You’re alive more than you have a risk of dying, essentially. So, the science will advance faster than the speed at which we age, which allows us to potentially escape aging altogether.
Now, we’re in a deep shift now in medicine, from this reductionist, disease-based medicine, to a systems-based view, which is more of an ecosystem view of medicine, an ecosystem view of health and disease, and it’s pushing medicine towards a future that allows us to treat disease and reverse biological aging using both nature’s intelligence and our body’s own innate systems to repair, heal, and renew.
Our bodies have an innate healing system. We just have to learn how to activate it. Like when you cut your skin, how does it heal? Well, you don’t go, “I want you to heal, skin,” and you don’t have to go buy new skin and put it over the top. Your body has this mechanism for repair and renewal and rebuilding and healing. We just have to learn how to activate it.
And this is all made possible through this new field of longevity, innovations in longevity science, and that’s what today’s Health Bite’s all about. So, let’s get into them.
The first one you’ve probably heard about, and this is still a little bit on the future horizon but it’s coming fast, is stem cells. Now, one of the things that happens as we age is our stem cells get pooped out. It’s called stem cell exhaustion. It’s one of the hallmarks of aging we talked about. And our stem cells age as we age, so their ability to regenerate tissues, cells, repair, heal our bodies, just kind of declines a little bit.
So, emerging science tells us that we now can start to use stem cells as a therapy for degenerative conditions, whether it’s arthritis or broken-down joints. And this is being used in sports medicine for athletes, it’s being used in longevity medicine. So, it’s starting to happen. I think the question is, how do we get more of this? And I think the more research we do in this, the more it becomes acceptable, the more we’ll be able to sort of innovate around this.
Right now, these stem cells are a little challenging to get because you can’t grow your own stem cells and give them to yourselves in America. You have to kind of go to a different country right now. It’s because of the regulatory environment, but I think that’ll change.
But I want you to think of your stem cells as sort of the memory of your youth. They have the capacity to renew, to repair and regenerate cells, and they also secrete factors that regulate the immune system, that reduce inflammation. They stimulate healing throughout the body, and they produce these things called exosomes. We’re going to talk about those in a little bit. But these are like little packets of healing factors that contain proteins and peptides and microRNA, all these things that teach your body what to do to repair and heal.
Now, studies have shown that stem cell therapy and exosome therapy can reduce inflammation that’s associated with aging, and also increase energy, physical performance. And it’s just moving so fast. So, let’s just talk about the kind of stem cells, what it can help with, and what might be on the horizon.
So, there are really two major types. The first is from your bone marrow. We talked about that a little bit. They’re called hemopoietic stem cells. They make red blood cells, white cells. And then there’s the mesenchymal stem cells, which come from our tissues, or mesenchyme, which is basically are what we’re made of. And these come from our organs and so forth, fat. And these can be harvested from bone marrow if they’re the hemolytic stem cells, or from… Mesenchymal stem cells can come from fat or other places.
And then, they can be injected intravenously into your whole body for systemic healing, or into particular body parts for repairing local issues that are broken down. And they won’t be rejected by your immune system because they’re immuno-protected, because they’re your own cells.
Now, we’re learning, also, you may be able to give umbilical cord stem cells and placental stem cells, and there’s all this kind of stuff that’s sort of happening on the horizon, but it’s not quite ready for prime time.
Now, why might you use them? Well, if you’re a longevity biohacker, you might just want to get them injected in your bloodstream. You might want to use them if you have a chronic illness to help with renewing the brain, the heart, the immune system, your mitochondria. They might help you improve the frailty of aging, the loss of muscle mass, improvement in endurance, energy, organ function, all may be influenced by giving stem cells.
We still need a lot of research. It’s not quite primetime yet, but it’s going to become a routine intervention in medicine and the treatment of abnormal aging.
Okay, next topic. Exosomes. Exosomes we briefly touched on, but these are how stem cells do their work. They have these little packets of repair, regenerative healing factors, and it actually can be given in a much easier way. You don’t have to suck out your bone marrow, you don’t have to get a liposuction to kind of draw them out, and you don’t have to grow them in a lab. And you can actually get them from either amniotic fluid, or from placental fluids, placental material stem cells, that are then grown in a lab, and then they can be grown in a way that’s very sterile and clean and safe.
They can be extracted, and there’s no DNA in them, so they’re not identified as foreign. Your body can handle them and they actually don’t get rejected. So, they’re really kind of cool.
They’re, as I said, little packets of growth factors in anti-inflammatory compounds, lipids, proteins, little microDNA, RNA. And they basically are powerful therapeutic agents for regenerative medicine. I’ve used them personally to heal back problems, after COVID when I had brain fog, and they’ve been quite remarkable. I had inflammatory bowel disease after an infection with clostridium difficile, where I got colitis, and I used it to cure that.
So, I think there’s a lot of research emerging around this. We still need more research, but these exosomes are quite amazing. They act like these little messengers and communication systems between cells. They reduce inflammation. They cross your blood-brain barrier. That’s why my brain fog went away when I basically took them after COVID. They also improve muscle and brain function. They regulate cellular cleanup, repair. They help with autophagy. They play a role in regulating potentially autoimmune diseases, obesity, lots of things, infections. And they can also help regenerate bone, cartilage, soft tissues, heart, brain.
I’ve them injected into my back where I had terrible arthritis and pain, and it’s just gone. So, it’s pretty amazing stuff. It’s a little expensive. It’s not available for primetime for most people yet, but it’s really impressive. I’ve used them, as I said, to cure my own autoimmune issues, for my back, I mentioned the COVID with brain fog, fatigue, depression, and basically with just one treatment, it all went away.
Now, I’ve used this with many patients, not just myself. And I found for tough cases, it can be extremely effective, and it’s very safe, and it’s a lot cheaper than stem cells.
So, how are they made? Where do they come from? Well, we talked a little bit about that, but they’re from the stem cells that are grown in a lab that come from placenta, or maybe from amniotic fluid, and then they’re cultured in a lab. And then the exosomes are basically extracted, they’re concentrated, and they’re made available for treatment. So, while you might only be growing a few hundred million stem cells, if you extract them from your bone marrow or your fat you might get billions and billions of exosomes that can be given, in a way short-cutting that whole process.
A lot of clinics offer this for chronic diseases. A lot of clinics offer it for longevity. They can be given intravenously. And we found them very helpful in our clinical practice at the Ultra Wellness Center. And they’re really pretty simple to give, just a simple IV push.
We for sure need more research. We need research on what conditions they work best for, how effective they are, any risks are there, but many, many aging biohackers, including myself, are using them to really enhance their health and treat issues.
Next topic, peptides. You might have heard about peptides. Ozempic is a peptide, insulin is a peptide. And these are things that our body makes, these small, little, short mini-proteins. And as we age, the number and the function of these proteins decline, these mini-proteins called peptides, but they’re hugely involved in regulating so many things.
Thousands and thousands of them are produced by the body. 150 are being researched for medical applications. Over 80 of them are already approved by the FDA for medical therapies. They’re synthesized in the lab, and they’re very safe.
Of course, they have to be used in the right way, but it’s really quite impressive what these little things can do. I’ve had injuries, for example, on my shoulder. I just inject a little peptide in there called PP157, and rather than suffering for weeks of rehab and pain, it goes away and I’m back in gear the next day. They really can be used for all sorts of things from, like I said, musculoskeletal healing injury, to boost hormone levels, sex drive, help with immune system, fight infections, help with gut healing, improve tissue repair, building muscle mass, regulating hormones like growth hormone, improving cognitive function, memory, mitochondrial function.
They improve sleep, increased energy level, stamina, strength, lower blood pressure, and just so many, many things. Even stimulate hair growth. They’re being used as therapeutic agents by traditional doctors, by functional medicine, by regenerative doctors. And they’re pretty well tolerated. There are many proteins they would be digested if you actually ate them or it took them as a pill, so they have to be given by subQ injection like insulin. But there may be nasal sprays or sublingual, under the tongue, or even implantable peptide. So, we’re learning more and more every day.
Now, I found, again, found them very helpful for myself and for my patients. They’ve helped my immune system. Recovery from COVID, helped my sleep, sexual function, help from all kinds of injuries. So, I’m super a big fan of peptides.
You should try to find a reputable source. I mean, it’s increasingly hard to do that because of regulatory issues, but you can go to the International Peptide Society website to get a certified medical practitioner. Again, as I mentioned, some of these are actually pharmaceuticals like Ozempic, so very powerful.
The next field that I want to talk about is regenerative medicine. So, this is kind of a sister or brother to functional medicine, and it has to do with using these various compounds that come from our body that are often extracted or synthesized, and then given back to the body in higher amounts, like exosomes or peptides or stem cells or placental matrix from placental healing factors. And they can be used to help regenerate kind of broken body parts. So, if you need to go to the body shop, literally the body shop, these compounds can be very helpful.
So, I’ve had lots of injuries. I’m very active. I had back surgery at 32. I’ve ruptured a disc. I’ve had chronic low back pain from arthritis. I managed it with yoga and massage, but I had really bad arthritis and degenerative scoliosis in my low back. It doesn’t stop me, but I basically kind of struggled with a lot of discomfort and pain.
And at 60, I had another disc injury, another surgery, had complications, bleeding in my spinal cord. I couldn’t barely walk. And I decided to try regenerative medicine. I went to see my friend Dr. Matt Cook at by Reset Medical, and he did all this stuff to me that kind of blew my mind and regenerated my body. He injected placental matrix. He put exosomes up my spinal canal. He helped tissue repair through that, and he used various kinds of peptides, and basically used a technique called hydrodissection where he kind of separated fascia and nerves and muscle. It all stuck together. It was causing pain. And I’m pretty much pain-free now and stronger than ever.
And collectively, these therapies that he uses and others use are called regenerative medicine, and they’re being used to treat chronic pain injury with amazing success. A lot of athletes use this. They get way ahead of the game because they depend on being functional and in high performance.
They’re not available for most people yet, but they will be soon, and there are regenerative medicine clinics around the country that are growing, and it’s going to be an important part of orthopedic pain management.
So, that those are the kind of cool longevity innovations that are on the horizon. There’s many more, but it’s kind of exciting to see what’s happening. It’s basically using the body’s own intelligence and own healing factors to do the repair instead of drugs. And combining that with a healthy lifestyle, with diet, exercise, it can really help your body get in a younger state and reverse your biological age. If you want to go to the next level, if you’re an extreme biohacker, if you have the resources, it might be worth exploring some of this stuff.
I think the research still needs to come in a little bit more. It’s quite expensive to date, but I think it’s going to come down. Just like I had a computer that was $3,500. My first computer had 4 MB of hard drive and 1 MB of RAM, and now I can get that for pennies today. So, I think this is going to happen in healthcare. It probably will be covered by insurance at some point. But it’s a very exciting frontier.
And I really wrote a lot about this in my book, Young Forever. I encourage you to get a copy. I talk about even more innovative therapies that are in there that I couldn’t include in this podcast. It covers everything from the science behind longevity and aging, to what goes wrong in our biology that makes it age faster, how to fix what’s wrong, the best ways to support your health, longevity, how to make you biologically younger, what tests you need, what supplement protocol that I use on myself, my patients, and of course, a very detailed Young Forever longevity program that walks you exactly how to age biologically in reverse.
So, whether you’re 30 or you’re 80, this book can really provide a roadmap for you to have a long, healthy life. It’s never too late to focus on your health, and when you focus on your health, you reverse your biological age and you extend your lifespan. So, make sure you get your copy today. All your local bookstore bookstores have it. Also, you can get it at youngforeverbook.com and check it out.
So, that’s it for today’s Health Bite. Be sure to share this podcast with your friends and family. Maybe share a comment what you learned in your explorations of longevity medicine, and maybe you’ve tried some of these things. How have they worked for you? And we’ll see you next time on The Doctor’s Farmacy.
Hi, everyone. I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode. Just a reminder that this podcast is for educational purposes only. This podcast is not a substitute for professional care by a doctor or other qualified medical professional.
This podcast is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services. If you’re looking for help in your journey, seek out a qualified medical practitioner. If you’re looking for a functional medicine practitioner, you can visit ifm.org and search their Find a Practitioner database.
It’s important that you have someone in your corner who’s trained, who’s a licensed healthcare practitioner, and can help you make changes, especially when it comes to your health.